Travesties

Tom Stoppard

Published by Grove Press, 1994
ISBN 10: 0802150896 / ISBN 13: 9780802150899
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Synopsis: "Travesties" ws born out of Stoppard's noting that in 1917 three of the twentieth century's most crucial revolutionaries -- James Joyce, the Dadaist founder Tristan Tzara, and Lenin -- were all living in Zurich. Also living in Zurich at this time was a British consula official called Henry Carr, a man acquainted with Joyce through the theater and later through a lawsuit concerning a pair of trousers. Taking Carr as his core, Stoppard spins this historical coincidence into a masterful and riotously funny play, a speculative portrait of what could have been the meeting of these profoundly influential men in a germinal Europe as seen through the lucid, lurid, faulty, and wholy riveting memory of an aging Henry Carr.

Review: Praise for Travesties

"Mind-bending splendor . . . a prismatic text . . . The hilarity comes fast and frequent throughout."--New York Times (2016)

"[A] brilliantly zany, effervescently erudite comedy about writers, artists, and revolutionaries holed up in neutral Zurich during the First World War . . . Stoppard crafts what is at once a hilarious riff on The Importance of Being Earnest and a playful, poignant memory play."--New York

"A gushing waterfall of wordplay, a fine-tuned literary torrent that only begins by covering love, sex, war, memory, and Marxism. Also James Joyce, Dada, the fine art of men's tailoring, and The Importance of Being Earnest."--Entertainment Weekly

"Set during World War I in Zurich, the famously neutral city that in 1917 counted among its residents author James Joyce, revolutionist Vladimir Lenin and poet Tristan Tzara, a founder of the freethinking artistic movement known as Dada. Only a playwright as brilliantly inventive as Stoppard could put all that together to come up with an uproarious work that seriously questions the nature of art."--Newsday

"[R]azzlingdazzling effervescence of language that erupts and bubbles throughout the evening . . . It is as iridescent as a rainbow glimpsed in a dirty puddle and almost as surprisingly elusive . . . It is also a play that is clever, adroit and, partly because it succeeds so well in being both, ultimately moving . . . It is so pleasant to go to the theater for once when the entertainment offered is not just illuminating, but is actually dazzling."--New York Times (1975)

"Travesties provides a cultural guidebook to the post-Great War zeitgeist as seen through the eyes of a playwright who, like Wilde, interweaves the classicist and the clown."--Chicago Tribune

"The external brilliances in Travesties, its manic virtuosity of language, its diabolical manipulation of time and notion, cannot elude any visitor to Tom Stoppard's achingly funny verbal prank . . . It's brilliant, stunning, a miracle!"--New York

"Travesties is a brilliant, theatrical masterstroke. Crunchingly witty with a thousand laughs and nine hundred thoughts."--Newsweek

"A knockout! Travesties is a brilliant, dazzling play."--New York Daily News

"Travesties glows as Tom Stoppard's best."--New York Post

"[Travesties is] a Dadaist collage, a word-drunk dance and a political argument . . . [it] is also a frothy comedy of manners . . . a real achievement . . . dazzling."--Washington Post

"Travesties is an intellectual tease, a perfect mind-bender of a play."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Has there ever been a more genially erudite entertainment than this manic gloss on The Importance of Being Earnest, this nutty disquisition on politics and war and, most especially, art? I think not . . . The real fun of this play is in the details, the vaudeville routines that not only punctuate the script but often, in uncanny and inexplicable ways, advance it."--Philadelphia Inquirer

"A dazzling pyrotechnical feat that combines Wildean pastiche, political history, artistic debate, spoof reminiscence, and song-and-dance in marvelously judicious proportions. The text itself is a Joycean web of literary allusions; yet it also radiates sheer intellectual joie de vivre, as if Stoppard were delightedly communicating the fruits of his own researches."--Guardian (UK)

"Tom Stoppard's Travesties is witty, playful and wise. Forty years on, it is starting to look timeless as well."--Sunday Times (UK)

"It is a champagne cocktail, compounded of a balletic nimbleness of invention, a bewildering intricacy of design which reaches the sublime heights where mathematics merge with poetry, and the audacious juggling of a master conjuror."--Sunday Telegraph (UK)

"Exuberant, extraordinary jeu d'esprit . . . an intellectual workout on a dramatic trampoline."--Daily Mail (UK)

"A multi-layered confection of art, song, literature and pastiche . . . [a] dazzling intellectual pantomime."--Spectator (UK)

"Humongously funny . . . [Stoppard has a] peerless gift for word games."--Arts Desk

"Brace yourself. Tom Stoppard's 1974 play achieves the near impossible. Set in Zurich, 1917, when Switzerland, or the 'still wheel of war, ' was brimful of artists, writers and revolutionaries, it mashes together the ideas that shaped much of the last century and, at the same time, has fun. Yes, fun."--Jewish Chronicle (UK)

"Drop-dead brilliant."--Express (UK)

"Prime early, funny Stoppard . . . the perfect Stoppardian mix of the intellectually heavy and the soufflé-light."--Financial Times (UK)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Travesties
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: 1994
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: New

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