Vladimir Nabokov, whom Stoppard extravagantly admires ...
March 4, 2011
Stoppard’s Favorite Lines
Posted by Jon Michaud
In this week’s issue, Mark Singer writes about the revival of Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” on Broadway. Singer quotes from Kenneth Tynan’s 1977 Profile of Stoppard, referring to the Czech-born Englishman as “one of the two or three most prosperous and ubiquitously adulated playwrights at present bearing a British passport,” commenting that, three decades later, the distinction still holds.
Tynan’s Profile was one of a series of long articles about show-business figures he did for the magazine in the nineteen-seventies (others subjects included Mel Brooks, Johnny Carson, and Louise Brooks). And although Stoppard is a British citizen, Tynan noted the belief among his collaborators and fans that being an immigrant had helped make his work distinctive:
A director who has staged several of his plays told me the other day, “You have to be foreign to write English with that kind of hypnotized brilliance.” An obvious comparison is with Vladimir Nabokov, whom Stoppard extravagantly admires. Stoppard said to me not long ago that his favorite parenthesis in world literature was this, from “Lolita”: “My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three.”
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