Holiday book giving is just around the corner, and top on my list to many of my Janeite friends will be Harvard University’s new annotated edition of Jane Austen’s Emma. It will be officially released tomorrow, so mark your calendars and wait for the fireworks.
I was agog over their two previous volumes, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, so when the next in their publishing quest to bring all of Jane Austen’s six major novels to us in sumptuously illustrated and enlightened editions arrived on my doorstep, I needed my aromatic vinegars to revive myself. Filled with hundreds of side notes and over 119 color illustrations, this new volume is the heavy weight of the set at four pounds and 576 pages. Wow!
The beautiful cover illustration is an inset from Sir James Dromgole Linton’s Waiting. If you think that the enticing folds of the opulent fabric of the lady’s frock is a herald of what awaits inside, then hold on to your bonnets. It gets even better. Here is a brief description from the publisher:
“Bharat Tandon’s edition of Emma is a delight to read, as pleasurable as it is thought provoking. He captures both the delights of Austen’s novel and the way that those delights are shadowed by the dark intimations.” – Deidre Lynch, University of Toronto
Inside the World of Emma Woodhouse
Emma Woodhouse is one of the most endearing and exasperating figures in fiction – “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition,” yet often frivolous, inconsiderate, and carelessly manipulative. Now her stubbornness, vanity, cleverness, and independence can be more fully understood thanks to Emma: An Annotated Edition (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; September 17, 2012; $35.00), edited by Bharat Tandon. Like the previous volumes in Harvard’s celebrated annotated Austen series, this is a beautiful and illuminating gift edition that will be treasured by readers.
Stimulating and helpful annotations appear in the book’s margins, offering information, definitions, and commentary. In his introduction, Bharat Tandon suggests several ways to approach the novel, enabling a larger appreciation of its central concerns and accomplishments. Appearing throughout the book are many illustrations, often in color, which help the reader to better picture the Regency-era world that serves as the stage for Emma’s matchmaking adventures.
Whether explaining the intricacies of early nineteenth-century dinner etiquette or speculating on Highbury’s deliberately imprecise geographic locations, Tandon serves as a delightful and entertaining guide. For those coming to the novel for the first time or those returning to it, this volume offers a valuable portal to Austen’s world.
Bharat Tandon is Lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and the author of Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation.
GIVEAWAY OF EMMA: AN ANNOTATED EDITION
The good folks at Harvard University Press are offering a giveaway chance for one of three copies available of Emma: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Bharat Tandon. To qualify, tell us what you love or hate about Austen’s most troublesome creature, Emma Woodhouse. If you have not had the pleasure of reading Emma yet, tell us what entices YOU into reading the novel? Contest open until 11:59 pm Pacific time, Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Winners will be announced on Thursday, September 27, 2012. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck to all!
Emma: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Bharat Tandon
The Belknap Press (September 17, 2012)
Hardcover (576) pages
© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress & Belknap Press, Austenprose