• Emma,  Holiday Austen

    “A Holly Jolly Christmas”: Oppositional Binaries in McGrath and de Wilde’s Emma

    Both Douglas McGrath and Autumn de Wilde seize upon the holiday scenes in Emma (1815), the only Austen novel with a Christmas scene. Each film’s Christmas scene display the cultivation of relationships and community-building. However, in their respective representations of Emma and Mr. Elton (McGrath) and Emma and Mr. Knightley (de Wilde), the movies underscore binary and oppositional relationships. In these relationships a mirroring occurs, positioning Mr. Knightley and Mr. Elton against each other with Emma as an anchoring force—all against the backdrop of Christmas. In both films, Christmas becomes a kind of oppositional holiday, one that brings out the combativeness of others, not one that creates relationships among them.…

  • Holiday Austen

    “Do You See What I See?”: Christmas Scenes in Douglas McGrath’s and Autumn de Wilde’s Emma

    The integration of the holiday season and all things Jane Austen might appear the doing of popular retellings. But many of Jane Austen’s contemporaries were probably reading Emma on Christmas and the days following the holiday given the novel’s publication on December 23rd, 1815. Although the overlap of the holiday and the novel’s publication is accidental, Christmas is mentioned eleven times throughout the narrative and key plot turns occur during and immediately after the Christmas party at Randalls. In fact, while we often turn to the novel’s opening to recite the famous first line which lists everything that Emma is—“handsome, clever, and rich” —and has—”a comfortable home,” a “happy disposition,”…