First published in 1816 and generally considered Jane Austen's finest work, Emma is a humorous portrayal of a heroine whose injudicious interferences in the life of a young parlour-boarder in a neighboring village often lead to substantial mortification. Austen brings to life a myriad of engaging characters as she presents a mixture of social classes as she did in Pride and Prejudice. Her two greatest comic characters are part of Emma's machinations: the eccentric Mr. Woodhouse and the quintessential bore, Miss Bates.
Delightfully funny, Emma displays the shrewd wit and delicate irony which made Jane Austen a master of the English novel. Although Austen thought that only she would like her witty, fanciful, self-deluded heroine, Emma has gained the affection of generations of readers.