Emma Woodhouse is the "handsome, clever, and rich" character from Jane Austen's classic novel of manners. Set in early 19th century England, Emma is considered a comic masterpiece. It... More > follows the heroine through seemingly trivial daily affairs as she tries to play matchmaker, often with hilarious and disastrous results. The overestimation of her powers and repeated meddling get her in plenty of trouble.
Unlike Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, which were about young women struggling to get married, Emma is Austen's only book about a financially independent woman: thus she is "immune to romantic attraction." It's also a commentary on class and feminist issues, but it's a comedy so don't let all that get in the way of a good read. Unfortunately, though Emma was written at the height of Austen's powers, and she reached the pinnacle of her fame from the book, her glory was short lived as she died a year later.< Less
Fanny Price, young and from a poor family, is raised by her rich uncle and aunt at Mansfield Park. She grows up with her four cousins but is always treated as an inferior; only her cousin Edmund... More > shows any real kindness. Over time, Fanny's gratitude towards Edmund grows into a secret, romantic love.< Less
A masterpiece of English literature, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice follows the life of Elizabeth Bennet as she maneuvers the obstacles of society: manners, morality, education and marriage in... More > early 19th century England. Elizabeth is a classic heroine of that period - she's bright, magnanimous, full of good sense, and she can deliver a verbal lashing while remaining perfectly proper.
What better a playing field for drama than a wealthy father with three daughters in 19th century England? It's a battle of the sexes played out in brilliant detail, with unforgettable characters and exceptional dialogue. It has sold more than 20 million copies, and has been on the top of the heap of the best books of all time since its publication.< Less
Persuasion, published in 1818, is Jane Austen's last completed novel. In it she renders the most minute details of her cast, the English upper-middle-class of the early 19th century. Anne Elliot is... More > the heroine of the story - for years she has suffered from the decision to break it off with a man she loved dearly. Austen details the cause and effect of her breakup, analyzing the British class system and its adherents. Persuasion might be Austen's most romantic, prominently featuring offset but undying love.
In this way too, Persuasion is like a fairy tale. The handsome Wentworth who prefers the affection of the other girls; the tension between Anne and he building up gradually. Finally it builds into a flurry of romantic awesomeness that I won't spoil. For its charm and romance, the reality of the book wasn't all too rosy. Austen, the queen of English letters, unfortunately didn't see this work published. She would die just before it came out at the tender age of 41.< Less
Jane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the best known and widely read English novelists out there, and her 1811 book Sense and Sensibility, which she signed anonymously "A Lady," was the book... More > that kicked off her career. It focuses on Elinor and Marianne, sisters who are left impoverished after their father Mr. Dashwood dies, whose estate goes to his son. They move to a cottage on a relative's property where there are boys in the mix: the shy Edward and the dashing Willougby. Romance and heartbreak ensue.
The title of the book refers to the character of each sister, though the words sense and sensibility held different meanings in early 19th century England. 'Sense' referred to intelligence and 'Sensibility' to the emotions, and though each sister embodies one of these characteristics, Austen is artistically vague about which belongs to whom.< Less