Picture of author.
119+ Works 21,136 Members 269 Reviews 114 Favorited

About the Author

When the National Theatre needed a last-minute substitute for a canceled production of As You Like It, Kenneth Tynan decided to stage Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a work by an unfamiliar author that had received discouraging notices from provincial critics at its Edinburgh Festival debut. show more Of course, the play, when it opened in April 1967, met with universal acclaim. In New York the next year, it was chosen best play by the Drama Critics Circle. In such an unlikely way, Tom Stoppard came to light. Born in Czechoslovakia, a country he left (for Singapore) when he was an infant, he began his literary career as a journalist in Bristol, where play reviewing led to playwriting. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Stoppard's reputation suffered through the production of a number of minor works, whose intellectual preoccupations were shrugged off by reviewers: Enter a Free Man (1968; "an adolescent twinge of a play," N.Y. Times), The Real Inspector Hound (1968; "lightweight," N.Y. Times), and After Magritte. But in the 1970s, the initial enthusiasms aroused by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were more than vindicated by the production of two full-length plays, Jumpers (1974) and the antiwar play Travesties (1975), whose immense verbal and theatrical inventiveness made them absolute successes on both sides of the Atlantic. Stoppard's method from the start has been to contrive explanations for highly unlikely encounters---of objects (the ironing board, old lady, and bowler hat of After Magritte), characters (Joyce, Lenin, and Tzara in Travesties), and even plays (Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, The Importance of Being Earnest, Travesties, and The Real Thing, 1982). In the 1970s, Tynan called for Stoppard---as a Czech and as an artist---to engage himself politically. But although political subjects have since found their way into pieces from Every Good Boy Deserves Favor (1977) to Squaring the Circle (1985), politics and art seem to have become just two more of the playwright's irreconcilables, which meet, but never join, in the logical frames of his comedy. The presence of political material---such as the Lenin sections that nearly ruin the second part of Travesties---has occasionally strained the structure of the plays. But in The Real Thing Stoppard is comfortable enough with the satire on art and activism to bring a third subject, love, into the mix. Stoppard has acknowledged his Eastern European heritage nonpolitically, in a series of adaptations of plays by Arthur Schnitzler (see Vol. 2), Johann Nestroy, and Ferenc Molnar. (Bowker Author Biography) Tom Stoppard is the author of many plays, including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Jumpers, Travesties, and The Invention of Love. He lives in London. (Publisher Provided) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

(dut) The author was born as Tomas Straussler. After the death of his father, his mother married the Brittish Major Stoppard, and Tom since accepted his name.


