“Handsome, clever and rich”, Emma Woodhouse, at not quite 21, is the youngest of two daughters of Mr Woodhouse of Hartfield, a large house on the outskirts of Highbury in the County of Surrey, and therefore the scion of the most distinguished family in this imaginary “large and populous village almost amounting to a town” sixteen miles from London. Her father is a classic neurasthenic, “hating change of any kind”, reluctant to leave his house for fear of catching cold, terrified that he or anyone he knows might be injured. Emma's mother died fifteen years ago and she has been brought up by her governess, Miss Taylor, who has just left Hartfield to marry Mr Weston, a neighbouring gentleman who made his money in trade and …
Clark, Robert. "Emma". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2000; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5384, accessed 28 April 2015.]