A great British writer, Tom Stoppard, was born on the 3rd of July in 1937, in Czechoslovakia. He was a bright son of Eugen Straussler, a doctor by profession, while his mother, Martha Becková, was a homemaker. He spent his early years in Zlín, but political instabilities and the early demise of his father led the family to move to India in 1941, where his mother remarried, and the family started a new life. However, Tom could not forget his initial bonding with his father.
Since the family moved to India, his formal education started at Mount Hermon School in 1942. After three years, his mother married an English man who took them to England in 1946 where he attended the Dolphin School in Nottinghamshire, followed by Pocklington in East Riding, Yorkshire. Unfortunately, he could not adjust to the school environment and left at seventeen. Although he never received any university education, his literary pieces have made him stand amongst the best writers.
The contemporary leading writer, Tom Stoppard, married thrice in life. First, he married Josie Ingle, a nurse by profession, in 1965, and the union produced two children. Unfortunately, they failed to develop a lasting pair and parted ways in 1972. Soon after separation, he remarried Miriam Stoppard and had two sons from the marriage. Unfortunately, his second marriage also ended in 1992. He married for the third time to Sabrina Jane Guinness in 2014 which proved bliss for him for the rest of the years of his life.
Awards and Honors
Tom Stoppard’s tremendous literary and non-literary services won worldwide acclaim and made him secure various awards and honors. In 1967, he won Evening Standard Award and Plays and Players London Theatre Critics Award. Later, in 1968, he won Tony Award for Best Play. He went on winning Evening Standard Award for Best Play in 1972 and Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy in 1974. His other notable achievements include Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, Giles Award, The Pen Pinter Prize, and The PEN Pinter Prize.
Some Important Facts about Him
- He is widely known for his two great stage works, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and The Real Thing.
- In 1999, he achieved the Academy Award for his work on the movie Shakespeare in Love.
- He received honorary degrees from various universities such as; Honorary Doctor of Letters, Yale University, Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Oxford and Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Cambridge.
Tom successfully pursued two careers in life. First, he worked as a journalist and later turned into a popular author. He authored his first radio play in 1953 and grabbed the attention of the larger audiences. His first screenplay Enters a Free Man appeared in 1968 that received a warm welcome. Followed by these initial appraisals, he produced more radio plays including A Separate Peace and If You are Glad, I’ll be Frank. Later, he published one more successful writing Arcadia followed by a trilogy of plays, The Coast of Utopia. His next publication, Rock’ n Roll, explored the rock music of the 1960s. His other writings include Artist Descending a Staircase, The Seagull, and The Hard Problem.
Tom Stoppard belonged to the mid-20th century playwrights of the absurd. Therefore, his writing style reflects the absurd representation of life and art. One of the most prominent features of his writings is his engaging and persuasive use of language; he wrote plays to be seen and not just to be read. He demonstrates his unique creative approach and philosophical ideas, using catchy diction, direct style, and unique characterization. To make his writings sound different from other writers, he adds poetic elements in his texts as well. Regarding literary devices, he turns toward imagery, rhetorical devices, symbolism, foreshadowing, and metaphors. Some of his major thematic strands are fantasy, philosophy of life, betrayal, deception, death, and immortality, and fate versus free will.
Some Important Works of Tom Stoppard
- Best Works: He was an outstanding author; some of his best works include Lord Malmquist and Mr. Moon, A Walk on the Water, Enter a Free Man, If You’re Glad I’ll Be Frank, Artist Descending a Staircase, The Real Thing, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern are Dead and The Invention of Love.
Tom Stoppard’s Impact on Future Literature
Stoppard’s wit has won him admiration in the literary world. His philosophical works, The Real Inspector Hound, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and The Real Thing have had great impacts on his readers. Even after years of publication, the works continue to enjoy the same popularity and success. Also, his impressive and thought-provoking screenplays have inspired a huge fan club worldwide. The resonance and impacts of his ideas and style still resonate in the ears of the new writers who are seeing in him a great tradition to follow.
- “We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.” (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead)
- “Words… They’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good any more… I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.” (The Real Thing)
- “We’re more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can’t give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They’re all blood, you see.” (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead)