Emma Across Media

Jane Austen (1775-1817) is perhaps best known for Pride and Prejudice (and therefore the sexiness of Colin Firth and Keira Knightley in different adaptations). Nevertheless, Emma, the final novel published in Austen’s lifetime, has yielded equally interesting and iconic reader experiences since its publication in December 1815. Unbeknownst to many viewers, Emma is the source text for the beloved 1995 romcom Clueless, as well as for the 2020 film Emma., plus many TV and film adaptations in between. Emma has been translated into many different languages and has inspired scholarship, fan-written sequels and spinoffs, comics, artwork, and even several clever memes. Readers to this day are intrigued by Emma as a feminist or queer text, as a work of humor or mystery, and even as a vantage point on Austen’s own experience. At the start of the novel, Emma Woodhouse is determined not to marry, as Austen herself chose not to do. The character of Jane Fairfax is highly accomplished in her musical art and nevertheless stifled by capitalistic circumstances, which mirrors Austen’s literary experiences as well.

–Lena Brazfield ’23

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Other Mediums

This exhibition would not have been possible without the dedicated support of faculty and staff colleagues. In the Department of Visual, Literary, and Material Culture, we especially thank Prof. April Oettinger, Prof. Tina Sheller, and Operations Assistant Michelle Carroll. In Special Collections & Archives, we thank Kristen Welzenbach, Melissa Straw, and Debbie Harner. Additional thanks to Bill Harder, Director of the Center for Advancement of Scholarship & Teaching.

We also want to shout out our amazing professor Juliette Wells. If you are interested in learning more about Jane Austen and her works, look for Juliette Wells’s future Literary Studies classes or contact her at <juliette.wells@goucher.edu>. 

We express our profound gratitude to Alberta Burke, Goucher class of 1928, whose 1975 bequest of her unparalleled Jane Austen collection makes Goucher the home for Jane Austen in America. We are also thankful to all of the generous Goucher alumnae and alumni whose donations support innovative teaching and learning, especially donors to the Visual and Material Culture (formerly Art History) and Literary Studies (formerly English) programs, as well as the Nancy Larrick Crosby ’30 Fund for Excellence in Teaching, which directly supported the development of this course.

And last but not least, we want to say thank you to the student designers of this exhibition who brought their creative vision for the show to life – Lena Brazfield, Lilia Gestson, Molly King, Nicole Mead, Ian Meyer-O’Connor, Kaylee Ray-Williams, and Clare Topping. 

-Lilia Gestson, ’24

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