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The central characters and plot lines of Emma are essentially those of Pride and Prejudice, retold from Darcy’s point of view with the genders of the characters reversed (men become women, women men). This whimsical antecedent accounts for why Emma may strike contemporary readers as uncommonly modern for an Austen heroine: She takes a lot of male privilege to herself, something that would have made her anomalous in her own day. The works of four writers and the reasons they likely influenced this gendered topsy-turvy are examined: Richardson, Fielding, Shakespeare, and the Reverend Fordyce.

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This page is a summary of: Darcy and Emma: Austen's Ironic Meditation on Gender, November 2021, Center for Open Science, DOI: 10.31235/osf.io/c9wkx.
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