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

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.

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.

It is better to be quotable than to be honest.

It's wholly deserved and I am completely thrilled. As a writer he has been unswerving for 50 years, ... a most fitting award.

My life feels, week to week, incomplete to the level of being pointless if I am not in preparation for the next play or, ideally, into it.

Public postures have the configuration of private derangement.

The bewilderment and incomprehension of critics and audience.

The truth is always a compound of two half- truths, and you never reach it, because there is always something more to say.

THOMASINA: ....the enemy who burned the great library of Alexandria without so much as a fine for all that is overdue. Oh, Septimus! -- can you bear it? All the lost plays of the Athenians! Two hundred at least by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides -- thousands of poems -- Aristotle's own library!....How can we sleep for grief? SEPTIMUS: By counting our stock. Seven plays from Aeschylus, seven from Sophocles, nineteen from Euripides, my lady! You should no more grieve for the rest than for a buckle lost from your first shoe, or for your lesson book which will be lost when you are old. We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?

Well I believe in the desirability of an optimal society.

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