All the Pretty Emmas

Emma 200th Anniversary Penguin Classics Edition

“Oh! you would rather talk of her person than her mind, would you? Very well; I shall not attempt to deny Emma’s being pretty.”

“Pretty! say beautiful rather. Can you imagine any thing nearer perfect beauty than Emma altogether— face and figure?”

“I do not know what I could imagine, but I confess that I have seldom seen a face or figure more pleasing to me than hers. But I am a partial old friend.” – Emma, Volume I, Chapter V (5)

I recently received a copy of the new 200th Anniversary Penguin Classics edition of Emma, and thought, “Why didn’t they send this to me two years ago!” Because two years ago, I was in the initial stages of putting together Jane Austen Cover to Cover, and I certainly would have loved to include this beautiful cover design by Dadu Shin.

But this is way more than just a pretty cover; this new edition was edited by Juliette Wells of Goucher College (who will be one of the plenary speakers at the 2016 JASNA AGM in Washington, D.C.). From the publisher:

This new edition was prepared with both Austen enthusiasts and first-time readers in mind by Goucher professor and Austen scholar Juliette Wells, and includes an introduction that focuses on the importance of EMMA to Austen’s career and the reception of the novel by its first readers, as well as original contextual essays, a glossary of eighteenth-century usage, maps of Austen’s England, suggestions for further reading, and illustrations from early editions of EMMA (drawn from the Jane Austen Collection at Goucher).

My JASNA book group will be reading Emma together soon, and I’ll be using this lovely new edition to enhance my reading experience, and maybe learn some stuff.

We’re giving away a copy of the book over on AustenBlog. Head over there and leave a comment to enter. (Sorry, this is just for readers in the U.S.)

While I was putting together the books for JAC2C, I noticed how many really lovely editions of Emma were out there (and so many of them from Penguin!). Perhaps the publishers are inspired by the beautiful Miss Woodhouse, Miss Smith, and Miss Fairfax? I thought it would be fun to put together a gallery of some of the really beautiful editions for my Gentle Readers. Enjoy!

Click on any image for a gallery with information about the covers.

Will Jane Austen’s Real Inspiration Please Stand Up?

Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire

Castle Ashby

When I saw this article in the Telegraph linked on Twitter, I rolled my eyes a bit and prepared myself for silliness. We’ve had so much of this sort of thing: the Real Mr. Darcy, the Real Pemberley, etc., and it’s becoming tiresome, because so often it’s a bunch of hooey. Continue reading

Messing About in Boats

Tall Ships Philly and Camden 2015

I had a great time this week at the Tall Ships Philadelphia and Camden festival. I went to the Parade of Sail on Thursday and back the next day to go aboard some of the ships. It was hot and sometimes rainy and occasionally not optimally organized, but my lucky ship karma came through in a couple of instances, making it an overall positive experience.  Continue reading

Reading These Old Shades


Illusions: shattered.

ETA: The dictionary was wrong! Bohea was used to indicate black tea, as opposed to green tea. That’s all. Nothing sinister.


We’re going to dance and have some FUN! It’s Friday!

Friday Night Dance Party!

Welcome to the Grand (Re)Opening of This Delightful Habit of Journaling!

WelcomeBelieve it or not, I started this blog two years ago. I meant it to replace AustenBlog, because I wanted more freedom to blog about everything that interested me, not just Jane Austen, though I can’t imagine any blog I write not being heavily influenced by my love for Jane Austen’s work. However, I found myself unable to kill AustenBlog. I stood above it with my knife, ready to stab it through the heart, and couldn’t do the deed. If this were Shakespeare, I would come to an ugly end, but fortunately it’s just a blog.  Continue reading

All of Heyer: Simon the Coldheart

allheyericonPublished 1925

“Almost from the first her novels stood apart from the usual offerings among historical fiction.” – Jennifer Kloester

I liked Simon the Coldheart well enough, but find myself with not much to say about it. Reading it between Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies* was, in retrospect, not the greatest idea. I was too eager to get back to Mantel to give Simon the attention he deserved; and he does deserve it. To be honest, I had a hard time putting it down for first half of the book. The second half didn’t exactly drag, but it lost a little momentum–and that was just when we were getting to the love story.  Continue reading