Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The novel was first published in December 1815. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters.
Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma, however, is also rather spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives, and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.
Emma has been the subject of many adaptations for film, TV, radio and the stage.
Film adaptions: 1995: Clueless, a loose American modern adaptation of the novel, set in Beverly Hills and starring Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz (Emma). 1996: Emma, an American comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma. 2010: Aisha, an Indian modern adaptation of the novel, starring Sonam Kapoor as Aisha (Emma).
TV adaptions: 1948: Emma, live BBC TV broadcast, starring Judy Campbell (who also wrote the screenplay) as Emma, and directed and produced by Michael Barry. 1954: Emma, live NBC TV broadcast, starring Felicia Montealegre as Emma. 1957: Emma, another live NBC TV broadcast in their Matinee Theater series, starring Sarah Churchill as Emma. 1960: Emma, live BBC TV serial in six parts, starring Diana Fairfax as Emma and directed by Campbell Logan. 1960: Emma, live CBS TV broadcast in their Camera Three series, starring Nancy Wickwire as Emma. 1972: Emma, a six-part BBC miniseries, starring Doran Godwin as Emma. 1996: Emma, an ITV TV film, starring Kate Beckinsale as Emma. 2009: Emma, a four-part BBC miniseries, starring Romola Garai as Emma.
Recent stage adaptions: 1991: Emma, a stage adaption by British playwright Michael Fry, first produced by the Cloucester Stage Company in 1991, and since then produced by a number of theatre companies in Britain and the US. 2000: Emma, a musical written by Stephen Karam and first showed by the Brownbrokers student theatre group at Brown University under the direction of Darius Pierce. In 2004 Karam's musical was played at the New York Musical Theatre Festival under the direction of Patricia Birch. 2007: Jane Austen's Emma – A Musical Romantic Comedy, a musical written by Paul Gordon, which premiered at TheatreWorks in Menlo Park, California. This musical has since been performed at the Cincinnati Playhouse, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. 2007: Emma, a musical written by Joel Adlen, and directed by Terry Berliner at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. 2009: Emma, a stage adaption by Peter Mimmack for touring British theatre company Heartbreak Productions. 2009: Emma, a stage adaption by Rachel Atkins for the Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle, directed by Marcus Goodwin with Sylvie Davidson in the title role. 2010: Emma, a stage adaption by Michael Bloom, which played at the Cleveland Play House, Ohio, in the spring of 2010. 2012: Emma, a stage adaption by Dr. Vicki Ooi of the Absolutely Fabulous Theatre Connection in Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.