Famous Quotes & Sayings

Tom Stoppard Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Tom Stoppard.

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Tom Stoppard Quotes 498997

It would have been nice to have had unicorns. — Tom Stoppard

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Chekhov was capable of casually tossing off deplorable comments in his letters, combined with a very modern anger against anti-Semitism. — Tom Stoppard

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Each move is dictated by the previous one
that is the meaning of order — Tom Stoppard

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If you took away everything in the world that had to be invented, there'd be nothing left except a lot of people getting rained on. — Tom Stoppard

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I have three copies of the first edition, which sold in double figures, speaking loosely; there was a moment when Blond's 'Lord Malquist and Mr Moon' sold 67 copies, or some such number, in Venezuela - a mystery I never solved. I have never been to Venezuela. I remember going into Foyles' bookshop in 1966 and being gratified to see a stack of Malquist-and-Moons on the New Fiction table. I counted them; there were twelve. A week or two later I went in again; there they were. I counted them again; there were thirteen! I saw at once what was happening. People were leaving my book at bookshops. — Tom Stoppard

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It is not hard to understand modern art. If it hangs on a wall it's a painting, and if you can walk around it it's a sculpture. — Tom Stoppard

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You do know what's coming up when you're translating. I suppose the concentration, then, is on finding a formulation which is speakable and in character - and economical as well, actually. — Tom Stoppard

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I take every possible side. — Tom Stoppard

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I just happen to know quite a lot of what happened in Czechoslovakia between 1968 and the fall of Communism. — Tom Stoppard

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I'm not interested in clothes; I just like them. — Tom Stoppard

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The House of Lords, an illusion to which I have never been able to subscribe - responsibility without power, the prerogative of the eunuch throughout the ages. — Tom Stoppard

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What Tolstoy is on about is that carnal love is not a good idea. — Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard Quotes 1331827

GUIL: I think I have it. A man talking sense to himself is no madder then a man talking nonsense not to himself.
ROS: Or just as mad.
GUIL: Or just as mad.
ROS: And he does both.
GUIL: So there you are.
ROS: Stark raving sane. — Tom Stoppard

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Theatre probably originated without texts, but by the time we get to the classical Greek period, theatre has become text-based. — Tom Stoppard

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Lou Reed was a hero because he was an anti-hero. — Tom Stoppard

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I think I enlist comedy to a serious purpose. — Tom Stoppard

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All of my scripts are based on other people's novels. Generally, I consider myself as one who writes for theatre. I do not see film work as a continuation of writing for theatre. It is more of an interruption of the writing process. — Tom Stoppard

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I read for interest and enjoyment, and when I cease to enjoy it I stop. — Tom Stoppard

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I'm very unhappy about my entire life if my writing is going wrong. — Tom Stoppard

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I want to support the whole idea of the humanities and teaching the humanities as being something that - even if it can't be quantitatively measured as other subjects - it's as fundamental to all education. — Tom Stoppard

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No one gets up after death-there is no applause-there is only silence and some second-hand clothes, and that's death. — Tom Stoppard

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Everything has to be taken on trust; truth is only that what is taken to be true. It's the currency if living. There may be nothing behind it, but it doesn't make any difference so long as it is honoured. One acts on assumptions. What do you assume? — Tom Stoppard

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The Plastic People of the Universe played 'Venus in Furs' from Velvet Underground, and I knew everything was basically okay. — Tom Stoppard

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I'm going to be dead before I read the books I'm going to read. — Tom Stoppard

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There are too many things I find it difficult to say 'no' to. — Tom Stoppard

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When you write, it's making a certain kind of music in your head. There's a rhythm to it, a pulse, and on the whole, I'm writing to that drum rather than the psychological process. — Tom Stoppard

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The text loses its virginity simply by being staged: it's no longer the abstract ideal version; it's an event. — Tom Stoppard

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Every exit is an Entry somewhere else. — Tom Stoppard

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The thing that happens remarkably often is that the people who are writing a dissertation believe they need to speak to me in order to do their dissertation. They need to interview me. — Tom Stoppard

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"The [London] Times" has published no rumours; it's only reported facts, namely that other, less responsible papers are publishing certain rumours. — Tom Stoppard

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When you try to grasp the way the Western world is going, you see that we are on a ratchet towards a surveillance state, which is coming to include the whole population in its surveillance. This is our reward for accepting the restraints on the way we live now. — Tom Stoppard

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The more doors there are for you to open, the better the play. — Tom Stoppard

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The idea that being human and having rights are equivalent - that rights are inherent - is unintelligible in a Darwinian world. — Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard Quotes 148231

