#Emma200th: Volume 1


This is the first post on my Emma thoughts for the readalong this month. Unfortunately, I read the first volume about two months ago and sadly have no vivid, charming comments that are floating to the surface of my aging brain right now. So, these will have to do:

  • Emma is a wonderful, entertaining, frustrating, amusing character. It’s hard to dislike her even when she is being so insufferably obtuse. Yet, when you step back from the humor and the sheer confidence she displays you realize that her actions, though cloaked in a tone of lightheartedness, really do have serious consequences that could ruin lives. Her sense of her own rightness borders on the dangerous.
  • How endearingly annoying is Miss Bates? We have many Miss Bates’s at the library – men and women (though mostly men these days) who spend their entire days in the library and take advantage of any slow times at the desk to bombard the staff with their thoughts, descriptions of their small daily outrages and pleasures and complaints about their health. I admit to feeling very Emma-like toward them some of the time and am very relieved when someone needing help approaches the desk and I can turn away. If I have time I do try to give them attention (except for the creepy ones…but that’s a different story) and these Miss Bates’s are always grateful, but they do try our patience.
  • Austen is really skillful at building up interest in and curiosity about Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, isn’t she? By the time they arrived in Highbury I was so dying to know if they were really as described by the various characters and by their letters.
  • The amount of walking the characters do is impressive! And it also seems that a lot important of thoughts and conversations are had by them while walking.
  • I love the scenes at Randalls on Christmas Eve. The snow worries of Mr. Woodhouse, the cheek of Mr. Elton, Emma’s confusion about his lack of concern about Harriet and then the scene in the carriage on the way home – fabulous.

This week I’ll immerse myself in volume two and very happily. After an unfortunate experience attempting to read Jonathan Franzen this weekend I need something that is more of my taste to brighten my days.

Are you reading Emma this month?

6 thoughts on “#Emma200th: Volume 1

  1. No I’m not reading Emma but I did of course read the Alexander McCall Smith rewrite which is okay but nothing as good as the original.
    I do feel for you with your odd garrulous library users, especially the male ones who always seem to think that they are the only people who have ever experienced/seen whatever it is they are talking about, which of course makes them THE experts – if they’re like a lot of the men I know!


  2. I have some co-workers who remind me so much of Miss Bates – great talkers on little matters. I keep wanting to edit & condense their stories.

    I had signed on for the read-along, but I am not feeling in an Emma mood right now – partly because I’m trying to clear off the TBR books, but also because I re-read it fairly recently. I’m enjoying all the tweets and posts, though. And I do think of it as a Christmas book – poor Emma, trapped in the carriage with a tipsy Mr. Elton!


  3. I do a certain amount of talking and thinking while walking; but of course I’m a dog person and you’re a cat person. Emma is in my reading plans, but I suspect she’ll have to wait until my Christmas break when I’m less distracted by work and other things.


  4. I always feel sorry for Miss Bates, she remains cheerful despite her terrible poverty. I think it was John Mullan who pointed out that Emma is possibly antagonistic towards her because Emma herself could become a Miss Bates style spinster if she doesn’t marry.

    Re-Franzen. I loved The Corrections. Not read anything else though!


  5. I am not reading Emma but I wish I were. I am immersed right now in other books for my book clubs, though none as satisfying as Emma. Which makes me think I need to form a classics book club. Wouldn’t that be fun! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. I also love the Christmas scene at Randalls in Emma. Perfect reading for right now! Merry Christmas!


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