Oct 212015


Hi readers!  Have you seen that Penguin Classics is releasing a new edition of Emma?  A 200th Anniversary Annotated Edition!  If you are a reader of this blog, then you know that I greatly enjoyed reading and reviewing annotated editions of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion these past two years!  And I definitely plan to own this lovely edition one day!  Below you will find a little Q&A with editor Juliette Wells and an opportunity to win this lovely book for yourself!


When we celebrate the 200th anniversary of EMMA, what in particular are we celebrating? What’s new about this edition?

We’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of Emma’s original publication, in London in December, 1815.  The date of publication is a little confusing because “1816” was printed on the title page of the first edition of the novel, but it was actually released in December, 1815.  I think this gives us the right to celebrate for a whole year!

And what better way to celebrate than to re-read Emma, or read it for the first time?  Our 200th-anniversary annotated edition has everything you need, all in one place, to help you appreciate this wonderful novel.   You can immerse yourself in Austen’s world and also have, right at your fingertips, explanations of some of the elements of the novel that tend to trip up or puzzle today’s readers.

What is it like to prepare a new edition of a book that’s so well-known and exists in many editions? What kind of research did you do? Did anything you learned during the process surprise you?

It was really important to me to create a truly new approach to Emma—a welcoming, reader-friendly approach.  Excellent editions of Emma already exist for scholars and for devoted “Janeites.”  With this anniversary edition, I wanted to open Austen up to people who hadn’t given her a try before, and to support their reading experience by using everything I know from years of teaching undergraduates and from talking with everyday readers.   I certainly reached for plenty of scholarly and reference sources on my shelves, but I’d say my most important preparation was to have built up, over time, a sense of what readers are curious about and what frustrates them in their first encounter with an Austen novel. And, through my teaching, I’ve had a lot of practice at explaining historical concepts in an accessible way.

I also had the huge pleasure of re-reading Emma myself, slowly, with pencil in hand, making lists of topics to cover in my contextual essays and marking words that would likely be unfamiliar to present-day Americans.  By doing this, I developed a much deeper appreciation of Austen’s artistry with words.  This surprised and delighted me—I would have said I appreciated her artistry plenty before!  But it wasn’t until I was trying to figure out how to convey the meaning of a particular phrase that I realized how much meaning she packs in with her clever, economical word choices.

Thinking about readers’ experience with Emma also shaped how the contextual material is presented in this new edition. In my experience, many ordinary readers, and even college students too, are put off by footnotes, or at best ignore them.  So we decided instead to group topics together in contextual essays, which are easier—and, I hope, more fun—to read.  Here too my experience explaining historical concepts And, there’s no question, the gorgeous cover by Dadu Shin is a beautiful invitation to pick up this Emma!

I agree!  That cover is gorgeous!  I’m sure the essays are fascinating!  I definitely learn a lot when I read an annotated edition!



The lovely people at Penguin Books have one lovely copy of their newly released Emma: 200th Anniversary Annotated Edition for me to give away to one lucky reader!


To enter this giveaway, tell me when was the last time you’ve read Emma.  Are you planning on rereading it sometime this year?  (I’ll be rereading it in December! Can’t wait!)



  • This giveaway is open to US residents!
  • This giveaway ends October 28th!
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  26 Responses to “Q&A + Giveaway with Juliette Wells!!!”


    It has been a few years since I have read Emma. I love the attention to the 200 year anniversaires of publication because they remind me to not only reread the books but they open up lots of on-line dicussions of the novels!
    Thanks for the reminder to put Emma on my tbr pile and tor the giveaway. I look for to Emma getting some special attention this year!


    I haven’t read Emma in a few years but I really need to read it again. Love it!


    Thanks for this giveaway! Recently I have been sniffing around the various annotated editions, because I’m still reading the R. W. Chapman editions published in the 1960s—need to get up to date! I last read Emma this past winter, and it was the first time that I really appreciated its artistry.


    I am sure it has been ten years since I have read Emma. I like annotative editions that have essays at the end. The appeal of Jane Austen is that one can read her novels many times and always discover new meanings. She truly is a brilliant writer. Thank you for the giveaway .


    Honestly, it has been so long since I read Emma that I can’t remember when it was. I stay so busy writing and running the forum that I hardly get to read anything and I would love to read this book. Thanks for featuring it Meredith.


    Thanks for this great giveaway which interests me greatly. I have read Emma which was captivating and memorable.


    This annotated version seems really helpful and interesting!. Pity I can´t participate in the giveaway LOL but I hope you enjoy with this “Emma” and learn a lot about the time, the costumes…
    I read “Emma” when I was at the university (WOW, the time goes by very fast!) and two years ago I watched the BBC version with Romola Garai and it seemed to me a very refreshing version! 🙂


    I re-read Emma, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Pride & Prejudice every year, Sense & Sensibility every few years, and
    Mansfield Park almost never. I love Emma and would so like this wonderful
    annotated edition. A thank you for the


    About a year ago–started a book club at work…


    I love that this is aimed at gathering new readership as much as for the longtime fans of Austen’s Emma. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.


    I read it for the first time…I want to say I was 15, maybe younger. I’d fallen in love with the movie, and the book made me fall even more in love. I’ve reread favorite parts countless times 🙂


    It has been a a few years since I read it. I am going to have to reread it this December. I really want this edition with the contextual essays! What a fabulous way to give background and connect readers to the text!! So excited!


    Emma is one of my very favorites, as all of Austen’s novels are my favorites. I have never read an annotated version ands would love to give it a go. Thanks for the chance to win.


    I love Emma. I generally re-read it every few years or so. Now I realize it’s been too long. I suspect I will pick it up again before the end of the year.


    Gorgeous cover. I’m re-reading all of Austen’s works next year and an annotated version of Emma, which I have not studied closely, would be a helpful resource. Great interview!


    It was a couple years ago for me.


    I haven’t read Emma in years also. I love annotated works. They add so much to freshen up and enliven the novels we’ve come to enjoy. I’d love to read this. I enjoyed this interview and that cover is gorgeous.


    I read Emma about 6 years ago, and reading about the 200th anniversary edition makes me want to read it again. Really enjoyable interview!


    I bread Emma once last year. I plan to listen to it in January while commuting.


    I have Emma in a compendium of Jane Austen’s books but I would love to have this one too!


    I know I have read Emma several times and I think I have all the versions of the movie. But I can’t remember exactly when I read it last. It might have been for the now disbanded Jane Austen Reading Group I was in. When do I plan to read it again? Don’t know – might be this year if I win an annotated version. That would be so much more interesting to see all the notes with the reading. But I find that it is difficult to do that with a kindle version.


    I meant Ms. Wells today at an Emma and she was brilliant!! What a great giveaway!! Thanks!


    Emma was my introduction to Jane Austen, about 20 years ago now, when I was 11. I tackled it immediately, and loved it, and Austen at first sight. She has been my favorite author since that first reading. I’ll probably be rereading all of Austen starting early next year; a year of Austen. 🙂


    I read Emma once a few years ago. Not planning to reread soon, unless I win this. I have the hardcover book from Barnes and Noble. I think it has a lengthy introduction.


    I read Emma earlier this year with my Jane Austen book club. I really enjoyed it. This edition looks great. Thanks for holding the giveaway Meredith!

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