Harold Pinter

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Harold Pinter
Born 10 October 1930(1930-10-10)
Hackney, London, England
Died 24 December 2008 (aged 78)
West London, England
Occupation Playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, author, political activist
Nationality British
Citizenship British
Alma mater Hackney Downs School (1944–1948)
Writing period 1950–2008
Genres Drama, screenplay, poetry, fiction, essay
Notable work(s) The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, Betrayal
The Servant, The Go-Between, The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Trial, Sleuth
Art, Truth and Politics
Notable award(s) David Cohen Prize (1995)
Laurence Olivier Award (1996)
Companion of Honour (2002)
Nobel Prize in Literature (2005)
Légion d'honneur (2007)
Spouse(s) Antonia Fraser (1980–2008)
Vivien Merchant (1956–1980)
Children six stepchildren with Fraser
one son with Merchant
Official website
Literature portal

Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008), an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, author, political activist, and the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature, was at the time of his death considered by many "the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation."[1]

After publishing poetry and acting in school plays while still a teenager, Pinter began his theatrical career in the mid-1950s as a repertory actor using the stage name David Baron. Beginning with his first play, The Room (1957), Pinter's writing career spanned over half a century and produced 29 original stage plays; 27 screenplays; many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays; poetry; one novel; short fiction; and essays, speeches, and letters—many of whose manuscripts are owned and catalogued by the British Library. His best-known works include The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted to film, and his screenplay adaptations of others' works, such as The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He directed almost 50 stage, television, and film productions, as well as acted extensively in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works.[2] Despite frail health since being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, performing the title role in a critically-acclaimed production of Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006.[1]

Pinter's dramas often involve strong conflicts among ambivalent characters who struggle for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own versions of the past; stylistically, these works are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, irony, and menace.[3] Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual identity oppressed by social forces, language, and vicissitudes of memory.[4] Although Pinter publicly eschewed applying the term "political theatre" to his own work in 1981, he began writing overtly political plays in the mid-1980s, reflecting his own heightening political interests and changes in his personal life; this "new direction" in his work and his left-wing political activism stimulated additional critical debate about Pinter's politics.[5] Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary.[3]

In addition to the Nobel Prize in Literature and the French Légion d'honneur, Pinter received 20 honorary degrees and numerous other prizes and awards. Academic institutions and performing arts organizations have devoted symposia, festivals, and celebrations to him and his work, in recognition of his cultural influence and achievements across genres and media. In awarding Pinter's Nobel Prize, instigating some public controversy and criticism,[6] the Swedish Academy cited him for being "generally regarded as the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century" and noted: "That he occupies a position as a modern classic is illustrated by his name entering the language as an adjective used to describe a particular atmosphere and environment in drama: 'Pinteresque' "[7]—a word he detested and found meaningless.[8] Two weeks after withdrawing from the honorary degree ceremony at the Central School of Speech and Drama due to illness and receiving it in absentia,[9] he died from cancer and was buried the following week at Kensal Green Cemetery, in North West London.[10]


[edit] Biography

[edit] Personal background

Pinter was born on 10 October 1930, in Hackney, East London, to "very respectable, Jewish, lower middle class," native English parents of Eastern-European ancestry; his father, Jack Pinter (1902–1997), was a "ladies' tailor" and his mother, Frances (née Moskowitz; 1904–1992), "kept what is called an immaculate house" and was "a wonderful cook."[11] Correcting general knowledge about Pinter's family background, Michael Billington, Pinter's authorised biographer, documents that "three of Pinter's grandparents hail from Poland and one from Odessa, making them Ashkenazic rather than Sephardic Jews" (Harold Pinter 1–5). His evacuation from the family home at 19 Thistlewaite Road, "a solid, red-brick, three-storey villa just off the noisy, bustling, traffic-ridden thoroughfare of the Lower Clapton Road" (2), to Cornwall and Reading during 1940 and 1941, before and during the Blitz, and facing "the life-and-death intensity of daily experience" at that time influenced him profoundly, with Pinter's "prime memories of evacuation" being "of loneliness, bewilderment, separation and loss: themes that are in all his works" (5–10).[12]

