Magazine April 19, 2021, Issue

Tom Stoppard’s Grateful Life

Tom Stoppard in 1973 (D. Morrison/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Tom Stoppard: A Life, by Hermione Lee (Knopf, 896 pp., $37.50)

Tom Stoppard is often, justly, called the greatest living English-language playwright. Now Sir Tom, OM, CBE, FRSL, he’s been famous since 1967, when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead premiered at London’s Old Vic — making him, at 29, the youngest person ever to have a play performed by the Royal National Theatre.

Though not without critics, he has won every major writing award for the stage, the screen, and radio. His work has dramatized questions of philosophy (the nature of identity, morality, history, consciousness, art) and politics (revolution, freedom of the press, Soviet and Nazi persecutions) within love stories, shaggy-dog stories,

This article appears as “A Grateful Life” in the April 19, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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In This Issue

I. What Made California Great

II. California's Self-Destruction

III. Can California Be Saved?

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