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Emma (Macmillan Popular Classics)
When Emma Woodhouse sets out on a career of match-making in the little town of Highbury she manages to cause confusion at every step. Jane Austen was particularly proud of Emma, in which she takes apart the desires and foibles of small-town society with unnerving accuracy.
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Jane Austen was born in 1775 in rural Hampshire, the daughter of an affluent village rector who encouraged her in her artistic pursuits. Jane remained in the vicinity of her childhood home for much of her life. As such it was through family and friends that she learned most of her considerable understanding of manners and relationships. In novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma she developed her subtle analysis of contemporary life through depictions of the middle-classes in small towns. Her sharp wit and incisive portraits of ordinary people have given her novels enduring popularity. She died in 1817.