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Emma: an Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism

by Jane Austen Stephen M. Parrish

The Third Norton Critical Edition of Jane Austen's popular comedic novel is based on the 1816 first edition text, which has been carefully collated by the editor. "Backgrounds" includes an abundance of source material that sheds light on Austen's life and reveals some of her private attitudes toward her writing. Readers will enjoy comparing real events in Austen's life with her fictionalized accounts in Emma. Included is a selection of Austen's letters to her sister, Cassandra; an excerpt from The Watsons (a novel fragment) describing that most Austenian of social events, a country ball; Virginia Woolf 's commentary on The Watsons; and two biographical sketches by family members. The editor has also included Austen's "Plan of a Novel" and relevant correspondence between Austen and J. S. Clark (chaplain to the Prince Regent). "Reviews and Criticism" includes sixteen wide-ranging assessments of the novel, three of them new to the Norton Critical Edition. Sir Walter Scott, George Henry Lewes, Henry James, A. C. Bradley, Reginald Farrer, E. M. Forster, A. Walton Litz, Robert Alan Donovan, Marilyn Butler, Mary Poovey, Claudia L. Johnson, Ian Watt, Maggie Lane, Suzanne Juhasz, and John Wiltshire provide critical overviews. The selection culminates with Suzanne Ferriss's account of the recent popular film versions of Emma. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are included. ABOUT THE SERIES: Each Norton Critical Edition includes an authoritative text, contextual and source materials, and a wide range of interpretations -from contemporary perspectives to the most current critical theory-as well as a bibliography and, in many cases, a chronology of the author's life and work. COVER ILLUSTRATION: The Cloakroom, Clifton Assemblyrooms (1817-18), painting by R. Sharpies, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, UK/Bridgeman Art Library. AUTHOR'S PORTRAIT: Watercolor sketch of Jane Austen by Cassandra Austen. By courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London. Taken from the bookjacket

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