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,

To Read the Full Story

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

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content on the site including the digital magazine and archives, no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more premium content like this, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


Become a Member

In This Issue

I. What Made California Great

II. California's Self-Destruction

III. Can California Be Saved?

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

At Joe Biden’s first press conference as president, Cecilia Vega of ABC News politely nailed him to the wall.


The Latest