Merry Wanderer of the Night + victorian literature

Emma Volume One

For those of you that missed it I found out about Emma: Volume 1

last week, the post is here. It is a manga, or graphic novel, by Kaoru Mori.

The story takes place in London during the 19th Century. Emma is a maid for an old widow who used to work as a governess. The widow appears somewhat classless in the story, which allows her to encourage Emma's interest in her old student, William Jones. William Jones is a member of the gentry whose father is set on him marrying a higher class woman, but William wants to marry for love and he loves Emma. It's a little cheesy, love at first sight, but the rest of the story is so great that I didn't think much about it.

Willliam Jones is very extreme in how much he cares for Emma, which I feel is more characteristic of a manga than of a Victorian romance novel. He will do anything to please her and buys her glasses because she cannot see out of hers. When he is walking in London he is always looking out for Emma, and since it is a manga he always sees her.

What I love most about this graphic novel is not the romance story though, it is the attention to traits of the Victorian society. In chapter three William Jones has a friend visit. His name is Hakim and he is Indian royalty. His entrance is a little eccentric, he arrives with a herd of elephants and belly dancers, later taking William on an elephant ride. While I felt that was a little extreme I did like how much it showed the interest of British people in the East. I think Mori made Hakim's entrance so extreme to show how the Victorian people had exotic ideas of the East.

In another scene Hakim and William are at the library and they find a book with photographs of scantily clad women. Hakim is not impressed and William makes a comment about the people in India not wearing clothes. Things like this made it interesting for me, it is very different from a Victorian novel but deals with a lot of the same issues. If I had to compare it to a none graphic novel, it kind of reminded me of Leonard Woolf.

To William's surprise, Hakim is also falling in love with Emma. Actually, everyone is falling in love with Emma (because it's manga). William goes to get a note to send to her and the girl at the counter says that several people have come to send a note to the exact same girl. Since it is a series there was no resolution left at the end, so if I want to find out more about the Hakim, William, Emma love triangle I suppose I will have to snag the second volume! Overall a good read if you're interested in Victorian history but are looking for something different. There is also a television show called Emma - A Victorian Romance Season 1

based on the manga.

192 pages
CMX (September 20, 2006)

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Emma Volume One + victorian literature