Tom Stoppard, fully Sir Tom Stoppard, born Tomáš Straüssler

Tom
Stoppard, fully Sir Tom Stoppard, born Tomáš Straüssler
1937

Czech-born English Playwright, Novelist and Writer for TV, Radio, Film and Stage

Author Quotes

You can't treat royalty like people with normal perverted desires.

You don't mind? Life is in the minding.

You stupid woman, if rationality were the criterion for things being allowed to exist, the world would be one gigantic field of soya beans!

You think human nature is a beast, that it must be put in a cage. But it's the cage that makes the animal bad.

When someone disagrees with you on a moral point you assume that he is one step behind in his thinking, and he assumes that he has gone one step ahead. But I take both parts, O'Hara, leapfrogging myself along the great moral issues, refuting myself and rebutting the refutation towards a truth that must be the compound of two opposite half-truths. And you never reach it because there is always something more to say.

Your opinions are your symptoms.

When we have found all the meanings and lost all the mysteries, we will be alone, on an empty shore.

When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backwards, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?

Wholly deserved and I'm completely thrilled.

Why do I have a sense of impending disaster? (He reflects) Sonders is after my niece and has discovered the secret address where I am sending her to the safe keeping of my sister-in-law Miss Blumenblatt, who has never laid eyes on him, or, for that matter, on Marie either since she was a baby—while I have to leave my business in the charge of my assistant and an apprentice, and follow my new servant, whom I haven't had time to introduce to anyone, to town to join the parade and take my fiancée to dinner in a uniform I can't sit down in. One false move and we could have a farce on our hands.

With his earliest work he stood alone in British theatre up against the bewilderment and incomprehension of critics, the audience and writers too.

Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order you can nudge the world a little.

Words, words. They're all we have to go on.

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.

You are an over-excited little man, with a need for self-expression far beyond the scope of your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist.

You are mistaken. I made love to your wife in the gazebo. She asked me to meet her there, I have her note somewhere, I dare say I could find it for you, and if someone is putting it about that I did not turn up, by God, sir, it is a slander.

You can persuade a man to believe almost anything provided he is clever enough, but it is much more difficult to persuade someone less clever.

It's silly to be depressed by it. I mean one thinks of it like being alive in a box, one keeps forgetting to take into account the fact that one is dead, which should make all the difference, shouldn't it? I mean, you'd never know you were in a box would you?... Even taking into account the fact that you're dead, it isn't a pleasant thought. Especially if you're dead, really. Ask yourself, if I asked you straight off-- I'm going to stuff you in this box now would you rather be alive or dead? Naturally you'd prefer to be alive. Life in a box is better than no life at all.

Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.

Personally I am in favor of education but a university is not the place for it.

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

The ordinary-sized stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about—clouds—daffodils—waterfalls—what happens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in—these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks.

There we were - demented children mincing about in clothes that no one ever wore, speaking as no man ever spoke, swearing love in wigs and rhymed couplets, killing each other with wooden swords, hollow protestations of faith hurled after empty promises of vengeance - and every gesture, every pose, vanishing into the thin unpopulated air. We ransomed our dignity to the clouds, and the uncomprehending birds listened. Don't you see?! We're actors - we're the opposite of people!

We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.

When I think of how things could have turned out, I feel as if I've dodged, not just bullets, but 6mm shells.

Author Picture
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Stoppard, fully Sir Tom Stoppard, born Tomáš Straüssler
Birth Date
1937
Bio

Czech-born English Playwright, Novelist and Writer for TV, Radio, Film and Stage