Emma (Penguin Classics) (Old Paperback)
In the Introduction, Ronald Blythe comments Emma was the climax of Jane Austen's genius and the Parthenon of fiction. Jane Austen would have, no doubt, demurred in her cool, ironic way at this verdict; she herself wrote that she was planning to take a heroine in Emma 'which no one but myself would like'. Vital, interesting, complex and predisposed to play a power game with other people's emotions, Emma is none the less one of Jane Austen's immortal creations. Dominating the novel as she dominates the small provincial world of Highbury, her forays into the matchmaking arena bring her up sharply against the follies of her egotism and selfishness. The consequent crisis, her bitter regrets and the novel's happy resolution are plotted with Jane Austen's incomparable art in this sharp and gloriously sparkling comedy of self-deceit and self-discovery.