I first discovered Emma by Jane Austen when I was nineteen. I had a sharp and ready wit, and I could turn a clever phrase. Just like Emma. I thought I was observant and discerning. Just like Emma. I wasn't. Just like Emma. Back then, I thought the humor in this book came from what Emma said. Now that I am many years away from nineteen, I realize that much of the humor comes from Emma's misunderstandings.
I am a huge Jane Austen fan -- not so much that I dress up in costume or anything (except for one Hallowe'en, but then I was a dead Jane Austen, so that's OK) -- I will read anything she writes. In fact, I will study anything she writes, and read anything about her. She, unlike Emma, is very observant. She is brilliant at delineating characters and breathing life into them. I recently re-read Pride and Prejudice. I thought I was in love with Mr. Darcy. Now I remember that it has been Mr. Knightley all along.