‘Emma’: a less-known Jane Austen

12 de mayo de 2013 | Por | Categoría: Literatura, Reseñas

emmaPor María Gómez Benito. ‘Emma’ has always been overshadowed by ‘Pride and Prejudice’, one of the most cherished and pinnacle books in the history of English literature. Nevertheless, this novel is far from being the ‘Cinderella’ of Jane Austen’s work. Published in 1815, it guides us through a perfect story of maturity. Emma Woodhouse becomes a memorable character as we discover with fatherly eyes how she is completely full of contradictions. Lovable for her beauty, independence and kindness to her father, every reader is also willing to scold her so that she stopped being so spoiled, self-satisfied and naïve.
It is true that we observe a lack of strength in Emma if we compare her with other Austen heroines like Elizabeth Bennet. We hardly identify ourselves with this frivolous girl but that represents a strong point in the novel because it evidences more richness.
Austen offers an ironic, detailed and accurate portrayal of the upper class society during the Regency. Misunderstandings, love affairs (happy, secret or unrequited ones) are developed with fluency in the simple, non-affected language of the author, who reveals herself as a master in indirect speech as well as in witty and sparkling dialogues.
We could only blame Austen for a middle part of the plot that sinks a little, because of its excessive length and extensive description of Emma’s feelings.
This weakness was solved in an efficient adaptation for the screen of 1996, directed by Douglas McGrath. Nobody could have played Emma’s role like Gwyneth Paltrow. She brings Emma to life in an appealing and sophisticated acting. A great tribute to a novel that is a must-read.
María Gómez Benito. C1

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