The Invention of Love

Tom Stoppard

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The Invention of Love

The Invention of Love It is and A E Housman is being ferried across the river Styx glad to be dead at last His memories are dramatically alive The river that flows through Tom Stoppard s The Invention of Love connect

  • Title: The Invention of Love
  • Author: Tom Stoppard
  • ISBN: 9780802135810
  • Page: 388
  • Format: Paperback
  • It is 1936 and A.E Housman is being ferried across the river Styx, glad to be dead at last His memories are dramatically alive The river that flows through Tom Stoppard s The Invention of Love connects Hades with the Oxford of Housman s youth High Victorian morality is under siege from the Aesthetic movement, and an Irish student called Wilde is preparing to burst ontoIt is 1936 and A.E Housman is being ferried across the river Styx, glad to be dead at last His memories are dramatically alive The river that flows through Tom Stoppard s The Invention of Love connects Hades with the Oxford of Housman s youth High Victorian morality is under siege from the Aesthetic movement, and an Irish student called Wilde is preparing to burst onto the London scene On his journey the scholar and poet who is now the elder Housman confronts his younger self, and the memories of the man he loved his entire life, Moses Jackson the handsome athlete who could not return his feelings As if a dream, The Invention of Love inhabits Housman s imagination, illuminating both the pain of hopeless love and passion displaced into poetry and the study of classical texts The author of A Shropshire Lad lived almost invisibly in the shadow of the flamboyant Oscar Wilde, and died old and venerated but whose passion was truly the fatal one

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      388 Tom Stoppard
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      Posted by:Tom Stoppard
      Published :2018-06-02T18:32:51+00:00

    One thought on “The Invention of Love

    1. Kelly on said:

      The second Stoppard play that I've read that obsesses on the nature of man's quest for knowledge, examines the motives of the industries (if you want to call them that) of people who are paid to do it, and tries to make the audience answer, really, what the benefit is of knowing obscure bits of knowledge that have little to no impact on how you balance your checkbook or design a house.I do think that Arcadia stated the issue more simply and beautifully and poignantly, from the brief elegance of, [...]

    2. Jim Coughenour on said:

      Unexpectedly moved (it was late) by a recent poem of the week, I've been reading the new Penguin edition of A. E. Housman, and (in turn) its introduction by Nick Laird prompted me to dig out The Invention of Love. I missed Stoppard's play when it premiered at ACT in 2000 – why? I don't remember, but I'm ashamed.As usual with Stoppard, the drama is a dazzling bricolage of biography and literary quotation. If I hadn't read Laird and Richard Ellmann's matchless biography of Wilde, I would have mi [...]

    3. Moira Russell on said:

      Even better than 'Arcadia,' and that's really saying something.***(from a 2004 blog post)Damn, that is a smashin' play. The circularity of it all got a little tiresome towards the end ("Mr. Stoppard doesn’t borrow other dramatists’ plots. He has no need. He has no plots" -- John Heilpern in the Observer), and was the most annoyingly-Stoppardian thing about it, but I loved the long monologues about literary scholarship and Latin love poetry, real prose structures, and most of AE's lines direc [...]

    4. Leigh on said:

      Basically, let us summarize my rhapsodizing thus: I want Tom Stoppard to write my life.HOUSMAN: Scholarship [is] where we're nearest to our humanness. Useless knowledge for its own sake. Useful knowledge is good, too, but it's for the faint-hearted, an elaboration of the real thing, which is only to shine some light, it doesn't matter where on what, it's the light itself, against the darkness, it's what's left of God's purpose when you take away God. It doesn't mean I don't care about the poetry [...]

    5. Julia on said:

      my senior year high school english teacher recommended this to me, because of The Classics (and indeed the moment a line of vergil about the styx was spoken aloud i knew i was Home), but little did she know that this play is in fact an assemblage of all i've ever loved: classics! aesthetics! homosexuality! pretentiousness! pretentious homosexuality in oxford! delicate meditations/vignettes on youth, death, and scholarship! oh god this play is my happy place. and i should maybe be ashamed that wh [...]

    6. Letitia on said:

      Though true to his usual loquacious brilliance, Stoppard is a bit indulgent in this work. I found myself rolling my eyes after fourteen obscure literary references and nineteen syllable words. All right Tom, we know you're brilliant. Quit showing off. Just write us a thought-provoking story.

    7. M on said:

      Here is where I say that if you saw me reviewing like a maniac on my Anne Carson kick recently (If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho and Autobiography of Red), you have probably noticed by now that I have a thing for my memories of high school Latin, and for classicism in general. You will if you are some creepy expert on me (or actually know me in real life) also know that I'm a total sucker for Arcadia: A Play, which is honestly more hilarious and well-crafted and heartbreaking than any other p [...]

