Friday, January 8, 2010
On not liking Emma
I have a confession to make. I love Jane Austen but I don’t like Emma Woodhouse. Emma is universally agreed to be Jane’s masterpiece & I love the plot, the other characters, the village setting, but Emma irritates me. She’s spoilt & self-satisfied & interfering & I just want to shake some sense into her. My favourite Austen is Persuasion, closely followed by Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. But, the beauty of Jane is that there’s always something new to discover in the books. I’ve reread all the novels over the past year & I was surprised to find that Fanny Price wasn’t the insipid, self-effacing girl I’d always thought her. This time, I discovered the jealousy in her thoughts about Mary Crawford & Edmund and admired her determination to resist Henry Crawford against the persuasions of everyone else. So, I’m about to start yet another reread of Emma in the hope that I’ve matured enough to appreciate her. I have the latest BBC version of Emma on the way from Amazon & I’d like to read the book again before I watch it anyway as I like to have the book clear in my mind before watching the TV version. I’ll let you know how I get on.