Page 4 - Boca ViewPointe - June '21
P. 4

Page 4, Viewpointe                                                    June 2021

      Book Review

      The Shaygetz (rude fellow) &                       managers, and rehearsing actors while
                                                         driven to create his masterpieces. One
      The Mensch (model fellow)                          cannot help but be amazed at Hermione
                                                         Lee’s rendering of this ambitious writer. I
      Blake Bailey. Philip Roth, The Biography. New York: W.W.   knew Stoppard as a successful experimental
      Norton & Company. 2021.                            playwright but hadn’t been aware of just
      Hermione Lee. Tom Stoppard, A Life. New York: Alfred A.   how widespread his drive and range of
      Knopf, 2021.                                       work, notably his journalism, television
      “We are such stuff as dreams are made on,          and major involvement in movies, script
      And our little life is rounded with a sleep.” Shakespeare  doctor to Steven Spielberg and contributor
      “Fame is No plant that grows on mortal soil.” John Milton  of a limerick to the musical Cats. Like
      “not with a bang but a whimper.” T.S. Eliot        Shakespeare who escaped the dead-end
                                                         life of an apprentice in Stratford to become
      By Dr. Ronald J. Meyers                            a phenomenon, Stoppard too overcame the
                                                         traumas of his youth to become a creative,
         Two images stand out                            civil human being.
      to me from Tom Stoppard’s                             In contrast, there was Philip Roth’s
      drama. The game of chance                          charge to his biographer Blake Bailey,
      at the opening of Rosencrantz                      after Ms. Lee turned down his request to designate her,      Bailey quotes Roth’s obsessive commitment: “I write
      and Guildenstern are Dead,                         not to rehabilitate him—but only to make him interesting.   for a simple and ridiculous pathological reason—because
      Hamlet’s East European                             Roth was born to an observant Jewish family, enjoyed a   I cannot stop myself.” Ambition? Atonement? His wives
      university chums play                              loving home environment in Newark, New Jersey, attended   and companions were compelled to wait in the wings as
      intensively, and the game                          the best schools and universities, and turned his anger and   he entered his studio for nine or ten hours a day. All of the
      reflects the tenuousness and                       resentment into literature. Bailey’s biography is outrageous   time and in all of his relations, he was trolling for material
      uncertainty of Stoppard’s                          in its representation of the priapic Roth roughly between   to bolster his writing. Roth enjoyed his life as a celebrity,
      own life; it could have gone so many bad ways but for the   Portnoy’s Complaint and Sabbath’s Theater, where the hero’s   with flings, in Bailey’s account, with the likes of Barbara
      luck of the roll. At the outset of the Holocaust in the late   stated aspiration was “to affront and affront and affront till
      nineteen thirties, the Sträusslers, a Jewish family escaped   there was no one on earth unaffronted.”  Book Review on page 5
      from Czechoslovakia to Singapore where Eugen, the father,
      perished, thence the widow Marta continued to India where
      she met an English officer Major Kenneth Stoppard who
      married and brought her and her two sons to Great Britain;                       Board Of Directors
      there the younger son Tom was raised as an English lad,
      following the Anglican faith, playing cricket, and pursued
      his inclination to become a writer, and indeed the dominant   May 2021 – May 2022 Officers/Executive Committee
      voice of English language drama of his time. Unlikely as
      landing a continuous string of sevens.               Chairman and President  Barry J. Haberman       District 5 Howard Weinstein (El Dorado)
         The other image from the film authored by Stoppard,   Vice Chair      Steve Retzer                   Esplanada, Caravelle, Palomar, La Corniche,
      Shakespeare in Love, depicts the playwright Shakespeare   Secretary      Steve  King                    and El Dorado
      consumed and driven by his life’s work, balancing    Treasurer           Harvey  Kaplan              District 6 Connie Murray (Villa Flora)

                                                                                                             Villa Flora, Montego Bay, Villa del Sol, and Palladium
      writing scenes, interacting and arguing with producers,
                                                           District Directors                              District 7 Alan Markoff (The Plum)
                                                           District 1 Mary Ann Frazier (Palms)                The Plum/Cortina, Villa Sonrisa and Pointe 100
                                                              Encantada, Valencia and The Palms            District 8 Robert Cornell (Costa Brava)
                                                           District 2 Steve King (Imperial Royale)            Costa del Sol and Costa Brava
                                                              Promenade, Imperial Royale, Imperial, Regency   District 9 Robin Gliboff (Edgewater)
                                                              and Panaché                                     Edgewater Pointe Estates and Stratford Court
                                                           District 3 Harvey Kaplan (Meridiana)
                                                              La Mirada and Meridiana                              At Large Directors
                                                           District 4 Michael Ehrentreu (El Viento)
                                                              El Viento, La Paz, and Southwinds    Through 2022                Through 2023
                                                                                                   Chandra Stewart-Keith (Panaché)  Barry J. Haberman (Encantada)
                                                                                                   Bob Greenstein (Lakes of La Paz)  Marvin Lazarowitz (Via Stel)
                                                                                                   Steve Retzer (La Mirada)    Carsten Bethge (Valencia)

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