the ravings of a sex-deprived old maid (Austen was 40 years old at time of writing and highly possibly a virgin), Emma is a classic "fantasy" work, of What My Life Would Have Looked Like Were I Ten Times Richer. the authorial avatar, "Emma" is thinly disguised anagram of the author's first name (one letter off) -> JANE -> NANE -> ANNE -> ENNA whose obssesive relationship with her father is the root of an Electra complex gone mad (unable to consummate her relationship with her father, she begins resorting to 'matchmaking' and eventually the whole Pygmalion thing).
the favourite work of madwomen and sex-deprived, Emma is famous today for completely ignoring the French Revolution, although it's possible that Austen never heard of it, since she lived in her father's house her whole life.
Austen died shortly after completing this work, a broken woman, and if not for the courageous efforts of London publishers and reviewers, we would not have this testament to the airless hell of England in 1800 today.
observe the graphic of western civilization's wars. from 1618-1848, Europe decided it was Protestant rather than Catholic. from 1789 to 1815 Europe decided it was scientific-rationalist rather than Christian. from 1915-1945 Europe decided it was absurdist-nihilist rather than scientific rationalist. Austen is living in the 2nd great upheaval of Europe: but there isn't the slightest inquiry into the causes, incidents, justifications, or personalities surrounding the dawn of the age of the citizen.
Jane! you're on trial! why no interest in France! why no interest in the proletariat class!Austen responds: well my dear boy, as you know, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
no Jane! that's not the question. I want to know what you think about WAR and REVOLUTION. about CLASS-STRUGGLE.Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.
stop talking about marriage! I care nothing for love or romance! tell me about murder and stalking!There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.
thank you Jane! you've made my day!
now where are the fifteen year old girls
aside from this little literary excess, i wanted to comment that of course Austen is a girls' hero. I'm not denying that her appeal is worldwide and at times fervent. it's just that... well, it doesn't really do anything for my day that somewhat well-off but "must marry" girls are engaged in frantic and real-life struggles to maintain their gentrified status in this world. four hundred miles north of the orkneys, there are polar bears and seals. seven hundred miles south of gibralter, there are african cannibals and breech-load rifles. in the austenverse, neither of these matter. i want polar exploration. i want war. i want atrocity. give it to me. throw austen in the fireplace.