Jane Austen – Emma

Having read Emmaa few years ago I was quite keen on rereading it and see whether my previous opinion of

English: "The wedding was very much like ...

English: “The wedding was very much like other weddings” – the wedding of Emma Woodhouse and John Knightley. Austen, Jane. Emma. London: George Allen, 1898. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

this Jane Austen novel could be changed. I read Emma roughly three years ago for the first time and it was my least favourite book out of all of Jane Austen’s novels I had read. Mostly because I found Emma a very annoying and headstrong character at the time and I felt  that this clashed with the heroines of her previous novels, or at least the once that I had read. All in all at that point, Emma was my least favourite Jane Austen novel.

I must confess that after rereading this novel I did a complete 180 turn. It has now risen to be on the same level as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. While rereading this novel I became aware of the complexity of Emma’s character, but most of all the moral and spiritual growth of her was what had me spellbound. The way Jane Austen constructed this growth is so intricate and slow that as reader you are just as unaware of the moral growth as Emma at times is.

Just as all her other books, Emma is a good example of Regency period writing. Jane Austen wonderfully captures the decadent and elegant period of the Prince Regent’s reign. Especially the intricate class system and the unstable political society. There are so many ways of looking at this novel that it has my mind spinning (I am following a Regency Writing course at present). You can interpret Emma as a comment on the Regency Period society with Emma symbolizing the Prince Regent being influenced on how she should ‘rule’ her own little ‘kingdom’, with Mr. Knightley representing the past times and all good virtues and Frank Churchill as the new decadent and unstable society.  Thus Austen writes a highly critical response to the new Regency and the overtly elangance and decadence that became part of society, opposed to the more simple rural life she was used to.

All in all I’m happy that I’ve reread Emma and in all probability I will reread it another time in the far future. I slowly begin to get more respect and love for Jane Austen as a written and I hope this may continue to grow.

Book: Emma
Pages:378

 
 

Classic Club Meme – September

Pick a classic someone else in the club has read from our big review list. Link to their review andoffer a quote from their post describing their reaction to the book. What about their post makes you excited to read that classic in particular?

 

Cover of "Dubliners (Dover Thrift Edition...

This month we were asked to look at a review of another Classic clubber. My attention was caught by one of the two James Joyce reviews and I decided to check out Patty at A tale of three cities.’s review of James Joyce’s Dubliners. As I am studying in Dublin right now and often heard from my professors how Dubliners is a good starting point for reading Joyce, my attention was peaked. Yet I wasn’t quite sure wheter I should read it myself just yet, as I have a massive pile of reading work to do for my classes.

 ” these stories are meant to be reflections, for a limited time, of the life of a Dubliner, and I was left with a feeling of wanting more.”

Reading Patty’s review, and particularly this sentence , made me curios about the way Dublin and DUbliners are portrayed in this book. Now I am resolved to read Dubliners before I leave in May. As these stories reflect the life of the ordinary Dubliner, I hope to find a glance of modern day Dublin in the stories and maybe even a glimps of the stories in Dublin.

 

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes Part 1

English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. W...

English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. Watson. Illustration by Sidney Paget from the Sherlock Holmes story The Greek Interpreter.

When I started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them. Although I never read any story about Holmes and Watson before, I was familiar with the numerous representations of them in both film and television. I was a bit wary about forming an opinion about them already based upon these adaptations and hopefully they didn’t influence me too much in my eventual opinion.

The first story in this compiled novel was the famous A Study in Scarlet and from the first page I fell in love with the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Although the meeting between Holmes and Watson is mainly based on need, the relationship that is developed, whether that be romantic or platonic, is a strong and sincere one. Yet the first stories are very factual in order to establish the basis of Sherlock Holmes. For me personally they tend to be a bit too much on the factual side with Watson just listing characteristics of Holmes, or Holmes just spewing information about a certain field of interest. After establishing the primary characters, the story appears on the foreground and these stories often seem to be very ordinary but turn out to be exactly the opposite.

Holmes’s clientele hails from all the social spectrums of life from kings to hard-working man, but what is more interesting is that he has completely no regard for social etiquette. This lack often shocks his clients, and Watson too at times,  yet in the end creates more respect from them. As John Watson is the narrative point of view of the story the reader gets little information about the actual manner of his research. Yet he offers many glimpses, especially in the stories “The Gloria Scott” and ” The Musgrave Ritual” which are told from his recollection.

What surprised me was the short appearances of both Irene Adler and James Moriarty, as they are central  figures in the Holmes universe. Yet they only appear in their respective short stories and than dissappear from the stage into the background. I felt that the admiration they get from Holmes does not correspond with the length of their stories. I expected that they would get a larger part that corresponds with the amount of attention they usually get in modern adaptation. Aside from this minor point, I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the Sherlock Holmes stories and I will definitely reread them at some point, if only to see whether I can figure out the mysteries myself this time.

A few of my favourite stories:
“The Study in Scarlet”
“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”
“The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”
“The Adventure of the Gloria Scott”
“The Adventure of theMusgrave Ritual”

Book: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories Volume 1 – Bantam Classics
Pages: 1095
Quote: “Do you know, Watson,” said he, “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.”