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Tom Stoppard's Quotes

Tom Stoppard profile photo

Born: 1937-07-03
Profession: Dramatist
Nation: English
Biography of Tom Stoppard

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When I think of how things could have turned out, I feel as if I've dodged, not just bullets, but 6mm shells.

Tags: Bullets, Shells, Turned

A great production of a black comedy is better than a mediocre production of a comedy of errors.

Tags: Black, Comedy, Great

Any revival in which I am involved is liable to change.

Tags: Change, Involved, Revival

Back in the East you can't do much without the right papers, but with the right papers you can do anything The believe in papers. Papers are power.

Tags: East, Papers, Power

Fatherlessness didn't strike me as being an event. It was a state of life.

Tags: Event, Life, State

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

Tags: Decision, Inside

I burn with no causes.

Tags: Burn, Causes

I can't remember what my first script was.

Tags: Remember, Script

I cannot say that I write with any social objective. One writes because one loves writing, really.

Tags: Cannot, Write, Writing

I don't act, I don't direct, I don't design.

Tags: Act, Design, Direct

I don't think Stoppardian has a precise definition.

Tags: Definition, Precise

I feel overestimated.

Tags: Enjoy, Read, Stop

I take every possible side.

Tags: Possible, Side

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

Tags: Future, Sacrifice, Worth

I was delighted to not go to university. I couldn't wait to be out of education.

Tags: Education, University, Wait

I was so thrilled being a reporter, because it gave you the kind of access to people that you wouldn't ever get to meet.

Tags: Gave, Meet, Reporter

I write out of my intellectual experience.

Tags: Experience, Write

I write scenes - often quite long scenes - mainly because I still get seduced into writing six lines where one and a half will do.

Tags: Often, Write, Writing

I'm a conservative kind of person. I don't think rightwing is quite the same thing. But I acknowledge my conservatism of temperament.

Tags: Quite

I'm a very boring person.

Tags: Boring

I'm attracted to the past.

Tags: Attracted, Past

I'm so grateful to grab hold of something that wants to be a play. It doesn't happen very often. I don't have unwritten plays waiting for their turn.

Tags: Grateful, Happen, Waiting

I've got no interest in educating or instructing people.

Tags: Educating, Interest

If enough things that are untrue are said about you, no one will know what really is true.

Tags: Enough, Said, True

It is better of course to know useless things than to know nothing.

Tags: Useless

It is better to be quotable than to be honest.

Tags: Honest
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Much more quotes by Tom Stoppard below the page.

It's better to be quotable than to be honest.

Tags: Honest

James Joyce - an essentially private man who wished his total indifference to public notice to be universally recognized.

Tags: Private, Public, Total

Life in a box is better than no life at all... I expect.

Tags: Box, Expect, Life

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.

Tags: Life, Next, Week

My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful; but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful.

Tags: Beautiful, True, Work

Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.

Tags: Revolution, Suffering, Trivial

The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.

Tags: Bad, End, Good

The days of the digital watch are numbered.

Tags: Days, Digital, Watch

The fact is that people are attracted to new work and by new work.

Tags: Attracted, Fact, Work

The fact is, I loved being English. I was very happy to be turned into an English schoolboy.

Tags: Fact, Happy, Loved

The media. It sounds like a convention of spiritualists.

Tags: Convention, Media, Sounds

Theater is still a medium which attracts young writers. You'd think that it would be all over by now, with television and film. But it's not.

Tags: Film, Television, Young

Well I believe in the desirability of an optimal society.

Tags: Optimal, Society

If you associate enough with older people who do enjoy their lives, who are not stored away in any golden ghettos, you will gain a sense of continuity and of the possibility for a full life.

Tags: Enjoy, Enough, Life

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

Tags: Art, Modern, Useful

From as long as, literally as far back as I can remember I've liked puns, word jokes, I can literally recall looking at a comic at the age of six or seven and I remember what I enjoyed and what it was precisely and how the joke worked.

