Cover image for Tom Stoppard : a life
Tom Stoppard : a life
Nadel, Ira Bruce.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
Physical Description:
621 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
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PR6069.T6 Z784 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Tom Stoppard has written some of the most challenging and fanciful plays of the 20th century. His work, from the early Jumpers to the film Shakespeare in Love to the current play The Invention of Love, has in effect changed the landscape of drama. Witty, erudite, passionate, abstract, clever (some would say too clever by half), his works are like no one else's. Who is Tom Stoppard -- the Czech-born son of Jews who became the singularly English man of letters? In this vibrant, critical portrait, Ira Nadel weaves life and works into a fascinating chronicle of Stoppard's world on English and American stages. Peopled with such characters as Diana Rigg, John Wood, and Billy Crudup, the book untangles Stoppard's genius against the backdrop of Broadway and London's West End.

Author Notes

Ira Nadel is a commentator for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and teaches English at the Univerity of British Columbia.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Tom Stoppard is perhaps our greatest living playwright, with over 25 plays produced since 1965 and a cornucopia of honors, including numerous Tony awards, an Oscar for the screenplay of Shakespeare in Love, and a knighthood. Yet Stoppard is and always has been a hard man to pin down, and noted critic and academic Nadel freely admits that "Stoppard in many ways resists biography." Fortunately, that does not keep him from trying and, 600-plus pages later, largely succeeding. Canadian critic/biographer Nadel (Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen) spends considerable time wending his way through the Stoppard chronology, dwelling on the linguistically lush plays like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Jumpers, Travesties, The Real Thing, and Arcadia, all of which are uniquely complex, comedic, and intellectual. This thorough and fresh text updates and surpasses Michael Billington's 1987 Stoppard the Playwright. The best and most complete Stoppard biography available, this is a no-brainer acquisition decision for all collections. Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Nadel (Univ. of British Columbia) has written a delightful biography that introduces the reader to a witty and clever playwright who has had a major impact on 20th-century drama. One learns of Stoppard's early years in Eastern Europe, his time spent in India, and his eventual immigration to Great Britain. His assimilation has been so successful he could be any proper Englishman. Nadel's Stoppard is lucky, paradoxical, a public yet private figure, an avid cricket player, a talented writer who can link idea and character in farcical elements. The chapters most directly related to Stoppard's literary efforts reveal him as a man full of contradictions. Nadel makes full use of interviews with Stoppard himself, numerous theatrical luminaries, and others, and he includes excellent chapter notes. Those looking for in-depth literary analysis will want studies such as John Fleming's Stoppard's Theatre (CH, May'02) and The Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard, ed. by Katherine Kelly (CH, Mar'02). This volume is for those seeking an interesting and entertaining biography. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Interested theater professionals and college and university libraries with large collections of dramatic literature; all levels. M. D. Whitlatch Buena Vista University

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
1 Deserts of Bohemiap. 1
2 Lavender Streetp. 17
3 Et in Arcadia Egop. 39
4 At the Paragonp. 73
5 Swinging Londonp. 100
6 Berlin Cowboyp. 128
7 Rosencrantz on the Royal Milep. 149
8 The Old Vic and a New Playwrightp. 175
9 Swinging from an Epigramp. 205
10 Artist Ascending a Staircasep. 236
11 Marzipan Clocksp. 259
12 Czech Matesp. 281
13 Incurable Semanticp. 307
14 Broadway to Brazilp. 331
15 Eloquent Equationsp. 354
16 An English Edenp. 389
17 The Classic Romantic: Shakespeare in Lovep. 412
18 Byron in a Laptopp. 425
19 New York, Praguep. 453
20 Multiple Fascinationp. 471
21 Camouflaged by Displayp. 500
Notesp. 537
Bibliographyp. 589
Acknowledgementsp. 593
Indexp. 599