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Emma Adapted

Jane Austen’s Heroine from Book to Film

Marc DiPaolo

This work of literary and film criticism examines all eight filmed adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma produced between 1948 and 1996 as vastly different interpretations of the source novel. Instead of condemning the movies and television specials as being «not as good as the book,» Marc DiPaolo considers how each adaptation might be understood as a valid «reading» of Austen’s text. For example, he demonstrates how the Gwyneth Paltrow film Emma is both a romance and a female coming-of-age story, the 1972 BBC miniseries dramatizes Emma’s world as claustrophobic and Emma herself as suffering from depression, and the modern-day teen comedy Clueless comes closest of all to bringing a feminist reading of the novel to the screen. Each version illuminates a different, legitimate way of reading the novel that is rewarding for Austen fans, scholars, and students alike.