The Current Issue

October 2020, Issue 490 Robin Simon on Goya * Michael Burleigh on Xi Jinping * Patricia Fara on Christiaan Huygens * Benjamin Riley on follies * Barnaby Crowcroft on Arabs vs Iran * Helen Graham on the International Brigades * Jeremy Treglown on Tom Stoppard * Jonathan Rée on Spinoza * Lucy Lethbridge on a suburban haunting * David Gelber on Portugal's dictator * Anthony Cummins on Sigrid Nunez * Steve Richards on the Corbyn years * Darrin M McMahon on the Freemasons  * Piers Brendon on the special relationship * Freya Johnston on the Sharp family * Tom Fort on eels * Keith Miller on French kitchen hell * Elleke Boehmer on Tsitsi Dangarembga  and much, much more…

Jeremy Treglown

Tom Stoppard: A Life

By Hermione Lee

Until I read Hermione Lee’s life of Tom Stoppard, I didn’t know it was possible to bask in envy. As if being handsome, funny and a dazzling writer (and good at cricket and fly-fishing) weren’t enough, Stoppard is immensely rich – not just in money but also, Lee shows, in family, lovers, friends and even, which may sound pompous, moral qualities. ‘What is the Good?’ Emily asks in his 2013 radio play Darkside. ‘It is nothing but a contest of kindness.’ We learn of his devotion to his mother, brother, sons and grandchildren, his ability to stay friends with his exes and his work on behalf of good causes, beneficiaries of which include the opposition in Belarus, which he has supported since before Lukashenko came to power, and refugees encamped at Calais. There are a couple of brilliant paragraphs late in the book... read more

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