Tags: Age, Far, Remember

In the theater there is often a tension, almost a contradiction, between the way real people would think and behave, and a kind of imposed dramaticness.

Tags: Between, Often, Real

I don't keep a diary and I throw away nearly all the paper I might have kept. I don't keep an archive. There's something worrying about my make-up that I try to leave no trace of myself apart from my plays.

Tags: Away, Keep, Try

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.

Tags: Getting, Small, Writing

I was interested by the idea that artists working in a totalitarian dictatorship or tsarist autocracy are secretly and slightly shamefully envied by artists who work in freedom. They have the gratification of intense interest: the authorities want to put them in jail, while there are younger readers for whom what they write is pure oxygen.

Tags: Freedom, Work, Working

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.

Tags: Interested, Mean, Opinions

The whole notion of journalism being an institution whose fundamental purpose is to educate and inform and even, one might say, elevate, has altered under commercial pressure, perhaps, into a different kind of purpose, which is to divert and distract and entertain.

Tags: Might, Purpose, Whole

As a playwright, you can cover a lot of waterfront without being able to hold your own against an expert in any of those areas. I have no illusions about that.

Tags: Able, Against, Hold

For a long time I managed to think two things simultaneously, that I am actually a good playwright, and that the next time I write a play I will be revealed as someone who is no good at all.

Tags: Good, Someone, Time

I write plays because writing dialogue is the only respectable way of contradicting yourself. I put a position, rebut it, refute the rebuttal, and rebut the refutation.

Tags: Put, Writing, Yourself

If the audience is made to do not enough work, they resent it without knowing it. Too much and they get lost. There's a perfect pace to be found. And a perfect place that is different for every line of the play.

Tags: Enough, Lost, Work

It was a different planet in 1967, the Broadway theatre. It had a little ashtray clamped to the back of every seat and the author got 10% of the gross.

Tags: Author, Planet, Theatre

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.

Tags: Able, House, Power

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.

Tags: After, Idea, State

The whole philosophy of modern times is to dissolve distinctions between individuals and deal with them as large collections of people. It's essentially self-interested on the part of authority.

Tags: Between, Philosophy, Whole

You can't but know that if you can capture the emotions of the audience as well as their minds, the play will work better, because it's a narrative art form.

Tags: Art, Minds, Work

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

Tags: Attitude, Health, Others

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Tags: Age, High, Maturity

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.

Tags: Become, Childhood, Older

I'm hopeless at looking into myself and trying to see how things are working and why.

Tags: Trying, Why, Working

It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.

Tags: Democracy, Government, Voting

Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.

Tags: Growing, High, Maturity

I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon.

Tags: Aim, Change, Journalism

My whole life is waiting for the questions to which I have prepared answers.

Tags: Life, Waiting, Whole

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

Tags: Else, Exit, Somewhere

I'm vaguely embarrassed by myself sometimes.

Tags: Sometimes, Vaguely

We're actors. We're the opposite of people.

Tags: Opposite

Good things, when short, are twice as good.

Tags: Good, Short, Twice

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

Tags: Consider, Fortunate, Life

I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Tags: Age, High, Maturity

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.

Tags: Art, Hard, Understand

Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them.

Tags: Gravitate, Shoulder

Life is a gamble, at terrible odds - if it was a bet you wouldn't take it.

Tags: Life, Odds, Terrible

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

Tags: Advice, Bucket, Give

Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it.

Tags: Beauty, Joy, May

From principles is derived probability, but truth or certainty is obtained only from facts.

Tags: Facts, Principles, Truth

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

Tags: End, Mean, Thought

I like pop music. I consider rock 'n' roll to be a branch of pop music.

Tags: Consider, Music, Rock

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

Tags: Cooking, Film, Write

I'm offended by things and take pathetic little stands against them.

Tags: Against, Pathetic, Stands
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