Cover

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pp. Cover-i

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ii-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Quotations from the published plays of Tom Stoppard are reprinted with the permission of Faber and Faber, Grove Press, and Samuel French. Quotations from unpublished material from the University of Texas’s Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center are reprinted with the kind permission of Tom Stoppard. An earlier version of chapter 1 appeared in The Library Chronicle,...

Annotated Chronology of Stoppard's Career

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pp. xi-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-28

In 1977, ten years after Tom Stoppard’s breakthrough success with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Kenneth Tynan, prominent critic and longtime Literary Manager for England’s National Theatre, asserted that in terms of international prestige, the standard of British playwriting was held by Harold Pinter, Peter Shaffer, ...

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Chapter 1: Career before Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

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pp. 10-46

When the r ave reviews came in during the opening night party for the 1967 Broadway production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard turned to his wife and carried out a mock interview with himself: “‘Question: Mr. Stoppard, what is your play about? Answer: It’s about to make me rich’” (Hedgepeth 96).1 Indeed, the success of the play in many of the major theatre centers of the Western world altered not only Stoppard’s financial fortunes but also his literary reputation, as he ...

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Chapter 2: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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pp. 47-65

Speaking about his early writing career and process, Stoppard remarked: “The reason why that idea appealed to me rather than another one is that it does have this under-structure to it. . . . The important thing about a successful work of art is not that it should communicate X to everybody but that it should run through the absolute alphabet for each 26 people” (Taylor 28). The Stoppard work that most embodies this...

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Chapter 3: Galileo

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pp. 66-81

The international success of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead made Stoppard a writer in great demand. When West End producer Michael Codron requested a script, Stoppard revised an early play, The Critics, into the work now known as The Real Inspector Hound. Also, Enter a Free Man was near the end of its option .,.

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Chapter 4: Jumpers

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pp. 82-100

The huge success of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead ensured two things: first, that whatever Stoppard wrote next the National Theatre would be interested in staging it; and second, that critical eyes would be focused on this second major play to see whether Stoppard was just a one-hit wonder. Stoppard started Jumpers with a few pages ...

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Chapter 5: Travesties

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pp. 101-120

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Jumpers were both award-winning successes at the National Theatre, and through them Stoppard was recognized for his linguistic and theatrical virtuosity. His reputation was that of a flashy, entertaining, apolitical, intellectual artist. But what is an artist? What are the possible roles, functions, and aims of the artist? What is the ...

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Chapter 6: Examining Eastern Bloc Repression

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pp. 121-136

Between major stage plays Stoppard typically remains busy by writing for other media, by composing adaptations, and by penning works for nonmainstream theatre venues. These “minor” works include some of Stoppard’s most innovative and effective writing. In particular, in 1977, Stoppard’s personal concern for human rights abuses in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union manifested...

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Chapter 7: Night and Day

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pp. 137-154

In a 1976 interview, Stoppard remarked: “A lot of things in Travesties and Jumpers seem to me to be the terminus of the particular kind of writing which I can do. I don’t see much point in trying to do it again” (Hayman, Tom Stoppard, 138). Indeed, when Night and Day, Stoppard’s next major play, debuted at the Phoenix Theatre in November 1978, audiences encountered a work that Stoppard sheepishly described as “one of those beginning, middle and end plays with one set and eight characters, including a woman who’s falling...

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Chapter 8: The Real Thing

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pp. 155-174

While Night and Day was a fairly successful foray into the realm of modified realism with a narrative throughline and three dimensional characters, it was with The Real Thing (1982) that Stoppard more fully answered the critics who said he could not write truthfully about the depths of basic human emotions. A witty, intelligent...

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Chapter 9: Hapgood

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pp. 175-190

After the Huge Success of The Real Thing, Stoppard , like his fictional playwright Henry, appeared on the BBC radio program Desert Island Discs. There Stoppard mentioned that he was interested in writing a play about mathematics. Fans and book publishers soon began sending him suggestions and resources, but Stoppard followed his own path. He explains both his interest in the subject, and why he veered away from his original ...

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Chapter 10: Arcadia

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pp. 191-207

In a 1989 profile piece on Stoppard, friend and actor John Wood is quoted as saying: “When I first met [Tom] in the sixties, there was a kind of anarchic joy in him, and it’s still there, but it contains its own impossibility now. I can’t say that life has disappointed Tom, but I think he once thought there must be a system behind the absurdity, ...

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Chapter 11: Indian Ink

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pp. 208-223

Just as Arcadia’s alteration of past and present disrupts a linear narrative, so too does the appearance of Indian Ink in the Stoppard canon of stage plays. Produced in 1995, Indian Ink is a stage version of Stoppard’s 1991 radio play In the Native State, and thus the essence of Indian Ink predates Arcadia. As such, it is necessary to delve back into the roots of In the Native State to ascertain the inspiration and origin ....

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Chapter 10 The Invention of Love

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pp. 224-244

When actor John Wood heard that Stoppard was writing a play about Alfred E. Housman, he thought: “There’s an unpromising subject, a minor poet who lived like a hermit and was staggeringly rude” (Gussow, “So Rude”). By the time Wood read the play and accepted the leading role, he found Stoppard’s Housman to be a fascinating character. While Housman has some name recognition in England, he is largely unknown ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 245-254

For more than thirty years, through nine major plays and one Academy Award, Tom Stoppard has enjoyed widespread respect and admiration.1 He is one of the few playwrights who can legitimately claim that cornerstones of his canon come from four decades. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967), Jumpers (1972),Travesties (1974), The Real Thing (1982), and Arcadia (1993) have been Stoppard’s most, ...

Notes

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pp. 255-302

Bibliography

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pp. 303-316

Index

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pp. 317-325