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Emma Woodhouse is a privileged young woman whose greatest pleasure in life lies in matchmaking for anyone but herself. Written, by Austen’s own admission, as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,” Emma’s charm and wit exist in constant tension with her capacity for selfishness and vanity. Despite her intelligence, Emma stumbles from one catastrophe to the next—from a misguided attempt at securing a husband for her friend Harriet Smith to her disastrous meddling in the affairs of new arrivals Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax—before ultimately falling into her own unexpected happy ending.
Both a discerning look at the strictures of Regency England and an enchanting comedy of errors, Emma remains a classic two centuries since it was first published.
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