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Emma - Jane Austen

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  • Randy S

    For me, this was kind of a learning meetup. I've heard of but had not read Austen before. What was good about the group is that there were a number of real Janie diehards who gave me some insights about here writing and times.

    2 · April 9, 2014

  • Brian

    As always, I enjoyed the conversation and discussion -- even when I didn't necessarily enjoy the book.

    April 9, 2014

  • Betsy S.

    Many aspects of Emma are very interesting to me especially the way the novel depicts a very structured society so different than ours. The story in Emma centers around a number of marriages and how these marriages solidifies a peron's social status. Women at that time were denied the possibility of improving their status through work or personal achievement. The story also shows that women at that time had a very confined existence which denied them ways to use their intelligence and energy. I think this is why Emma becomes involved with match-making.

    The way these people spent their social time contrasts greatly to today. They had visits, parties in someone's home or maybe did charades, riddles or did drawings. Conversation was very reserved.

    However, I'll admit that it takes patience to read Emma. Long conversations about things like why someone left a door open producing a draft or how many people will fit in a room for a dance, I will admit, are tedious to get through!

    1 · April 6, 2014

  • Jon F.

    Having essayed further into Volume 2 of Emma on Rick's suggestion, I find that the fatuousness and vapidity of the conversation and characters of Emma are precisely why I read as an adolescent and why I continue to read rather than search for satisfaction in social encounters with people such as those depicted in Emma. In "Pride and Prejudice" Mrs. Bennett was funny in her lack of ability to control herself; Miss Bates is intolerable in her uncontrolled deluge of projectile conversational vomit. I would hope that Emma is supposed to be a comedy, but I'm not laughing. Perhaps it is closer to Twilight than I my imagined in my initial ironic comment. I certainly don't find that it is a book that I should read before I die.

    I have to reply to the comment that "Invisible Man"was "boring and dreadful". I can understand dreadful - some scenes are horrific. But it's not boring. Perhaps overwrought, overly literary and incomprehensibly surreal, which could cause aversion to some.

    April 6, 2014

    • Rick O.

      Hope I didn't lure you into reading more by sounding like I was implying there is more there than meets the eye :) - I agree with your original comment and follow-up. What worked for me is I went into it with no expectations of any depth - and the work fully delivered. - Sounds like the meetup will have a good number of yes-Austens and no-Austens (unless the nos bail), which is good - I hate it when we all agree with each other. (ps didn't make it for IM, but since it was 'incomprehensibly surreal' my plans for next week have suddenly changed.)

      1 · April 6, 2014

  • Maria

    I won't be able to make it as I have conflicting plans, but Emma is a great book and there is much to be discussed. I highly disagree that there is no difference between Emma and Twilight... yes, they are both love stories, but you have to dig deeper into the context of these loves. Twilight honestly disturbs me with the unhealthiness of the relationship between the main characters, while Emma is much lighter and more sincere. The story in Emma doesn't pretend to be epic and intense for the sake of being epic and intense.

    What I find interesting is how different Emma is from Jane Austen's other heroines (also given the time period). Emma is privileged, yes, and has want for nothing. This contrasts with the situations of characters like Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, or Fanny Price, whose livelihoods depend on their finding husbands. Emma does not need this, so her story plays out in a different fashion.

    Food for thought!

    April 5, 2014

    • Stephanie H. F.

      Hi Maria, I think your insight on Emma vs other of Jane Austin's characters is compelling. I've only ready Emma and Sense&Sensibility and I do appreciate Emma's role in the story. As for the Emma & Twilight, I was referring to them being the same typology, as they both talk about forbidden love (beauty and the beast over&over again) I think many got confused about that.

      April 5, 2014

  • Eilene

    Need to be a "maybe"..hobbling around on a soft cast so will depend on whether I can find parking close to Galway....LOVE books though and first read this when I was 8

    April 5, 2014

    • Udayan

      Parking is available though it it is a matter of luck. Street parking is free on Sundays. Several of our members drive to book club.

      April 5, 2014

    • Udayan

      We've been able to park right in front a number of times.

      April 5, 2014

  • Jon F.

    Are you saying that the book gets better after the slow set up of Vol. 1 with the not-so-likeable, not-so-striking characters? If so, perhaps I will explore the rest. Believe it or not, I would rather appreciate something rather than excoriate it. Too bad I'll miss the guide dog - other obligations.

    April 4, 2014

    • Rick O.

      No, the book does not get better. The not-so-likable characters perhaps become a bit more likable, but remain utterly not-so-striking. I agree with both your comments.

      I don't like Austen - she is just too cute. I think she wields great skill, but never gets past the surface, and I always found myself wanting more. But since I consider myself a lover of Style, I could never quite figure out why I dislike Austen so much.

      I defended "Lucky Jim' in part because it should be taken within its own terms. Once I applied that to Austen, I was perfectly content with the not-so-interesting characters (I did wind up liking Emma more at the end, though). Reading should be fun, right? And walking into the novel with the "I want to be entertained, and I ask for no more" aspect worked - for me.

      I'm glad I read the book because I thought I would not be glad. But I don't think it is a 'good' book.

      April 5, 2014

    • Rick O.

      p.s. - to add to what Stephanie says - if part of the purpose of a book group is to discuss the ideas in the book, and if Austen achieves that, then in that aspect she succeeds.

      April 5, 2014

  • Rick O.

