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The Novel

This page is devoted to laughable misconceptions and blatantly erroneous statements by careless writers, reviewers, and editors regarding Emma. Okay...and cute injokes, too. If you come across a good one, send it over.

Clueless About Emma

KathyL on 7/9/2002 at 1:51 pm PDT...

I'm always behind the rest of the world in reading books, and I just finished Into Thin Air, an account of a 1996 Everest disaster. The author is referring to an extremely wealthy woman who brought all her trappings along on the climbing expedition, including fax machines that the sherpas carried at great expense to their energy reserves and health. The author seemed to imply that this woman's excesses played a part in the disaster where lives were lost. The author said, in reference to the woman's actions: "She was totally clueless, just like Jane Austen's Emma." I was stunned. Emma may be a bit insensitive to others' feelings, but I do not believe she could be totally oblivious to the pain or suffering of her employees. I wonder if the author had actually read Emma.

Noticed by Kali on the NBC sitcom "Mad About you"...

Remember the episodes, pre-Mabel, during which Jamie Buchman decides she won't be going back to work? Jamie justifies her decision in part with a list of wonderful, constructive things she can do at home, like reading the complete works of Jane Austen. The task of reading all the novels, however, is a daunting one. Which to begin with? She resolves to go through them alphabetically, picks up Emma, and daunted by its length, puts it down immediately, deciding to go in REVERSE alphabetical order instead. Once left alone, she barely starts Sense & Sensibility before she's ditched the books for the remote control. Despite the fact that no titles are ever mentioned, an Emma fan would understand and enjoy the reference.

KathyL on May 21, 1998 at 19:01:35:

Our local paper discussed the last "Seinfeld" show and made the statement that the character Elaine on the show was "about as likeable as Jane Austen's Emma." I thought to myself "Seinfeld and the rest of the characters will be long forgotten whereas Emma will be around another few hundred years."

What do you think?

Kay on December 18, 1997 at 16:18:49:

Women of Words, edited by Janet Bukovinsky Teacher. Published by Courage Books (of the Running Press Book Publishers) Philadelphia, 1994.

I saw a beautifully illustrated coffeetable type book on Women writers. Many of my favorites were included and perhaps I could get some ideas on other books to read. My husband bought it for me for my anniversary. Imagine my dismay when I read the Jane Austen section and saw this quote about Emma:

"Emma chronicles how a spoiled young heiress - not an especially appealing character - fritters away her time and misbehaves until she learns a valuable lesson about respecting tenant farmers who manage her land."

Now how could I give credence to anything else the author said?