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Thread: Emma - A disappointing read

  1. #16
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.M. The Third View Post
    Are you saying that irony (such as that present in Pride and Prejudice) raises something over a mere "soap opera"? Irony obviously has great potential and power, but I still don't see how Mr. Bennett's irony adds substance, since his is essentially noticing the irony of life from an arm-chair, but not using it to much purpose.
    I do see Pride and Prejudice as above "soap opera". Mr Bennet provides a critique of the generally accepted culture and morality prevailing in Jane Austen's time. He is her mouthpiece for questioning the status quo. But Austen's irony extends way beyond Mr Bennet in his armchair: most of her text is tongue in cheek. Her ever understated and playful satire provides a dissonant perspective and unbroken amusement. From midway in this delightful novel, I laughed continuously.

    For instance, I understand Mr Bennet to finally say:

    Yes, Wickham is untrustworthy, scurrilous and unscrupulous. He has betrayed me, ensnared my daughter and others before her but, now that Wickham and Lydia are respectably married, life goes on. No matter how despicable he has proved, Wickham is nevertheless a companionable and ever charming son-in-law. Despite or perhaps because of duplicity, Wickham is the more interesting in that he is better company than the endlessly stiff and proper Mr Darcy or the sociable, malleable Mr Bingley.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Form wise, it [Emma] was perfectly constructed and the wit was extraordinary and Austen's prose is always so good. I thought the characterization was very good too.
    Once again I agree but unlike you, Virgil, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are definitely "my type of story".
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  2. #17
    Pro Libertate L.M. The Third's Avatar
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    I wasn't implying that I consider Pride and Prejudice as soap opera level! I wholly agreed with your comments. However, although Emma might be said to have a 'darker' form of narration, without so much satire from author or characters, her very rendering of her characters has something of the same effect as the more blatant irony. However, I acknowledge that there are sufficient differences in the books to very much like one, and not the other. for liking the other Austen works.

  3. #18
    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    Gladys, give it another try sometime. The problem is (I think) reading Pride and Prejudice first. That's such an endearing novel and Emma's so different - that's what happened to me. But when I re-read it (after a couple of years) I liked it much better.
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  4. #19
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    A newbie here. I guess Emma is considered as the peak of Austen's work for her skilled use of the technique--the free indirect discourse. Emma is among Austen's last works and her language is at its supremacy after years of maturity and experience in the writing network. And there are many themes in Emma. The complaint of Emma consisting of nothing in substance is one frequent comment (made by one of Austen's greatest admirers, Maria Edge worth too) but it is from this mere fact of 'nothingness' that Emma is most highly valued for. Austen has the gift of portraying mundane drudgery in society to the most exciting of events.
    I guess the one impression that Emma lives behind me the most is the familiarity of every character. Highbury seems exceptionally near and familiar as everyone gets to know about everyone. And the readers' opinions on Emma's characters are certainly controlled and deep, if you will notice. The language, irony and play of Austen's words leaves you the impression of Emma, a snob, Mrs. Elton, a shameless gossiper, Harriet, a gullible idiot and Mr. Knightley, the honorable man. Yet, Emma is a character with her strengths as well. Her abominable pride is not all there is to it. But Austen's words could have easily played with the readers' opinions. That is the magic behind Emma, I guess.

  5. #20
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    I am surprised to read something like this written about anything Austen wrote.
    Last edited by Der Prozess; 08-10-2013 at 04:23 AM.

  6. #21
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I know nobody has contributed to this thread for two years, but here's my tuppence. Emma only make sense on a second reading. The first volume, up to Mr Elton's proposal, has to all appearances definite plot progression. But then when I read it as teenage boy, I couldn't make sense where it is going. It is only when the revelation about Jane Fairfax is known the action makes sense.

    I would disagree with Gladys about Mr Bennet. Jane Austen probably intends he is just as inadequate a parent towards Lydia and Kitty (who obviously have learnt their silliness from their mother - their father being uninterested as they are not sons able to inherit) as Sir Thomas Bertram towards his children.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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