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Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the first sentence, she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma is spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.
Emma, written after Austen's move to Chawton, was the last novel to be completed and published during her life, as Persuasion, the last novel Austen wrote, was published posthumously.
This novel has been adapted for several films, many television programmes, and a long list of stage plays. It is also the inspiration for several novels.