In a large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809 sits Lady Thomasina Coverly, aged thirteen, and her tutor, Septimus Hodge. Through the window may be seen some of the '500 acres inclusive of lake' where Capability Brown's idealized landscape is about to give way to the 'picturesque' Gothic style: 'everything but vampires', as the garden historian Hannah Jarvis remarks to Bernard Nightingale when they stand in the same room 180 years later.
Bernard has arrived to uncover the scandal which is said to have taken place when Lord Byron stayed at Sidley Park.
Tom Stoppard's absorbing play takes us back and forth between the centuries and explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and the Romantic temperament, and the disruptive influence of sex on our orbits in life - 'the attraction', as Hannah says, 'which Newton left out'.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 144 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 10/05/1993
- Category: Plays, playscripts
- ISBN: 9780571169344
Showing 1 - 5 of 14 reviews.
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Review by stephenmurphy
Glorious. When I was reading this i could not weait to get home, get the kettle on, and dive into Stoppards twisting labyrinth of time, taste and love. If you don't get it, read it again. You'll cry.
Review by Sandrome
Atmosphere is created by the meaning implicit within the words themselves (for no-one actually talks like that). That changes the level of perception - I suppose it becomes intellectual, mainly. And at the crux the physical mixes in with the rest, and results in one of the most vivid pictures that stay in the mind forever.
Review by kettle666
Tom Stoppard's greatest play? Almost certainly, but that's just my opinion. It's crammed with powerful thoughts, and the author makes you feel you are damn near as smart as he is. Deeply moving, ultimately, it shuffles between two different historical times but never moves from the one location.
Review by extrajoker
first line: "Septimus, what is carnal embrace?"(which line can only be improved upon by the) second line: "Carnal embrace is the practice of throwing one's arms around a side of beef."An amazing play, which follows two timelines (concurrently, in parts) on one stage, <i>Arcadia</i> manages to be engaging and witty while tackling weighty concepts of thermodynamics, competitive literary scholarship, gender roles and sexuality, Fermat's Last Theorem, and even the gothic trends in British gardening. Somehow, Stoppard makes it all work.
Review by pzmiller
One of Stoppard's best. Two parallel stories are told in a complicated weaving of such topics as mathematics, hermits, love, Lord Byron, and gardens.
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