Emma

An Audible Original Drama
4.5 out of 5 stars (6,392 ratings)

Regular price: $9.95

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About This Audible Original

A lush recording, featuring a full cast of A-list talent, updates Jane Austen’s masterwork. Emma Thompson, who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Sense and Sensibility, brings her empathetic intelligence and droll wit to her narration of Emma. Thompson’s gifts shine alongside actors including Joanne Froggatt, Aisling Loftus, and Isabella Inchbald, who deftly voices Emma Woodhouse with all her delights and complications. A comedy of manners, which deliciously satirized pomp and pretension, Emma endures as a crowd-pleasing classic. (Oh and did we mention... this 1816 novel inspired the quintessential 1990s rom-com, Clueless?)

“Handsome, clever, and rich” (in Austen’s description), Emma Woodhouse prides herself on being a gifted matchmaker—even if she doesn’t always choose wisely for her friends and almost misses her own Mr. Right. The accomplished cast and sumptuous sound design bring the novel’s iconic characters (noble Mr. Knightley, sly Frank Churchill, gentle Miss Bates, and, of course, the delightful, exasperating Emma) and 19th-century British society to vivid life.

© 2018 Audible, Ltd

Go Behind The Scenes of Emma

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Few books make the reader as happy as Emma, because few depict so well the joy of being understood…The institution of marriage, like the novel itself, has changed greatly since Austen’s time; but as long as human beings long for this kind of mutual recognition and understanding, Emma will live.

- The New York Times
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Our favorite moments from Emma

Emma Thompson introduces Emma Woodhouse.
Parting words from Mrs. Weston.
Emma and Harriet compare gentlemen.
A father-daughter chat.

  • Emma
  • Emma Thompson introduces Emma Woodhouse.
  • Emma
  • Parting words from Mrs. Weston.
  • Emma
  • Emma and Harriet compare gentlemen.
  • Emma
  • A father-daughter chat.

About the Cast

Dame Emma Thompson is a British actress and screenwriter known for her sophisticated, skillful performances and her arch wit. Born in London into a family of actors, she launched her acting career with Cambridge University’s Footlights Dramatic Club, where members of Monty Python first met. Moving from comedy, she found her niche in period drama. In 1993, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the Merchant-Ivory film Howards End. She went on to gain acclaim for her roles in The Remains of the Day (1993) and Sense and Sensibility (1995), for which she also wrote the screenplay, winning her a second Academy Award. Thompson’s other notable screen credits include Wit (2001, HBO), Love Actually (2003), her portrayal of P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks (2013), and her role as a conflicted High Court judge in The Children Act (2017).

Joanne Froggatt is best-known for playing Anna Bates in all six seasons of Downton Abbey, receiving three Primetime Emmy Award nominations and winning a coveted Golden Globe in the process. Her other powerhouse performances include the suspense series Liar, Dark Angel, and the film In Our Name (2010). An Audible sensation, Froggatt won the UK Narrator of the Year Award for 2017’s Thriller of the Year, Silent Child, before lending her voice to Austen’s classic comedy of errors.

Isabella Inchbald shines as the titular heroine of Emma. As a winner of the 2017 BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award, Inchbald was awarded a coveted spot with the BBC Radio Drama Company. Classically trained and undeniably talented, she is a stand-out rising star in this exceptional cast.

Morgana Robinson is an English actress and comedian, best known for her sketch comedy and impressions on The Morgana Show and Morgana Robinson’s The Agency. After winning Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist at the 2012 British Comedy Awards for her work on Very Important People, she portrayed Julie on House of Fools and Pippa on The Windsors.

Jane Austen

About the Author

Jane Austen is trending—permanently—and continues to attract top actors to Audible Studios, all eager to perform Austen’s witty and engaging dialogue. In an era when women didn’t put their own names on their work, Jane Austen quietly wrote six perfect novels that are present-day hot commodities; her celebrity, amazingly, is still growing. Austen’s work, which is sharply satiric, yet full of pathos, continues to delight contemporary listeners.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well, that was wonderful

What a delightful way to enjoy a Jane Austen story! This dramatized version alternates between dialogue and Emma Thompson's narration over music. I thought the narrators were all excellent, and the sound effects and music really pulled me into the world of Emma. If you are an Austen fan, be aware that this is not a word for word reading. Rather, it is a new way to enjoy a familiar story.