[edit] Education

Although he was a "solitary" only child, he "discovered his true potential" as a student at Hackney Downs School, the London grammar school "where Pinter spent the formative years from 1944 to 1948. ... Partly through the school and partly through the social life of Hackney Boys' Club ... he formed an almost sacerdotal belief in the power of male friendship. The friends he made in those days—most particularly Henry Woolf, Michael (Mick) Goldstein and Morris (Moishe) Wernick—have always been a vital part of the emotional texture of his life" (Billington, Harold Pinter 11; cf. Woolf). Significantly "inspired" by his English teacher, mentor, and friend Joseph Brearley, "Pinter shone at English, wrote for the school magazine and discovered a gift for acting" (Billington, Harold Pinter 10–11).[13] He played Romeo and Macbeth in 1947 and 1948, in productions directed by Brearley (Billington, Harold Pinter 13–14).[13] During his Hackney Downs School years, at the age of 12, Pinter began writing poetry, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, "Pinter continued to write poetry and short prose pieces; his poetry was first published in Poetry London in 1950 under the pseudonym Harold Pinta."[14] He also especially enjoyed running and broke the Hackney Downs School sprinting record (Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 28–29).[15]

[edit] Sport and friendship

Pinter was an avid cricket enthusiast most of his life, taking his cricket bat with him when he was evacuated as a pre-teenager during the Blitz (Billington, Harold Pinter 7–9; 410). In 1971 he told Gussow: "one of my main obsessions in life is the game of cricket—I play and watch and read about it all the time" (Conversations with Pinter 25). Being Chairman of the Gaieties Cricket Club and a "lifetime support[er] of the Yorkshire Cricket Club" (8), Pinter devoted an entire section of his official website to the sport ("Gaieties Cricket Club"). One wall of his study was dominated by "A huge portrait of a younger, vigorous Mr. Pinter playing cricket, one of his great passions ... The painted Mr. Pinter, poised to swing his bat, has a wicked glint in his eye; testosterone all but flies off the canvas" (Lyall, "Still Pinteresque" 16 [illus.]).[16] As Billington documents, "Robert Winder observes how even Pinter's passion for cricket was far removed from a jocular, country-house pursuit: 'Harold stands for a different tradition, a more urban and exacting idea of cricket as a bold theatre of aggression' " (Harold Pinter 410).[15] His last interview, conducted by Andy Bull, of the Guardian, two months before Pinter's death and published a few days after it, was "on a subject very dear to the playwright's heart: cricket," revealing "his childhood love of cricket and why it is better than sex."

Other main loves or interests that he mentioned to Gussow, Billington, and other interviewers (in varying order of priority) are family, love (of women) and sex, drinking, writing, and reading.[17] According to Billington, "If the notion of male loyalty, competitive rivalry and fear of betrayal forms a constant thread in Pinter's work from The Dwarfs onwards, its origins can be found in his teenage Hackney years. Pinter adores women, enjoys flirting with them, worships their resilience and strength. But, in his early work especially, they are often seen as disruptive influences on some pure, Platonic ideal of male friendship: one of the most crucial of all Pinter's lost Edens" (Harold Pinter 10–12).[18]

[edit] Early theatrical training and stage experience

Beginning in late 1948, Pinter attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) for two terms, but "loathing" RADA, he missed most of his classes, feigned a nervous breakdown, and dropped out in 1949.[19] That year he was also "called up for National Service," registered as a conscientious objector, was brought to trial twice, and ultimately fined by the magistrate for refusing to serve (Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25).

He had a "walk-on" role in Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Chesterfield Hippodrome in 1949 to 1950.[20] From January to July 1951, he "endured six months at the Central School of Speech and Drama."[21] From 1951 to 1952, he toured Ireland with the Anew McMaster repertory company, playing over a dozen roles.[22] In 1952 he began regional repertory acting jobs in England; from 1953 to 1954, he worked for the Donald Wolfit Company, King's Theatre, Hammersmith, performing eight roles.[2][23] From 1954 until 1959, Pinter acted under the stage name David Baron.[24] As Batty observes: "Following his brief stint with Wolfit's company in 1953, this was to be Pinter's daily life for five years, and his prime manner of earning a living alongside stints as a waiter, a postman, a bouncer and snow-clearer whilst all the time harbouring ambitions as a poet and writer" (About Pinter 10).

