Student Companion to Jane Austen

By Debra Teachman | Go to book overview

6
Emma ( 1815)

In 1813, Jane Austen was a successful author with two popular novels in print and a third ready to go to press. Her confidence and her creativity were at an all-time high, and she was thrilled over the fact that she had money of her own, money for which she did not have to thank her brothers or friends.

The identity of the author of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, while still officially a secret, became a much less guarded secret during the writing of Emma. Henry Austen, the novelist's brother, acted as her agent with the London publishers. His pride in his famous sister often overwhelmed his sense of discretion, and he frequently revealed her identity against her wishes. Among those who learned of the author's identity through Henry's indiscretions was the Prince Regent, whose doctor was also Henry Austen's doctor. He had learned from Henry that Jane was not only the author but that she was, at that time, in London visiting him. The Prince Regent, upon hearing that the author of such celebrated works was in London, ordered his librarian, James Stanier Clarke, to call on her, to invite her to his library at Carlton House, and to suggest that she dedicate her next book to him. Austen detested the behavior of the Prince Regent who lived quite openly with his mistress and made the life of his wife quite miserable. Mansfield Park, the novel previous to Emma, made clear her feelings about the detestable nature of adultery and unfaithfulness in any form. Yet she realized that a suggestion from the Prince Regent's librarian was essentially a Royal order. So, Emma was published with a dedication to His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, as distasteful as it was to Austen to do so.

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Student Companion to Jane Austen
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • 1 - The Life of Jane Austen 1
  • 2 - Literary Heritage 21
  • 3 - Sense and Sensibility (1811) 37
  • 4 - Pride and Prejudice (1813) 53
  • 5 - Mansfield Park (1814) 71
  • 6 - Emma (1815) 89
  • 7 - Northanger Abbey (1818) 109
  • 8 - Persuasion (1818) 129
  • Bibliography 149
  • Index 155
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