    8. Sarah on said:

      This is my favorite Stoppard play (though The Real Thing and Jumpers come close), mainly because I used to be a Classics nerd and already appreciated Housman's contributions to that field and to poetry in general. This play has all the classic Stoppard ingredients: good banter, beautifully-stylized language, and emotional truth. I'm a sucker for a good, unconventional unrequited love story, and Stoppard communicates Housman's longing for his straight friend Moses beautifully.Housman himself (by [...]

    9. Kyle on said:

      A mature entry by Stoppard that casually shuttles back and forth in time, going all the way back to classical antiquity to bring Charon on stage to ferry a few of the departed into Hades. The scholar-turned-pining-patent-office-poet Housman has plenty to time to review his life, even meeting with a younger version of himself near Oxford's Hades. Much of the politics get churned up in the Stygian waters, glimpses of a different world at the end of the nineteenth century.

    10. Magda on said:

      Kissing girls is not like science, nor is it like sport. It is the third thing when you thought there were only two.

    11. Julia on said:

      I feel like this is honestly probably the best play I've ever read

    12. Martin Michalek on said:

      This play is typically Stoppardian, which isn't to say that all of Stoppard's plays contain these traits—meta-theatre, parallel universes, notions of entropy that would make any person with a semblance of what entropy actually is lose his or her shit, a not so surreptitious attempt at writing literary canon fan-fic, etc etc etc.—no, not every play contains these traits, but they're in his plays and this one brings them together enjoyably. It's not as good as [i]Arcadia[/i] but it's fine. Its [...]

    13. Shawn on said:

      I imagine that one of the reasons that this is not among the more often performed of Stoppard's plays is the fact that it contains so much Latin and Greek, and is peripherally about so many long-dead scholars known to few today. (Although, it also gives a few nods to Pater, Ruskin and Jerome K. Jerome, and a good deal more than a nod to Wilde.) And I don't think that it comes up to the very high standard of Arcadia, or even Travesties, although it has many of the same kinds of wonderful and deli [...]

    14. Syl on said:

      By far one of the most beautiful plays I've had the pleasure to read. Meticulously blending together all of my interests into a witty, amusing, yet also heartbreaking piece: Stoppard has captured my heart. I'm surprised I wasn't made aware of him sooner. The worlds of different times folded into one another, breathed, drifting in and out and away on Charon's boat. An old Housman seeing a young Jackson and feeling the tug of his heartstrings all over again "Mo!". Scenes of a schoolboy crush and s [...]

    15. Adam Lam on said:

      The numerous alliterations to Greek tragedy, Latin and ancient Greek expressions, and references to the Victorian era make it difficult to read, but the plot is so moving it's worthwhile. As the original New York production team gave viewers a 30-page booklet for background info, I recommend reading the play alongside a study guide (you can find one online from the American Conservatory Theater or the Guthrie Theater).

    16. Paul O'Leary on said:

      Absolutely delightful Stoppard play focusing on aesthetics, love, and scholarship at Oxford in the time of A.E. Housman. Magnificent to read. It must be spectacular to watch. I'm envious of anyone playing Wilde in this. Stoppard has written a gift to the dead aesthete and an absolute prize for any actor charged with the role.Housman was a middle-tier poet, mostly known for his book of verse called A Shropshire Lad. Apparently he was also a skilled scholar of the classics. A few readers have obje [...]

    17. Rachel on said:

      Funny, whimsical and moving - and literally about the invention of love, the word, the poetry, the meaning. Tom Stoppard is just so clever, and knows so much, yet presents it in such a light and careless way. "Oh yes, I know scads about AE Housman's life of literary criticism - don't you?" Not to mention it was about boylove, and Oxford, two subjects very dear to my heart.Housman I will take his secret to the grave, telling people I meet on the way. Betrayal is no sin if it's whimsical.DID I MEN [...]

    18. Eric Norris on said:

      I think this is my third or fourth time reading this play and it gets richer each time. I saw it in its original Broadway run twice. I think, after Arcadia, it is my favorite Stoppard play. It is a sort of temporally disjointed dream fantasy which takes place on the River Styx as A.E. Housman (scholar/poet) is being ferried to the Underworld. The elderly Housman confronts himself as a young man and the Victorian mileu in which he grew up, most importantly his unrequited love for Moses Jackson, t [...]

