Exhibition marks 200th anniversary of Austen's 'Emma'

The two hundredth anniversary of one of Jane Austen's most famous novels is being celebrated in Hampshire. The author, who was born in Steventon a few miles from Abingdon in Oxfordshire, wrote 'Emma' in the village of Chawton near Alton. A special exhibition is being held at Chawton House library.

Emma at 200: from English Village to Global Appeal, opens today and marks the novel's global appeal and its enduring popularity.

"Jane Austen's Emma is often considered to be the most 'accomplished' of her novels, and it's the one that is truly inspired by her setting of 'three or four families in a country village'."

– Dr Gillian Dow, Executive Director of Chawton House Library and University of Southampton Associate Professor in English

Items on show include an English first edition of the novel, a first edition from America and a first French translation - both published in 1816. The story has featured on television and film, as well as being adapted to a modern day setting as the inspiration for a Hollywood film.

The exhibition continues at Chawton House Library until Sunday 25th September.

More details here.

"Many people are surprised that England's Jane Austen was published in countries beyond England in her own lifetime - she had no idea, of course, that Emma was in Paris booksellers in 1816.

"Certainly her popularity accelerated in the 20th and 21st century making Jane Austen the global phenomenon she is today. I am delighted to be organising and hosting this exhibition to help reflect this novel's impact worldwide."

– Dr Gillian Dow, Curator of exhibition