Emma could not feel a doubt of having given Harriet's fancy a proper direction and raised the gratitude of her young vanity to a very good purpose, for she found her decidedly more sensible than before of Mr. Elton's being a remarkably handsome man, with most agreeable manners;

Qouted from Emma by Jane Austen

Does the bold sentence hold the same meaning if i paraphrase it to "she raised her young vanity gratitude for a very good purpose"?

  • 1
    I'm a native English speaker and I barely understand what Austen is saying here! Austen was writing in a style that was typical of the British upper class 200 years ago; this writing is very florid by modern standards and some words have probably changed meaning a bit.
    – stangdon
    Jan 5 at 15:58
  • It's really not suitable text for learning English. I'd guess that "her young vanity" here refers to Harriet (as Emma's current "vanity project" in her ongoing matchmaking activities). And the text is saying that Emma is satisfied things are going well on that front, because she's managed to persuade Harriet to have a much better opinion of Mr Elton than she did before (I assume Emma is trying to marry Harriet off to Mr Elton). Jan 5 at 16:47
  • 1
    I've just trawled through the full Oxford English Dictionary, and can't see any specific definition directly corresponding to Austen's usage here. My guess is "vanity" here is effectively being used as a synonym of "conceit" under OED's definition 10a - A fanciful or ingenious action or practice. EITHER as a noun reference to Emma's matchmaking activities in general, OR referring to Harriet as one specific instance of her matchmaking "projects" (all of which are "idle vain pursuits" from some perspectives). Jan 5 at 17:00

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