Article Title

'It Is Written': Tom Stoppard and the Drama of the Intertext


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

In Tom Stoppard's 1964 story, "Life, Times: Fragments," the writer-protagonist seeks originality by consciously denying the influence of previous writers: imagining himself a general on the field of battle, he surveys the corpses of the powerful precursors he has just vanquished. His first person accounts, however, are inevitably derivative, filled with the haunting echoes of the very writers-primarily Beckett and Hemingwayhe has supposedly killed off by the force of his own self-originary powers. "Artistic recyclying" -dramatic allusion, intertextuality, parody, travesty-is not only inevitable, Stoppard is telling us, but necessary; it is only in the interweaving of texts-the "convergences of different threads" as Stoppard called it-that the new text emerges.1

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