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The Invention of Love Paperback


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The Invention of Love + Tom Stoppard: Plays 5 : Arcadia, The Real Thing, Night & Day, Indian Ink, Hapgood + Travesties
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st Grove Press edition (August 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780802135810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135810
  • ASIN: 0802135811
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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 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?

"Vintage Stoppard in its intelligence and wit."-Matt Wolf, Variety

"Tom Stoppard at his best; manipulative, inquisitive, irresistible . . . a master at work."-Sunday Times (London)

"So beautifully constructed that the playwright seems to be discovering his play only one jump ahead of the audience. It has that sense of surprise and wonder."-Vincent Canby, The New York Times

"A magical memory play which meanders like an elaborate dream . . . Stoppard has been inspired to write the most emotionally powerful and enthralling play of his career. Never before has he written with such exciting eloquence."-Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard

"Some of the finest, most passionate, and most disarmingly brilliant dramatic writing that he has given us."-Alastair Macaulay, The Financial Times

Tom Stoppard is the author of such seminal works as Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Arcadia, The Real Thing, Travesties, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, and The Real Inspector Hound.

About the Author

Tom Stoppard's work includes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound, Jumpers, Travesties, Night and Day, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, After Magritte, Dirty Linen, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention of Love, the trilogy The Coast of Utopia and Rock 'n' Roll. His radio plays include If You're Glad I'll Be Frank, Albert's Bridge, Where Are They Now?, Artist Descending a Staircase, The Dog It Was That Died, In the Native State and Darkside (incorporating Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon). Television work includes Professional Foul, Squaring the Circle and Parade's End. His film credits include Empire of the Sun, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which he also directed, Shakespeare in Love, Enigma and Anna Karenina. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Tom Stoppard is the author of such seminal works as Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Travesties, Every Good Boy Deserves a Favor, Arcadia, Jumpers, The Real Thing, and The Invention of Love.

Customer Reviews

Stoppard's genius shines through in this touching play.
"anodos"
I look forward to seeing it live, but until then it is excellent Stoppard dealing with a subject Housman fans will find both familiar and fictionalized.
T. Rex
There is a lot of Latin in the play, and understanding it helps - that is one reason I appreciated having the text to reread and pour over.
"mwv"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Janos Gereben on July 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
Time is relative in Tom Stoppard's "The Invention of Love." One the one hand, it's a dazzling three-hour journey of many characters and ideas through the years (1859-1936) of A. E. Housman's life; on the other, it's a split second between the moment of the poet's realization of his death on the banks of the river Styx -- "I'm dead, then. Good." -- and his true, cathartic acceptance of it: "How lucky to find myself standing on this empty shore, with the indifferent waters at my feet.
Both a large-scale symphony and delicate chamber music, "Invention" requires thorough understanding of Greek and Latin poetry, the intricacies of the 19th Century academic, social and literary scene, even of the Labouchere amendment to the Criminal Law Act that landed Oscar Wilde in jail - and it allows being dazzled and moved without knowing anything about all that. The play works both on the level of seeing "characters in a play" or appr! eciating (as I couldn't possibly without another lifetime of learning) the full significance of the presence of Walter Pater, John Ruskin, Frank Harris, Jerome K. Jerome... of three generations of famed scholars at Oxford and Cambridge.
Here is the "late Stoppard," the Stoppard of "Arcadia" in his full glory of intellectual brilliance and rich emotional simplicity. Here is a play requiring, demanding, allowing re-reading and re-viewing, a work that keeps growing within the reader, the viewer, culminating in hoped-for (and, in my case, yet unattained) appreciation and understanding, even as old man Housman experiences in breathtaking scenes of conversations by the Styx with his younger self.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Invention of Love, in my opinion, Tom Stoppard's best play, opens with A.E. Housman being ferried across the River Styx by Charon, relieved to be dead at last. Or is he? Perhaps he is only dreaming from his bed in a rest home. One of the things that makes The Invention of Love so outstanding is Stoppard's wonderful mix of fantasy and reality. He combines the two so well, in fact, that we're never quite sure which is which. There are luminous scenes of young men rowing down the Thames to Hades, a marvelous Thameside encounter between the youthful Housman and his older self and an almost transcendent conclusion showing Housman stepping off-shore onto a watery-looking stage.
The Invention of Love successfully combines elements from Stoppard's previous plays: the wit and cleverness of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with the emotional richness and intensity of The Real Thing to the purity of Arcadia. This is, however, a slower, more meditative and contemplative Stoppard. Even the flamboyant Oscar Wilde is presented in a toned-downed, rather Housmanesque style.
The script, itself, although erudite and intellectual, is so opulently rich in imagery and language (yes, there is a lot of Latin) that we, as an audience, are forced to be attentive. Stoppard rewards us handsomely, though, as we become increasingly aware that certain things (rivers, Hades, dogs, love, inventions, inversions, three men in a boat) circle and then loop back and circle again and again.
Those who think Housman's scholarliness might seem dull couldn't be more wrong. It is, instead, the very essence of this marvelous play. Stoppard uses lost Greek plays and corrupted Latin texts like the master he is.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's a hard play to read, an easy one to see, and worthwhile in each case. As much wit as may be expected from the writer of Shakespeare in Love (in fact, some of the same jokes) but more depth. Houseman the scholar is devoted to fine translations of classical poetry; Houseman the man is devoted to his friend in an unrequited and hopeless passion, and to expressing the passion in glorious verse.
Oh, and it all takes place in the afterlife. The dead, older Houseman encountering his younger, buoyant self at Oxford is almost too gloriously terrible to take.
Yes, it's erudite. But then this is Amazon.com. if you're here, you love books.... and just think of the books you'll want to read after reading this (Pater, Ruskin, Wilde...)
I was so moved when I saw it I could barely breather afterwards.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "mwv" on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought it to get ready to attend the SF showing, which I had to miss, so the best experience still awaits me. It was well-reviewed, and I must see it eventually, now that I have read it. I found this play complex and absorbing, with a richness that requires multiple readings and research to understand all the references and to make sense of the characters' interactions and all the flashbacks.
There is a lot of Latin in the play, and understanding it helps - that is one reason I appreciated having the text to reread and pour over. The dialogue with Housman and Jackson, and with his younger self, is wonderful. The humor is just so well done - it skims along on top of the pain underneath it. This is a risky play, and a fine one.
However, for readers or people looking for something lighter, this is *not* as good a pure read as Arcadia; it is more meaty and introspective. I think it is an experience than no Stoppard fan would want to miss.
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