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Tom Stoppard


We appreciate his views.

Born in Czechoslovakia, exiting to Singapore to escape the Nazis when he was a young boy, moving to England after his father died and his mother remarried, Sir Tom Stoppard, now 70, became an award-winning playwright and screenwriter with Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, The Coast of Utopia, Arcadia, Rock 'N' Roll, Shakespeare in Love, and Enigma.

You might whimsically say he became an Anglophile -

"With the proceeds from his plays he has collected English landscape watercolours, bought first editions of Austen and Dickens, and a Palladian mansion in Buckinghamshire. A similar country house, situated amid Capability Brown-designed grounds, provides the setting for his dazzling theatrical masterpiece, Arcadia (1993). Indian Ink (1995) mellowly harks back to the Raj. The Invention of Love (1997) glows with affection for Victorian Oxford and Cambridge, and English eccentricity."

Keeping the horrors of Communism firmly in mind, he loved Britain as an "open liberal democracy whose very essence was the toleration of dissent". He recently wrote, "The 'free West', God knew, was all too often disfigured by corruption and injustice but the abuses represented, and were acknowledged to represent, a failure of the model. In the East, though, the abuses represented the model in full working order".

He will appear at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival at the end of the month.

David adds, it does seem to happen quite often that people who were not born in Britain and are not even of British ancestry have the greatest appreciation for what Britain has been and could be.