GUIL: It [Hamlet's madness] really boils down to symptoms. Pregnant replies, mystic allusions, mistaken identities, arguing his father is his mother, that sort of thing; intimations of suicide, forgoing of exercise, loss of mirth, hints of claustrophobia not to say delusions of imprisonment; invocations of camels, chameleons, capons, whales, weasels, hawks, handsaws
riddles, quibbles and evasions; amnesia, paranoia, myopia; day-dreaming, hallucinations; stabbing his elders, abusing his parents, insulting his lover, and appearing hatless in public
knock-kneed, droop-stockinged and sighing like a love-sick schoolboy, which at his age is coming on a bit strong.
ROS: And talking to himself.
GUIL: And talking to himself. — Tom Stoppard

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The Almost Free Theatre, the Fun Art Bus and the rest of them were phenomena of a decade which was simultaneously playful and desperately serious; and — Tom Stoppard

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I am good at being shown something and counterpunching. — Tom Stoppard

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Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe. — Tom Stoppard

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You've no idea, the whole Army's obsessed with playing at soldiers ... — Tom Stoppard

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I'm not that taken with Freudian perspectives. They seem to be overcomplicated. — Tom Stoppard

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It takes character to withstand the rigours of indolence. — Tom Stoppard

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I think ... the history of civilization is an attempt to codify, classify and categorize aspects of human nature that hardly lend themselves to that process. — Tom Stoppard

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Chekhov directors and Chekhov actors love working on his plays because there seems to be no end to what you can find out about the micro-narrative when you're investigating a text. — Tom Stoppard

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I'm a very boring person. — Tom Stoppard

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I never had any frustration about writing uncredited. I always felt that the satisfaction of doing it was in the doing of it, really, and getting recognised by the small number of people that know what you did. — Tom Stoppard

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We ransomed our dignity to the clouds. — Tom Stoppard

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In Chekhov, everything blends into its opposite, just fractionally, and this is sort of unsettling. And that's why you end up 100 years later asking, 'Is that moment tragic or comic?' — Tom Stoppard

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I was an awful critic. I operated on the assumption that there was an absolute scale of values against which art could be measured. I didn't trust my own subjective responses. — Tom Stoppard

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The idea of the state is, or should be, a very limited, prescribed idea. The state looks after the defense of the realm, and other matters - raising revenue to pay for things which are for all of us, and so on. That idea has turned turtle now. The state isn't any longer perceived as an institution which exists to serve us. — Tom Stoppard

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How the hell do I know what I find incredible? Credibility is an expanding field ... Sheer disbelief hardly registers on the face before the head is nodding with all the wisdom of instant hindsight. — Tom Stoppard

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Like most writers, I just create because I have a story to tell, really. — Tom Stoppard

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Well, we'll know better next time. — Tom Stoppard

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To be 64 is appalling, so what does it matter being 65? — Tom Stoppard

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If you could stop every atom in its position and direction, and if your mind could comprehend all the actions thus suspended, then if you were really, really good at algebra you could write the formula for all the future; and although nobody can be so clever as to do it, the formula must exist just as if one could. — Tom Stoppard

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Theater in New York is nearer to the street. In London, you have to go deep into the building, usually, to reach the place where theater happens. On Broadway, only the fire doors separate you from the sidewalk, and you're lucky if the sound of a police car doesn't rip the envelope twice a night. — Tom Stoppard

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We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain. — Tom Stoppard

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You are an over-excited little man, with a need for self-expression far beyond the scope of your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist. — Tom Stoppard

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I've seldom minded other people's opinions, but the other side of that coin is that I've seldom been interested by them, um their opinions about me I mean. — Tom Stoppard

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I wanted to be in the theater. It is simply the way I felt. — Tom Stoppard

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Corporeal death is not the whole story. — Tom Stoppard

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Get me inside any boardroom and I'll get any decision I want. — Tom Stoppard

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Can't you function unless you're losing? — Tom Stoppard

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The truth is, we value your company, for want of any other. We have been left so much to our own devices - after a while one welcomes the uncertainty of being left to other people's. — Tom Stoppard

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I consider myself to be a very fortunate person and to have led a very fortunate life. — Tom Stoppard

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It could have been
it didn't have to be obscene ... It could have been
a bird out of season, dropping bright-feathered on my shoulder ... It could have been a tongueless dwarf standing by the road to point the way ... I was prepared. But it's this, is it? No enigma, no dignity, nothing classical, portentous, only this
a comic pornographer and a rabble of prostitutes ... — Tom Stoppard

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That I have the right to express myself freely at all times in all circumstances entails the idea that free speech is a 'basic human right' possessed by each individual, and, as such, trumps the interests of the society or group, including my neighbour. — Tom Stoppard

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Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it going to end? — Tom Stoppard