In Pinter: The Player's Playwright, David Thompson "itemises all the performances Pinter gave in the [David] Baron years," including those in English regional repertory companies, nearly twenty-five roles.[25] In October 1989, Pinter told Mel Gussow: "I was in English rep as an actor for about 12 years. My favourite roles were undoubtedly the sinister ones. They're something to get your teeth into" (Conversations with Pinter 83). During that period, he also performed occasional roles in his own and others' works (for radio, TV, and film), as he did later as well.[2][26]

[edit] Marriage and family life

From 1956 until 1980, Pinter was married to Vivien Merchant, a rep actress whom he met on tour, probably best known for her performance in the original film Alfie (1966); their son, Daniel, was born in 1958 (Billington, Harold Pinter 54, 75). Through the early 1970s, Merchant appeared in many of Pinter's works, most notably The Homecoming on stage (1965) and screen (1973), but the marriage was turbulent and began disintegrating in the mid-1960s (252–56). For seven years, from 1962 to 1969, Pinter was engaged in a clandestine affair with Joan Bakewell, which inspired his 1978 play Betrayal (264–66).

In January 1975, he became romantically involved with historian Lady Antonia Fraser, wife of Sir Hugh Fraser, confessing their affair to Vivien Merchant "in late March" and then, after "Life in Hanover Terrace [with Merchant] gradually became impossible," moving out of their house on 28 April 1975, five days into Peter Hall's première of No Man's Land; several months after he had already moved in with Lady Antonia (Billington, Harold Pinter 253–54). After "threatening all summer to sue Pinter for divorce, publicly citing Antonia if he did not return to her," on 27 July 1975, Merchant finally filed for divorce, resulting in "press fascination" with their break up (253).[27] At first, Daniel lived with him, for "According to Pinter, Vivien couldn't cope with bringing up Daniel alone" (253). From temporary borrowed and rented quarters, Pinter and Antonia Fraser eventually "moved back into her Holland Park family home in August 1977" (254–55).[28] After the Frasers' divorce had become final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980, in the third week of October 1980, Pinter married Antonia Fraser; however, due to a two-week delay in Merchant's signing the divorce papers, the reception had to precede the actual ceremony, originally scheduled "to coincide with Pinter's fiftieth birthday" on 10 October 1980 (271–72).

Unable to overcome her bitterness and grief at the loss of her husband, Vivien Merchant died of acute alcoholism in the first week of October 1982 at the age of 53 (Billington, Harold Pinter 276).[29] According to Billington, who cites Merchant's close friends and Pinter's associates, Pinter "did everything possible to support" her until her death and regretted that he ultimately became estranged from their son, Daniel, after their separation, Pinter's remarriage, and Merchant's death (276, 345–47). A reclusive gifted musician and writer (345), Daniel stopped using the surname Pinter, having adopted instead "his maternal grandmother's maiden name," Brand, at the time that he was living with Pinter and Fraser in the summer of 1975; according to Billington, Pinter did not regard Daniel's change of name as "a symbolic rejection of himself" but rather as "a largely pragmatic move on Daniel's part designed to keep the press, who [at that time] had been relentlessly hounding him also, at bay" (255).

While Billington observes that "The break-up with Vivien and the new life with Antonia was to have a profound effect on Pinter's personality and his work," he also acknowledges that she herself "is quick to qualify the idea that she had any direct input into his plays and points out that other people [such as Pinter's good friend actress Peggy Ashcroft, among others] had a shaping influence on his politics," attributing later changes in his writing and his "engagement with the public world" to the "drastic change" from "an unhappy, complicated personal life ... to a happy, uncomplicated personal life," so that "a side of Harold which had always been there was somehow released. I think you can see that in his work after No Man's Land [1975,] which was a very bleak play" (255).

