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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Jane Austen's novel Emma, which features, according to Austen, 'a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like'.

"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her." So begins Emma by Jane Austen, describing her leading character who, she said, was "a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like." Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss this, one of Austen's most popular novels and arguably her masterpiece, a brilliantly sparkling comedy of manners published in December 1815 by John Murray, the last to be published in Austen's lifetime. This followed Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Mansfield Park (1814), with her brother Henry handling publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (1817).


Janet Todd
Professor Emerita of Literature, University of Aberdeen and Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge

John Mullan
Professor of English at University College, London


Emma Clery
Professor of English at the University of Southampton.

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 19 Nov 2015 21:30


Janet Todd at the University of Aberdeen

John Mullan at University College London

Emma Clery at the University of Southampton

The Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom

Jane Austen’s House Museum

Emma – Wikipedia

Jane Austen – Wikipedia



Marilyn Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (first published 1975; Oxford University Press, 1988)

Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Richard Jenkyns, A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen (Oxford University Press, 2004)

Claudia Johnson, Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel (University of Chicago Press, 1988)

Peter Knox-Shaw, Jane Austen and the Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

David Monaghan (ed.), Emma (New Casebook Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 1992)

Anthony Mandal, Jane Austen and the Popular Novel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

John Mullan, What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved (Bloomsbury, 2012)

Bharat Tandon, Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation (Anthem, 2003)

Tony Tanner, Jane Austen (first published 1986; Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

Janet Todd, The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

John Wiltshire, The Hidden Jane Austen (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

John Wiltshire, Jane Austen and the Body (Cambridge University Press, 1992)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Janet Todd
Interviewed Guest John Mullan
Interviewed Guest Emma Clery
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 19 Nov 2015 09:00
  • Thu 19 Nov 2015 21:30

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