Works by Tom Stoppard

Arcadia (1993) 2,702 copies
Travesties (1974) 996 copies
The Real Thing (1982) 737 copies
The Invention of Love (1997) 706 copies
Jumpers (1972) 619 copies
Shakespeare In Love [1998 film] (1998) — Screenwriter — 491 copies
Tom Stoppard Plays 5 (1978) 417 copies
Brazil [1985 film] (1985) — Screenwriter — 358 copies
The Real Inspector Hound (1976) 312 copies
Rock 'n' Roll: A New Play (2006) 310 copies
Lord Malquist & Mr Moon (1966) 234 copies
Hapgood (1988) 200 copies
Indian Ink (1995) 192 copies
Night and Day (1978) 175 copies
Empire of the Sun [1987 film] (1987) — Screenwriter — 115 copies
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead [1990 film] (1990) — Director — 115 copies
Enter a Free Man (1968) 111 copies
Anna Karenina [2012 film] (2012) — Screenwriter — 110 copies
On the Razzle (1981) 104 copies
Tom Stoppard Plays 4 (1999) 95 copies
Leopoldstadt (2020) 92 copies
The Hard Problem (2015) 78 copies
After Magritte (1971) 69 copies
Conversations with Stoppard (1995) 68 copies
Rough Crossing (1985) 64 copies
Enigma [2001 film] (2002) — Screenwriter — 63 copies
The Russia House [1990 film] (1990) — Screenwriter — 54 copies
Albert's Bridge (1969) 35 copies
In the Native State (1991) 33 copies
Squaring the Circle (1985) 32 copies
Four Plays for Radio (1985) 24 copies
Tulip Fever [2017 film] (2014) — Screenwriter — 24 copies
Darkside (2013) 14 copies
A Separate Peace (1977) 14 copies
Despair [1978 film] (1978) — Screenwriter — 12 copies
Billy Bathgate [1991 film] (1991) — Screenwriter — 12 copies
Poodle Springs [1998 film] (1998) — Writer — 7 copies
Professional Foul (1979) 6 copies
Tom Stoppard Radio Plays (2012) 5 copies
The Boundary (1991) 4 copies
Modern One-act Plays (1993) 3 copies
Galileo 3 copies
The Hard Problem [theatre programme] — Contributor — 2 copies
Teeth 1 copy
Travesties [theatre programme] — Contributor — 1 copy
Penelope (2022) 1 copy
Dirty Linen 1 copy
La invención del amor (2011) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Cherry Orchard (1904) — Adapter, some editions — 1,989 copies
The Seagull (1896) — Translator, some editions — 1,107 copies
The Pleasure of Reading (1992) — Contributor — 188 copies
Henry IV (1922) — Translator, some editions — 187 copies
Nine Plays of the Modern Theater (1981) — Contributor — 182 copies
Masterpieces of the Drama (1966) — Contributor — 179 copies
Ivanov (1969) — some editions — 166 copies
Counting My Chickens . . .: And Other Home Thoughts (2001) — Introduction — 157 copies
Largo Desolato (1987) — Translator, some editions — 146 copies
Granta 119: Britain (2012) — Contributor — 109 copies
Undiscovered Country (1911) — Translator, some editions — 70 copies
What's Your Story? Postcard Collection (2008) — Contributor — 60 copies
Modern and Contemporary Drama (1958) — Contributor — 43 copies
Doing It: Five Performing Arts (2001) — Contributor — 19 copies
Contemporary one-act plays (1976) — Contributor — 17 copies
Another Sky: Voices of Conscience from Around the World (2007) — Introduction — 14 copies
The Best Plays Theater Yearbook 2007-2008 (2009) — Contributor — 5 copies


20th century (364) absurdism (57) anthology (60) British (302) British literature (195) classic (73) classics (138) comedy (268) drama (3,034) DVD (224) England (102) English (89) English literature (183) existentialism (96) fiction (914) film (76) Hamlet (181) history (57) humor (257) literature (306) math (61) movie (56) non-fiction (70) own (75) philosophy (82) play (1,230) plays (1,641) playscript (56) read (328) Russia (162) Russian (98) Russian literature (163) satire (61) script (249) Stoppard (172) theatre (1,254) to-read (837) Tom Stoppard (127) unread (101) William Shakespeare (387)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Stoppard, Tom
Legal name
Sträussler, Tomáš (birth)
Other names
Boot, William
Zlín, Czechoslovakia
Places of residence
Zlín, Czechoslovakia (birth)
Darjeeling, India
Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, UK
London, England, UK
Mount Hermon School
Dolphin School, Nottinghamshire, England, UK
Pocklington School, Yorkshire, England, UK
Stoppard, Miriam (wife|divorced)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (2000)
Western Daily Press (reporter ∙ critic)
Bristol Evening World (feature writer ∙ humor columnist ∙ drama critic)
BBC Radio
Shakespeare Schools Festival (show all 10)
Index on Censorship
Amnesty International
Committee Against Psychiatric Abuse
The London Library (president)
Awards and honors
Order of Merit (2000)
Commander, Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (1978)
Knight Bachelor (1997)
Royal Society of Literature (1972)
PEN Pinter prize (2013)
David Cohen Prize (2017) (show all 20)
John Whiting Award
Honorary Fellow, British Academy (2017)
PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award (2015)
America Award in Literature (2017)
Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement (2013)
American Theater Hall of Fame (1999)
Honorary doctorate, Yale University (2000)
Honorary degree, Cambridge University (2000)
Honorary Patronage, University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin
The London Library (2002)
Tony Award (5x)
Laurence Olivier Award
Academy Award (1999)
Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award (2017)
Anthony Jones (PFD)
Short biography
Tom Stoppard was born Tomáš Straussler to a Jewish family in Zlín, Czechoslovakia. With their parents Eugen Straussler, a doctor employed by the Bata shoe company, and Martha Becková, he and his brother fled the country in 1939 to escape Nazi occupation. \The family went to Singapore, where Bata had a factory. Tom, his mother and brother fled to Australia in 1941. Tom spent three years in a boarding school in Darjeeling, India. In 1945, his mother married Kenneth Stoppard. Tom attended the Dolphin School in Nottinghamshire, and later Pocklington School in Yorkshire. He left school at age 17 and began working as a journalist for the Western Daily Press in Bristol. IHe also wrote short radio plays and in 1960, moved to London and launched himself as a playwright with A Walk on the Water, later re-titled Enter a Free Man.
Disambiguation notice
The author was born as Tomas Straussler. After the death of his father, his mother married the Brittish Major Stoppard, and Tom since accepted his name.



