Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-bjz6k Total loading time: 0.356 Render date: 2022-05-28T11:13:12.889Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

1 - Exit TomᚠStraüssler, enter Sir Tom Stoppard

from PART 1 - BACKGROUND

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2006

Katherine E. Kelly
Affiliation:
Texas A & M University
Get access

Summary

TomᚠStraüssler (Tomik to his parents) arrived in India as a four-year-old Czech refugee in 1942; but in early 1946 the eight-year-old who left India as Tommy Straüssler would become Tom Stoppard. By then he had a new father, British Army Major Kenneth Stoppard, whom his mother had married after her husband had died in Singapore following the Japanese invasion. He had a new language, English, which he had learned at Mount Hermon, a Darjeeling school run by American Methodists. He had a new nationality - neither American nor Indian nor Czech but British. He had a new identity in a land where he and his brother would be “starting over as English schoolboys.” And he had a new name. Three weeks after arriving in England, the Straüssler brothers received, from their stepfather, the surname Stoppard.

After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened to acclaim – and a welter of interpretations – both in London and on Broadway, its 29-year-old author would jokingly refer to himself as “a bounced Czech” and dismiss his biographical background as irrelevant to his play about Elizabethan courtiers. But to describe what it felt like to have his play examined for hidden meanings, the Czech émigré who had arrived from Singapore to attend an American school in India before relocating with a new name to Derbyshire significantly invoked the metaphor of going through customs. When a customs officer ransacks Rosencrantz and “comes up with all manner of exotic contraband like truth and illusion, the nature of identity, what I feel about life and death,” Stoppard confesses, “I have to admit the stuff is there but I can’t for the life of me remember packing it.”

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2001

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×