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Shipwreck: The Coast of Utopia, Part II (2002)

af Tom Stoppard

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1243172,394 (3.8)2
Shipwreck is the second part of Tom Stoppard's trilogy The Coast of Utopia. It continues the story of the anarchist Michael Bakunin, the critic Vissarion Belinsky, the writer Ivan Turgenev, and their circle, but as the action shifts from Russia to Paris in the year of European revolution, it is Alexander Herzen and his wife Natalie who come to occupy the focus. Isaiah Berlin called Herzen a writer and thinker of genius, one of the greatest of nineteenth-century Russians; and it was here, in the intoxicating anticipation and the dashed hopes of the 1848 revolution - when the loss of his political illusions were overshadowed by a series of personal calamities - that Herzen found his greatness, seeking the way forward for Russia, the just society and the good life.… (mere)
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  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
The second in his Coast of Utopia trilogy, Shipwreck is a tale of the diaspora with the revolutionary idealist Michael Bakunin paired with the more tempered yet complex advocate of freedom, Alexander Herzen. Swirling around these men are other revolutionaries along with their friends, family, lovers and the complications that go along with such a diverse group.
Stoppard tries to hold the characters together as they move through a maze of vignettes. The play, like the first in the trilogy Voyage, is arranged into scenes that are mostly in chronological order moving from place to place as Herzen and Bakunin move throughout Europe. In doing so characters as diverse as Turgenev, Herwegh, Belinsky, and even Karl Marx appear on the scene. Neither Herzen nor Bakunin can return to Russia and one of the funniest scenes occurs when Hersen is in Nice (Novemebr 1851) and the Russian Consul brings him an order from Czar Nicholas I that he must return to Russia. The Consul's discomfort and attempts to persuade Herzen to accede to the Czar's request are progressively more and more ridiculous and hilarious.
Unlike the dreamlike quality of Voyage, Shipwreck is about the reality of their lives. Instead of finding the utopia they have been dreaming about, they discover that revolutions come with harsh penalties, and not much changes after all. In essence, this play is also about growing up. The characters began in Voyage as young men and women with hopes for the future. Their struggles were those of passionate youths hoping to make a difference. In Shipwreck, they have grown up and are now fighting to put their hopes into action. They learn the hard way that life does not always turn out the way we wish. They must face harsh realities and even death. There is a somewhat manic, frantic pace to many of the scenes in Shipwreck that underscores the characters' desperation as they yearn for political change while striving to hold onto some semblance of normalcy in their personal lives. ( )
1 stem jwhenderson | May 23, 2013 |
Contains some beautiful speeches, particularly from Natalie, but for some reason I find it much harder to follow the Coast of Utopia trilogy without having seen it performed than I do most of Stoppard's work. ( )
  Unreachableshelf | Jul 9, 2008 |
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Shipwreck is the second part of Tom Stoppard's trilogy The Coast of Utopia. It continues the story of the anarchist Michael Bakunin, the critic Vissarion Belinsky, the writer Ivan Turgenev, and their circle, but as the action shifts from Russia to Paris in the year of European revolution, it is Alexander Herzen and his wife Natalie who come to occupy the focus. Isaiah Berlin called Herzen a writer and thinker of genius, one of the greatest of nineteenth-century Russians; and it was here, in the intoxicating anticipation and the dashed hopes of the 1848 revolution - when the loss of his political illusions were overshadowed by a series of personal calamities - that Herzen found his greatness, seeking the way forward for Russia, the just society and the good life.

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