I've read Emma many times over the years, and it was always my favorite besides Pride & Prejudice. I must say though, this adaptation really made me see the story in a new way. It's funny how reading it in your own head, you interpret it differently. I never realized the character of Emma to be so unlikable. Of course she is a little immature and grows into herself, but in this rendition she comes off quite conceited and, perhaps, even a little mean. It makes me want to reread the book and see how much I've missed!

Personally, I love this style of audiobook where each character is voiced by someone. I listened to this in less than 24 hours and wished it would never be over. I hope audible makes a dramatized version of all the Jane Austen novels.

109 of 133 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • mary
  • Las Vegas, NV, United States
  • 09-09-18

ticking sound in background annoying

one of my favorite stories from one of my favorite performers. Would have been perfect but for a ticking sound in the background, not loud enough to ruin everything just enough to be annoying.

34 of 41 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mai
  • United States
  • 09-09-18

Needs work.

I loved the story and the voice acting was great but the volume changes and music got annoying real fast. They need to go over this and fix it before I will read it again. There is no need for 30 seconds of music between each part. Please fix the volume problem!

115 of 141 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More of a Radio Drama than an audiobook

This is an excellently produced production on the part of Audible. The performers do a great job with their roles. I think it needs to be pointed out though that this is more like a radio/podcast drama than a book reading. If you consider it in that frame of mind it might make the sound effects easier to tolerate. They also add atmosphere and make it more convincing that they are actually in the homes or environment of the story. My only complaint is that music between chapters is a bit much.

37 of 45 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Background sonds RUINED this

I couldn't find a more polite place to complain. I bet the readers/actors are frustrated, too. There is silverware noise to show they're at dinner, but it sounds more like the dishwashing station at a restaurant. There is a clock ticking (maybe) to show people sitting around, but it was too loud, and ruined the rhythm of the delivery.

I've had to stop listening, and it's a shame.

I hope you will consider releating it without any background sound, or leave a tiny MUCH SOFTER bit, and don't make it continuous throughout a scene. It's painful.

All their reading work is buried in horrible added-on noise.

96 of 118 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

background noise

the background noise is distracting and much too loud. the noise takes much away from the story and from the wonderful actors. I'm glad I didn't pay for this book!

56 of 71 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • C
  • 09-12-18

So Disappointed

Of course I was really looking forward of what seemed to be a great new production of a much loved classic, but they have layered background sounds over the speech and it is too loud and too distracting and I couldn't keep listening. I hope they will re-engineer this production WITHOUT the background sound track, and just let it be the spoken words. The background sound track was probably meant to provide more dimension, but it failed to accomplish that for me, and was just "noise" and really annoying. Very disappointing.

31 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Emma Thompson would make the tax code interesting

The cast was perfect. Narration was the best choice by far. To me Emma Thompson is the voice of Jane Austen. I thoroughly enjoyed this and cannot wait to listen to other titles.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Emma

This is the first time I have listened to an adaption of a book with reading and acting. I enjoyed this type I am sure due to the wonderful performances from all. I recognized Joanne Froggatt as mrs Weston. I am a big fan of hers watching downton Abby. The music and the time period was perfect. Thank you for creating this delight

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Disappointing Dramatization 🎭