    I'm really glad I read this. Mostly because this was not what I expected to say before I read this.
    Favorite sentence:
    "I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other..."

    1 · April 4, 2014

  • Amy K.

    Isn't the actual book club meeting the place for the book to be discussed? I wasn't done with the book and would've appreciated the ending not having been revealed. Oh well

    3 · April 2, 2014

  • Stephanie H. F.

    I know very well that my comment is not the one and only truth, but the whole point to a debate is to take a position and back it up. I want to bring up topics that are going to make people think and react, not just talk about the weather....

    With that said, what does everybody think about the ending?
    Jane depicts Emma as this strong woman who decides she does not need a man to be happy... Yet she falls in love and in the end of the book marries… I'm very disappointed of this ending I feel like Emma's character fell apart, it would've been more successful making us wonder if Emma will ever change... I initially thought of Emma as this 19th century young feminist. Thoughts?

    April 2, 2014

  • Stephanie H. F.

    I think Jane Austen portrayed very eloquently the complexities of the human condition and that is why her stories never cease to become outdated.

    There is NO difference between EMMA and Twilight. They are both love stories with a hint of mystery and I would argue, EMMA depicts woman as strong individuals with their role in society, rather than Bella who is this fragile figure who needs to be saved. You are naive to say that the woman's condition has changed. The American woman is still highly concerned with the notion of matrimony and even more of the "4inch wallet". There are several countries who are very comfortable living with a partner and not getting married, yet in America, you are looked at with a sigh of pity if you don't have that fat diamond on your finger and two kids by your side (preferably the pretty suburban house with large property to brag about as well).

    April 1, 2014

    • Jenny T.

      The "4 inch wallet"? I've never even heard of that phrase. I don't mean to start a political debate or anything, but times have changed in regards to the American woman's condition, though it depends on location and which generation you're looking at, I'm sure (the more urban and the younger generations are less likely to fit the stereotype you're mentioning, to make some gross generalizations). Your place of work also probably makes a difference-corporate work environments might be more discriminating if you don't fit the "American dream," though I'm sure I can think of examples of unmarried, high-powered American women in the public or private sector. I doubt Condi Rice, for instance, was looked down upon for being childless. Anyways, America is too diverse and multifaceted (and there are economic forces in play as well) for the traditional notion of the American woman to hold today.

      April 2, 2014

    • Udayan

      Let's be careful about not stereotyping a people or culture on this board here. And I echo Jenny's point that there is no one American woman.

      April 2, 2014

  • Udayan

    I think Erika Vause will elucidate for us the differences or lack thereof between Emma and Twilight.

    April 2, 2014

  • Stephanie H. F.

    Due to my work schedule, the audio version of the book was the only way I would be able to read Emma on time. Not only do I highly recommend audio books, I finished the book so fast that I started listening to Sense & Sensibility. I thought it would be a good continuation so that I could make comparisons between the two books.
    (I'm not american and never read Jane Austin in high school).

    Obviously their both love stories but I would argue they could fall into the mystery section as well
    One or more of the characters bare a secret. Jane tricks you and doesn't reveal where the secret is but when she does, you get drawn in and can't stop reading to find out how things "truly occurred".

    I love how this book could have easily been written today. If you can get past the peculiarities of the 19th century culture, the way in which we fall in love, or decide who we think we should fall in love with, is exactly the same.

    April 1, 2014

  • Mike B.

    Boring? I was wondering today if Austen was attempting to make fun of the other young women in her world who are exclusively occupied with finding husbands. Would that be considered a worthwhile subject for a story?

    April 1, 2014

  • Jon F.

    Not a book I would read on my own either. In fact, I read the first volume and decided I could better spend time on mindless TV. Maybe I'll try reading Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray in pursuit of a more challenging and interesting book than Emma.

    1 · March 31, 2014

    • Amy K.

      I just started reading it but it couldn't possibly be any more boring and dreadful than invisible man was...

      1 · April 1, 2014

  • Randy S

    I'm at about pg. 60 right now. Not a book I would have read on my own so I'm glad I'm being exposed to the author. Mixed feelings. The comedy of Emma's matchmaking exploits is amusing for sure. But I guess the classed society back then and the limited horizons of women make it a bit sad. Anyway, I'm sure there's fodder for a good discussion.

    1 · March 30, 2014

  • Jon F.

    A guide dog would be wonderful. Maybe he could help guide the conversation and keep it from falling into the gutter of incipient chaos!

    2 · March 16, 2014

  • Betsy S.

    I am reading "Emma" and I love it! Here's something interesting about Jane Austen's books. Oxford fellow Dr. Paula Byrne states:
    "Jane Austen was prescribed to shell shock victims after the First World War as an antidote to mental trouble. She was read in the trenches. She was a prescribed script for tortured, troubled souls."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/ways-with-words/10164668/Ways-With-Words-2013-Jane-Austen-prescribed-as-antidote-to-the-horrors-of-WW1.html

    March 16, 2014

  • Cheri

    I am visually impaired and utilize a guide dog. Would anyone have issue with him coming with me?

    1 · March 14, 2014

  • Stephanie H. F.

    I downloaded the audio version... Hopefully no one will look down on me for that.... :-p

    2 · March 13, 2014

  • Christine H.

    Jane Austen? Jane Austen? Clueless? What? ;)

    February 17, 2014

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