Writing Tom Stoppard

The following is my reflection on Ira Nadel’s essay “Writing Tom Stoppard” in the Journal of Modern Literature.

Screenwriter and playwright Tom Stoppard accepting an award.

Nadel’s essay has shown me the other side of the screenwriter and playwright Tom Stoppard and how he functions as a writer. Stoppard’s life and the art that he produces are linked in an extraordinary way.

First and foremost, there are two  concurrent themes in Stoppard’s work: displacement and dislocation. In 1939, Stoppard left Czechoslovakia as a child refugee, fleeing imminent Nazi occupation. He settled with his family in Britain after the war, in 1946. It wasn’t until 1996 upon his mother’s death that he found out she was Jewish. Translating into his works of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Hapgood, and The Invention of Love we see themes of double identity as an Englishman and Czech, non-Jew and Jew, playwright ad screenwriter. Nadel calls this Stoppard’s “double act” (p. 21-22).

It seems that Stoppard’s past is so engrained into his extended consciousness that it came out in his plays. What is interesting is the way that he takes historical figures and events and reconstructs them with these connections to his real life, like the new light that he and Marc Norman shed on William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love. Nadel’s essay fulfills Virginia Woolf’s quote of what biography is supposed to do, to be “the record of things that change rather than of the things that happened” (Woolf, The Essays of Virgia Woolf).


About evinhughes

I am a graduate of Georgia Southern University. I have a bachelors degree in Information Technology and a bachelors in Writing and Linguistics.
This entry was posted in Response to essay and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s