Emma: 200th Anniversary Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen

Before we get started, I want to emphasize that this is a review of a particular edition—the Penguin Deluxe Classics 200th Anniversary Annotated version—of Jane Austen's novel Emma, rather than the novel itself. If you haven't already read Emma... well, you should! It's good!

I evaluate Austen reprints on a variety of criteria. I'm shallow, so this version's A+ cover art goes a long way with me, but the lack of an in-depth critical essay and a strange annotation format bring the overall grade down to a B-. (Instead of specific footnotes, this features a bunch of “contextual essays” by Juliette Wells.) The end result is simultaneously too superficial for hardcore Austen nerds and too in-depth and inconvenient for casual readers. I'm sure there's an ideal target audience for this particular take on the material—I'm thinking "high school English teachers who need to understand Emma well enough to teach it, but don't actually like the story"—but both students and diehard Janeites might want to look elsewhere.
Posted by: Julianka


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