This was actually one of the most unpleasant surprises I’ve had in listening to an Audible production. While unlike some other reviewers I was not overly distracted by the sound effects (which seemed typical of a radio play), I couldn’t help but notice almost instantly that this is a substandard adaptation of a beloved classic due to its subpar script, narration, acting and direction. Fellow reviewer Nerico922 hits the nail on the head when she observes that, shocking as this is to admit, and contrary to all expectations, even the normally brilliant Emma Thompson (whom one would expect to have a thorough understanding of Austen’s tone) turns in an abysmal performance as narrator. She over-emotes and overexaggerates most of her lines, while simultaneously sapping most of the humor and liveliness from the text. The script and the direction may be partially (but cannot be entirely) to blame. Almost ALL other actors are also disastrously miscast; Mr. Elton speaks so slowly, pompously and stupidly that it’s not credible that anyone would ever have sought him out as an eligible bachelor. His performance (which is almost indistinguishable from that of Mr. Woodhouse or that of Mr. John Knightley) strips all humor from the text. The carriage surprise proposal scene, which ought to be hilarious, is just painful to listen to. Mrs. Elton likewise speaks too slowly and seriously and is completely unfunny. Emma is just okay. Jane Fairfax sounds too young, and almost indistinguishable from several other female characters (e.g., Mrs. Weston, who also sounds too young). Mr. Knightley lacks all maturity and emotion. Harriet Churchill, unbelievably, speaks too intelligently and rationally. Frank Churchill comes closest to being appropriately cast.

Still, it’s Austen, and I know and love the story well, so I finished the whole thing. Though it wasn’t so dreadful that I would return it, I’m not sure I’ll listen again. I recommend purchasing the undramatized version narrated by Juliet Stevenson instead of this one.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Milly_87
  • 09-06-18

Emma brought to life

What a wonderful listen this has been! Would definitely recommend it for any Jane Austen fan!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rhi07
  • 09-19-18

Brought to life by Emma Thompson

This is a really refreshing performance of Emma, entirely because of Emma Thompson's superb narration which keeps the story light, emotive and relatable. The casting is good, and it is performed well by all. An excellent adaption Audible - an enjoyable listen and true to the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • liza wrigley
  • 09-18-18

A classic told in the stunningly beautiful

way, you will fall in love with Jane Austen all over again. can't wait to listen to more . Thank you .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-17-18

Fantastic adaptation!

This adaptation keeps the heart of the original story while retelling it in a fresh way. The performances from all the voice actors were very good and I truly enjoyed the time spent listening to this version of Emma, would highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • R. Howlett
  • 09-23-18

If you need an abridged version then this is quite fun

The actors are great and the abridged story well planned but thus is very abridged and will not stand for true Austen fans or those studying the text.
I could have done without the soppy tinkly music as well.
Otherwise not “ badly done Emma”!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rosemary Petheram
  • 10-03-18

Brilliant

I so enjoyed this adaptation of Emma it was everything I hoped it would be and more. I know that I will listen to it again and again. Emma Thompson's narration was clear and in keeping with the book and the performances in between was captivating, brilliant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mimo
  • 09-29-18

Fantastic

Emma Thompson is outstanding! An excellent dramatisation well worth a listen. Fantastic I highly recommend!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-29-18

Irritating sound effects

This well known Jane Austin novel was portrayed and performed quite faithfully to the original book And would have been most enjoyable and amusing BUT for the sound effects ! Especially in indoor scenes, they were very irritating and unnecessary -what is the clicking sound supposed to be ? A fire burning ? I don’t think so ! The music between chapters was apt but between Emma Thompson’s SENTENCES as sudden crescendos and diminuendos really rediculous in my opinion. Out-door bird tweeting was ok but other sounds of bustling and hissing sound effects very disturbing throughout - I have perfect hearing -Jackie Robinson

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-18

Highly enjoyable

A wonderful production, could not have enjoyed it more. And what an exquisite performance, such a pleasure to listen to!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lily
  • 09-07-18

Thoroughly enjoyable

This is a lovely drama that really brings the book to life. I enjoy Jane Austen’s books, but sometimes find them heavy going in places. With this drama, though, I’m totally immersed in the story. Each character is brilliantly performed by a very talented cast and Emma Thompson is just wonderful as the narrator.

If you’re a fan of Austen I also recommend Northanger Abbey, another drama which was a joy to listen to.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer Couttas
  • 10-04-18

Delightful

I have not read Jane Austen’s Emma for many years. This wonderful production was a delightful way to revisit the novel. The voice actors were pitch perfect as was the narration by the glorious Dame Thompson.