Posted by Sarah » Add Comment »
This evening I decided to start going through my books here at home to catalogue on LibraryThing, and I came across quite a few fun things on my shelves I had forgotten about. One of these was Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. I saw it performed several years ago and liked it, so I bought it. Well, upon finding it, I read the brief play tonight, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I remember that when I first saw the play that there were several references, literary, Latin, and the like, that I picked up on but didn’t understand– it was pleasant this time around, years later, to get some of these witticisms.
One theme of the play I can particularly appreciate as I toil in the academic world is the picture of the scholars who pick through the historical record– notes in books, pictures, scraps, etc.– to try to piece together scenes from the past. That they get it so wrong because they find only what they’re looking for is practically a universal truth.
The way Stoppard alternates (and doesn’t) between past and present is quite astonishing, as well. The fact that I enjoyed it again and yet still didn’t get the full mathematical/philosophical complexities means I’ll just have to pick it up again in a few years.