Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

John Fleming

DOI: 10.5040/9781623569082

ISBN: 9780826496218

Tom Stoppard is widely regarded as one of the leading contemporary British playwrights, a writer who has earned an intriguing mix of both critical and commercial success. Arcadia is considered by many critics to be Stoppard's masterpiece, a work that weds his love for words and ideas in his early career, with his emphasis on storytelling and emotional engagement in his later career.

With its engaging alteration between past and present Arcadia offers a comedic and entertaining exploration of chaos theory, entropy, the Second Law of thermodynamics, iterated algorithms, fractals, and other concepts culled from the realms of math and science.

"An enlightening entryway into Stoppard's luminous play, Fleming's commentary on Arcadia is informed by his attention to theatrical issues as well as his deep understanding of the of the play's multilayered themes." - Professor Michael Vanden Heuvel, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

"Fleming's book offers the student and Stoppard enthusiast a fully researched and clearly written analysis of what many call Stoppard's best play. From the background and context section describing Stoppard's entire oeuvre to date, to the final section offering suggestions for teaching Arcadia, this book situates the play squarely within Stoppard's writing about science. Fleming's precise analyses of the play's characters and his informed discussion of its themes offer the student and instructor an intelligent framework for understanding Arcadia as a profound and comic play of ideas." - Katherine E. Kelly, Texas A&M University, USA 

Briefly reviewed in the Year's work in English Studies journal, vol 89, No. 1  'Drawing on previously unpublished material with Stoppard, Fleming's volume traces the history of the play's production and its cultural and historical context'