    19. Jee Koh on said:

      Poet or ScholarSingapore Jade had been insisting that I read this Stoppard play for quite some time, and finally made it impossible for me to put her off by giving me a copy the other day. Plays don't come alive to me until I see them performed, and The Invention of Love struck me, on first reading, as more brainy than acute, more showy than moving. But Stoppard's Housman and Wilde came back to me again and again in the last few days, while I was waiting for the bus, or listening to a friend's c [...]

    20. Dani Peloquin on said:

      I had read this play a couple of years ago but was unable to finish it because of time constraints. However, I soon realized that I may have cast the book aside not because of time constraints but because the play was just not good! In fact, it has taken me almost a week to even write this review because I have been conflicted on how to describe it and how to phrase my reactions to the story.The Invention of Love tells the life story of the poet A.E Housman as seen from his eyes after he has die [...]

    21. Marina on said:

      I don’t feel even remotely wise or eloquent enough to review this play. Just for you to get an idea, I’ll admit to not knowing who A.E. Housman was when I started reading this. Pretty dumb, eh, considering HE IS IN THE COVER?!The plot: A.E. Housman dies an old man, and in his way to the Underworld (ferried through the Styx/Thames), he sees scenes of his life in Oxford pass before him… Literally. His friends (including the love of his life), his teachers (John Ruskin!), the famous & dis [...]

    22. Tom Marcinko on said:

      I’ve really been getting into Stoppard lately, but—all right, most of this play went over my head. I got most of the references in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Travesties, but this one is about Victorian literary men who I’m mostly only glancingly familiar with: A. E. Houseman, Walter Pater, John Ruskin, Benjamin Jowett, Jerome K. Jerome, and, oh, look, Oscar Wilde makes a late appearance. Too erudite for this Yank. But it’s Stoppard, so it has some great lines.Charon: Every [...]

    23. Mark Johnson on said:

      Just when you think Tom Stoppard can't get any more dense, along comes this play, which is almost impossibly intellectual. I got ahold of it after awhile, then lost it, then got it back, and was highly impressed with what I understood. I imagine I'll read this play a few more times in my life, my appreciation growing every time I re-read.

    24. Konrad on said:

      Erudite & emotional, my first Stoppard. Of the life of A. E. Housman (1859-1936) & we are present at his end as he considers his past life & deliberates: of his squandered/ not-squandered (long unknown & never reciprocated) forever love for college chum Moses Jackson; of his life's work editing, translating, studying, academia-ing of the Ancients, i.e. his commitment to the humanities, to scholarship for scholarship's sake.The easy logic would establish Housman's dusty devotion t [...]

    25. John on said:

      I love some of Stoppard's work, but not all of it. This is an instance in which his erudition descends into tedious self-indulgence. I think it's safe to say that any play which incorporates copious quotations in both Latin and Greek, as well as obscure references to the academia of Victorian England, is performing a disservice to its audience. (In support of this assertion, it should be noted that a 30-page reference booklet was provided to audiences for the initial New York production.) Natura [...]

    26. Alexander Miles on said:

      I don't usually read plays. Not that I have anything against them, they just rarely get into my list with all the other to-read material out there. This is the first I've read of Stoppard, and outside of the 1990 film adaptation of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (which was quite good), first exposure to his plays at all. I don't have much background in greek and latin, or encyclopedic knowledge of victorian writers, legislators, journalists, and other personalities, so a good deal of th [...]

    27. John on said:

      I honestly would never have imagined that Tom Stoppard could top what I have long considered to be his masterpiece, The Real Thing, but The Invention of Love quite possibly does just that. A densely allusive belly laugh of the brain from beginning to end, intensely tragic and gloriously uplifting at once, ultimately a journey (with Charon no less) to gaze into Nietzsche’s abyss with the dead AEH — and the abyss gazes back with at least a little bit of a smile. No matter how pointless life ma [...]

    28. *heartrl* on said:

      UPDATE: In retrospect I am giving this play 4 stars- It is esoteric and a nod to the knowing- but it left me thinking quite a bit, looking a lot of things up and learning- what more can you ask for from a piece of art. I still think it's slightly pretentious, but that is transcended by it's beauty.Great, and beautiful play- esoteric and slightly indulgent, but beautiful and sad. I think a lot of it was lost on me and I would really need to see a good production of it. I did really enjoy parts of [...]

    29. stephanie on said:

      i heard this was coming to broadway (years ago now) and thought to myself, i really don't know how they are going to pull that off - because, well, there isn't really a lot of action in the play. through a twist of fate my sister and i got tickets to the opening night of previews for dirt cheap and met robert sean leonard after. i confessed to him my initial skepticism and he agreed he felt the same way - but this was stoppard, after all. i think i benefited from reading it a few times before i [...]

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