Emma (70)

Romola Garai in Emma (2009). Image from Yet Another Period Drama Blog.

“I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.”

Arrogant, thoughtless, but splendid nevertheless–see why Emma was called “faultless in spite of all her faults.”


Austen, Jane. Emma (Intro by Ronald Blythe). London: Penguin, 1981.

Weldon, Fay. Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1990. Warm, witty essays on how reading Jane Austen’s fiction is good practice for life.

Morgan, Susan. In the Meantime: Character and Perception in Jane Austen’s Fiction. University of Chicago Press, 1980.  Morgan shows how Emma’s natural self-confidence, however attractive, prevents her from seeing that other people have their own feelings and viewpoint on the world, their own self whose boundaries she attempts to transgress.

Moffat, Wendy. “Identifying with Emma: Some Problems for the Feminist Reader.” College English, 1991, 53, 45-58.  Moffat argues that Emma’s seeming autonomy is an illusion, and finds problems with fully identifying with Emma because of her acceptance of male (Mr. Knightley’s) judgment in the end.


Emma (2009) [DVD]. With Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller. BBC Warner, 2010.  Romola Garai’s Emma manages an unmatched capacity for sweetness and tenderness, without sacrificing the hallmarks of Emma’s self-assured persona.

Emma (1996) [DVD]. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northram. Miramax, 1999.  The naturally regal Paltrow shows off Emma at her commanding best. It is easy to see how those in her orbit would follow her, even when she herself was misguided.

Emma (A&E, 1997) [DVD]. With Kate Beckinsale, Mark Strong. A&E Home Video, 1999.  This version, preferred by many Austen fans, features lovely Kate Beckinsale, when she was first doing period dramas, and Mark Strong, before he played the villain to Robert Downey’s Sherlock Holmes. Beckinsale is best when she is bringing a charming tartness and confidence to Austen’s inimitable dialogue. Happily, Beckinsale returned to Austen in 2016 with the film Love & Friendship based on Lady Susan.

Clueless (Special Whatever! Edition) (1995) [DVD]. With Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd. Paramount, 2005.  Alicia Silverstone proves that Emma is still Emma, even if she is named Cher and shopping in Beverly Hills. This updated version, directed by Amy Heckerling, has become a classic in its own right.

And More…

Emma Adaptations Pages. This beautiful site created by Kali Pappas has abundant information about Emma, including news of new adaptations being made around the world.