By Tom Stoppard,

Book cover of Arcadia

Book description

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:…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Arcadia as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This play is a total delight. Read it, of course, and then if it ever comes to a theatre anywhere near you, go see it!

It’s set in 1809 and the present-ish day, and features exuberant mathematical prodigy Thomasina Coverly, who definitely isn’t meant to be Ada Lovelace, says Tom Stoppard (but maybe she is a bit).

The dialogue is like the most invigorating dinner party conversation you ever had: it’s funny, it’s clever, it references fractals, Fermat’s Last Theorem, the silly competitiveness of academia, Lord Byron, landscape gardening, and a million other things. I love it. 

From Sarah's list on mathematician characters.

Starting with a classic – this very funny play takes place in one room of an aristocratic British country estate, alternating between 1809 and 1993. In the 20th century, a couple of academics are trying to piece together (usually getting it pretty wrong) the dramatic events that we see unfolding in the 19th. 

As well as many entertaining mix-ups and romantic entanglements, the story involves a despondent maths graduate from the present time grappling with the same problem as Thomasina, a young prodigy from the earlier period. When Thomasina learns about Newton’s laws of thermodynamics, she considers the idea that,…

From Leila's list on mathematical mysteries.

I don't usually recommend reading plays without first seeing them on stage - remind that teacher trying to make you read Shakespeare that plays are meant to be performed - but Arcadia is such a strong script that I'm going to make an exception. It's one of Stoppard's greatest achievements (the other being Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) and it's so fiercely clever in the way it toys with its two storylines. One is set in 1809 and the other in 1993 and, naturally, the actions in the past end up influencing the ones in the future. The dialogue…

From Joel's list on with multiple timelines.

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