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Sometimes I dream of revolution, a bloody coup d'etat by the second rank - troupes of actors slaughtered by their understudies, magicians sawn in half by indefatigably smiling glamour girls, cricket teams wiped out by marauding bands of twelfth men - I dream of champions chopped down by rabbit-punching sparring partners while eternal bridesmaids turn and rape the bridegrooms over the sausage rolls and parliamentary private secretaries plant bombs in the Minister's Humber - comedians die on provincial stages, robbed of their feeds by mutely triumphant stooges - - and - march - - an army of assistants and deputies, the seconds-in-command, the runners-up, the right-handmen - storming the palace gates wherein the second son has already mounted the throne having committed regicide with a croquet-mallet - stand-ins — Tom Stoppard

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In my mind, I always knew what my father looked like. — Tom Stoppard

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Philosophy consists in moderating each life so that many lives will fit together with as much liberty and justice as will keep them together: and not so much as will make them fly apart, when the harm will be the greater. — Tom Stoppard

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I agree with everything you say, but I would attack to the death your right to say it. — Tom Stoppard

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I'm aware of my old plays and occasionally think about them, but I'm much more anxious about finding the next play. — Tom Stoppard

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My life feels, week to week, incomplete to the level of being pointless if I am not in preparation for the next play or, ideally, into it. — Tom Stoppard

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Life is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn't take it. — Tom Stoppard

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Kissing girls is not like science, nor is it like sport. It is the third thing when you thought there were only two. — Tom Stoppard

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When Auden said his poetry didn't save one Jew from the gas chamber, he'd said it all. — Tom Stoppard

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I adopted England as least as much as England adopted me. — Tom Stoppard

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Fifty-five crystal spheres geared to God's crankshaft is my idea of a satisfying universe. I can't think of anything more trivial than quarks, quasars, big bangs, and black holes.
Tom Stoppard

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Plays ... Maidens aspiring to Godheads and vice versa! — Tom Stoppard

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We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see. — Tom Stoppard

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A foreign correspondent is someone who lives in foreign parts and corresponds, usually in the form of essays containing no new facts. Otherwise he's someone who flies around from hotel to hotel and thinks that the most interesting thing about any story is the fact that he has arrived to cover it. — Tom Stoppard

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Act first! The ideas will follow, and if not - well, it's progress — Tom Stoppard

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I'm attracted to the past. — Tom Stoppard

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Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end? — Tom Stoppard

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I think journalism is important. — Tom Stoppard

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Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else. — Tom Stoppard

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I think that the present is worth attention, one shouldn't sacrifice it to future conceptions of, of this future or that future. — Tom Stoppard

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I am as miserable as anyone - sometimes. — Tom Stoppard

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To wrap up the idea of 'Parade's End' in a sentence or two, I would say it's a love story in which we see a man with two women, and we know what's attractive about them. And we know why and what they feel about him. — Tom Stoppard

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I write for film or, in this case, television when I haven't got a play cooking. — Tom Stoppard

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I can't remember what my first script was. — Tom Stoppard

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We keep to our usual stuff, more or less, only inside out. We do on stage the things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else. — Tom Stoppard

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[James] Joyce ... an essentially private man who wished his total indifference to public notice to be universally recognized ... — Tom Stoppard

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A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier. — Tom Stoppard

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'The Importance of Being Earnest' is important, but it says nothing about anything. — Tom Stoppard

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Chater: You dare to call me that. I demand satisfaction!
Septimus: Mrs Chater demanded satisfaction and now you are demanding satisfaction. I cannot spend my time day and night satisfying the demands of the Chater family. — Tom Stoppard

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I'm not a theoretician about playwriting, but I have a strong sense that plays have to be pitched - the scene, the line, the word - at the exact point where the audience has just the right amount of information. It's like Occam's razor. — Tom Stoppard

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You always end up with too much, so it's good to be part of the conversation about not just what you can omit, but how you are going to do the grammar of the omission, how you make things continue to work when there's something missing. It's your last chance to rewrite. — Tom Stoppard

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Once rehearsals are done the writer really doesn't have a function on the set. If the script is stabilized, then the writer becomes a celebrity tourist visiting the set, trying not to get in the way. It's very good for the ego, to go visit a film set if you are the writer, because they give you a special chair, and tell you where you can sit to watch the monitor. They make you feel special, but at the same time, they make it perfectly plain that you are irrelevant! — Tom Stoppard

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ROS (mournfully): Not even England. I don't believe in it anyway.
GUIL: What?
ROS: England.
GUIL: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, you mean. — Tom Stoppard

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For me, human rights simply endorse a view of life and a set of moral values that are perfectly clear to an eight-year-old child. A child knows what is fair and isn't fair, and justice derives from that knowledge. — Tom Stoppard