Tom Stoppard was born Tomas Straussler in Zlin, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). His family fled to Singapore when the Nazi's invaded on March 14, 1939. Before the Japanese invasion of Singapore he was evacuated with his mother to India. His father stayed behind and was killed. It was India that his mother remarried, to Kenneth Stoppard, a British Army major in India. Major Stoppard adopted Tomas, giving them his last name - Tomas Straussler became Tom Stoppard.
Even from his earliest works, there are signature Stoppard elements that were to become his trademarks. He has been criticized for writing overly clever and erudite plays. Critics have also charged that his plays and characters are too steeped in intellectualism, another Stoppard trademark. Stoppard has stated that as he grows older, he conceals himself less and his writing has become more a product of his true self.
He has accumulated many awards and high honours. In 1978, the Queen knighted him making him Sir Tom Stoppard, the first dramatist since 1971 to receive a knighthood. In 2000, he received the Order of Merit, a personal honour from the Queen, and the French Government honoured him as an Officier de l'Ordes des Arts and Lettres
Bloom Harold, 2003, Tom Stoppard, Chelsea House, Philadelphia
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