Tom Stoppard, James Saunders, Harold Pinter
betty_s | Oct 16, 2023 |
I remember enjoying this when I read it in high school, assigned by our English teacher on the heels of reading, analyzing, and discussing Hamlet. I haven't read Hamlet since then, but still enjoyed the re-read of this farcical play. A few times I wished I'd better remembered some of the details of what it is set around, but it didn't detract from my reading too much.

These two bit characters who were sent to spy on Hamlet are now the focal point, while Hamlet, the king, queen, and others of that ilk merely intrude upon Rosencrantz & Guildenstern's musings. The quick wit, back and forth, and the foreshadowing of the event that the very title lends knowledge to, make this a fun, snappy read. It's also very meta from time to time, and doesn't take itself too seriously. I'm sure some of it went over my head, and if I'd read Hamlet more recently, I may have gotten more out of it. But I am still glad I read it again and refreshed my memory of why I think of this book fondly.… (more)
Kristi_D | 89 other reviews | Sep 22, 2023 |
I feel one must be in the mood
for moonlight and music and infinitude
to really enjoy this play.
But what do I know?

Entropically ironical,
chaotic and clever and Byronical,
and jolly and gay:
et in arcadia ego.
yarb | 52 other reviews | Aug 2, 2023 |
I haven't read any plays since high school, and I think we only read The Glass Menagerie and Macbeth. I also don't go to the theatre often (musical theatre, yes, plays...very seldom). That's to say I'm not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to plays.

But I was thinking about Shakespeare, recently, as one does—or, perhaps, just Hamlet—and remembering I had a copy of this (Goodreads tells me I've had it for ten years) decided it was high time I read it! It's a bit of an anomaly in my book collection as one of only two plays (well, I have an unread collected works of Shakespeare knocking about the place somewhere, which has a great many plays in it) but the film adaptation is one of my favourite pieces of Shakespeare fanfiction (ahem) so I picked the play up at an op-shop, at some point, apparently around a decade ago.

Right, so. Absurdist existential comedy! What's not to like? And what's left for me to say that hasn't been said before? Not really sure why I feel compelled to say anything but I guess I'm using this as a bit of a diary, or something.

Anyway, of course this is just brilliant. The snappiest dialogue that ever did snap, and Guil and Ros's offstage story is cleverly woven into the original narrative.

Reading plays is a little bit weird if you're not used to it (maybe it's weird even when you are) but this was a breeze and had me laughing out loud more than once. I would kill to see a stage production of it.
… (more)
floppingbunnies | 89 other reviews | Jun 29, 2023 |


AP Lit (1)


You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Marc Norman Screenwriter
Terry Gilliam Screenwriter
Charles McKeown Screenwriter
David Leveaux Director
Arnon Milchan Producer
Ian Holm Actor
Michael Kamen Composer
Iain Glen Actor
Allen Daviau Cinematographer
Tim Roth Actor
Menno Meyjes Writer (uncredited)
John Williams Composer
J. G. Ballard Original book
Jude Law Actor
Robert Harris Original book
James Fox Actor
Deborah Moggach Original book
Vladimer Nabokov Original book
Tom Bower Actor
Armand Marie Leroi Contributor
Richard Dawkins Contributor
Màrius Serra Translator
Daniel Rosenthal Contributor
Marc Murphy Contributor
Al Senter Contributor
James Joyce Contributor


Also by

Charts & Graphs