Pinter stated publicly in interviews that he was "very happy" in his second marriage and enjoyed family life with his six adult stepchildren and 17 step-grandchildren,[30] and, after battling cancer for a long period, considered himself "a very lucky man in every respect."[31] According to Lyall, who interviewed him in London for her Sunday New York Times preview of Sleuth, Pinter's "latest work, a slim pamphlet called 'Six Poems for A.,' comprises poems written over 32 years, with 'A' being Lady Antonia. The first of the poems was written in Paris, where she and Pinter travelled soon after they met. More than three decades later the two were rarely apart, and Mr. Pinter turned soft, even cozy, when he talked about his wife" ("Still Pinteresque" 16). In the interview conducted by Lyall, Pinter "acknowledged that his plays––full of infidelity, cruelty, inhumanity, the lot––seem at odds with his domestic contentment. 'How can you write a happy play?' he said. 'Drama is about conflict and degrees of perturbation, disarray. I've never been able to write a happy play, but I've been able to enjoy a happy life' " ("Still Pinteresque" 16).

[edit] Career

Pinter was the author of 29 plays, 15 dramatic sketches, 27 screenplays and film scripts for cinema and television, a novel, and other prose fiction, essays, and speeches, many poems, and co-author of two works for stage and radio.[3] Along with the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play for The Homecoming and several other American awards and award nominations, he and his plays received many awards in the UK and elsewhere throughout the world.[32] His screenplays for The French Lieutenant's Woman and Betrayal were nominated for Academy Awards in the category of "Writing: Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium" in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

[edit] 1957–2001

The Room (1957)

Pinter's first play, The Room, written in 1957, was a student production at the University of Bristol, "commissioned" and directed by his good friend (later acclaimed) actor Henry Woolf, who also originated the role of Mr. Kidd (which he reprised in 2001 and 2007). After Pinter had mentioned that he had an "idea" for a play, Woolf asked him to write it so that he could direct it as part of fulfilling requirements for his postgraduate work. Pinter wrote it in three days.[33] To mark and celebrate the 50th anniversary of that first production of The Room, Woolf reprised his role of Mr. Kidd, as well as his role of the Man in Pinter's play Monologue, in April 2007, as part of an international conference at the University of Leeds, Artist and Citizen: 50 Years of Performing Pinter.

"Comedies of menace"

The Birthday Party (1957), Pinter's second play and among his best-known, was initially both a commercial and critical disaster, despite a rave review in the Sunday Times by its influential drama critic Harold Hobson, which appeared only after the production had closed and could not be reprieved (Hobson, "The Screw Turns Again").[34] Critical accounts often quote Hobson's prophetic words:

One of the actors in Harold Pinter[']s The Birthday Party at the Lyric, Hammersmith, announces in the programme that he read History at Oxford, and took his degree with Fourth Class Honours. Now I am well aware that Mr Pinter[']s play received extremely bad notices last Tuesday morning. At the moment I write these it is uncertain even whether the play will still be in the bill by the time they appear, though it is probable it will soon be seen elsewhere. Deliberately, I am willing to risk whatever reputation I have as a judge of plays by saying that The Birthday Party is not a Fourth, not even a Second, but a First; and that Pinter, on the evidence of his work, possesses the most original, disturbing and arresting talent in theatrical London.... Mr Pinter and The Birthday Party, despite their experiences last week, will be heard of again. Make a note of their names.

Hobson was generally credited by Pinter himself and other critics as bolstering him and perhaps even rescuing his career (Billington, Harold Pinter 85); for example, in their September 1993 interview, Pinter told the New York Times critic Mel Gussow: "I felt pretty discouraged before Hobson. He had a tremendous influence on my life" (141).

In a review published in 1958, borrowing from the subtitle of The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, a play by David Campton (1924–2006), critic Irving Wardle called Pinter's early plays "comedy of menace"—a label that people have applied repeatedly to his work, at times "pigeonholing" and attempting to "tame" it.[35][36] Such plays begin with an apparently innocent situation that becomes both threatening and "absurd" as Pinter's characters behave in ways often perceived as inexplicable by his audiences and one another. Pinter acknowledges the influence of Samuel Beckett, particularly on his early work; they became friends, sending each other drafts of their works in progress for comments.[37]

In 1964, four years after the success of The Caretaker in 1960, which established Pinter's theatrical reputation (Jones), The Birthday Party was revived both on television (with Pinter himself in the role of Goldberg) and on stage (directed by Pinter at the Aldwych) and well received (Merritt, Pinter in Play 18, 219–20). By the time Peter Hall's London production of The Homecoming (1964) reached Broadway (1967), Harold Pinter had become a celebrity playwright, and the play garnered four Tony awards, among other awards ("Harold Pinter" at the Internet Broadway Database).

"Memory plays"

From the late sixties through the early eighties, Pinter wrote Landscape (1968), Silence (1969), "Night" (1969), Old Times (1971), No Man's Land (1975), The Proust Screenplay (1977), Betrayal (1978), Family Voices (1981), and A Kind of Alaska (1982), all of which dramatise complex ambiguities, elegiac mysteries, comic vagaries, and other "quicksand"-like characteristics of memory and which critics sometimes categorise as Pinter's "memory plays".[4]

Pinter's plays Party Time (1991), Moonlight (1993), Ashes to Ashes (1996), and Celebration (2000) draw upon some features of his "memory" dramaturgy in their focus on the past in the present, but they have personal and political resonances and other tonal differences from these more-clearly-identifiable "memory plays".[4][38]

Pinter's overtly-political plays

During the 1980s, after the three-year period of "creative blankness in the early 1980s" following his marriage to Lady Antonia Fraser and the death of Vivien Merchant, as mentioned by Billington (Harold Pinter 258), Pinter's plays tended to become shorter and more overtly political, serving as critiques of oppression, torture, and other abuses of human rights,[39] linked by the apparent "invulnerability of power" (Grimes 119). After writing the brief dramatic sketch Precisely (1983), a duologue between two bureaucrats exposing the absurd power politics of mutual nuclear annihilation and deterrence, he wrote his first full-length overtly-political one-act play, One for the Road (1984). In a 1985 interview called "A Play and Its Politics", conducted by Nicholas Hern, published in the Grove Press edition of One for the Road, Pinter states that whereas his earlier plays presented "metaphors" for power and powerlessness (8–9), the later ones present literal "realities" of power and its abuse (16–17, 21). Grimes proposes, "If it is too much to say that Pinter faults himself for his earlier political inactivity, his political theater dramatizes the interplay and conflict of the opposing poles of involvement and disengagement" (19).

In the 1990s, he also wrote the political satire Party Time, first as a play for the stage (Faber and Faber, 1991),[40] and then revised and adapted it as a television screenplay (Faber and Faber, 1994).[41] From 1992 to 1999, reflecting both personal and political concerns, Pinter wrote Moonlight (1993) and Ashes to Ashes (1996), full-length plays with domestic settings relating to death and dying and (in the latter case) to such atrocities as the Holocaust. In this period, after the deaths of first his mother and then his father, again merging the personal and the political, Pinter wrote the poems "Death" (1997) (which he read in his 2005 Nobel Lecture) and "The Disappeared" (1998).

Pinter's last stage play, Celebration (2000), is a social satire, with fewer political resonances than such plays as One for the Road (1984), Mountain Language (1988), Party Time (1991), and Ashes to Ashes (1996); the last three extend expressionistic aspects of Pinter's "memory plays" (Billington, Harold Pinter; Grimes). Late in 2000, Pinter's collaboration with director Di Trevis resulted in their stage adaptation of his as-yet unfilmed 1972 work The Proust Screenplay, entitled Remembrance of Things Past (both based on Marcel Proust's famous seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time), which opened at the Cottesloe Theatre (NT) on 27 November 2000, running at the NT through February 2001. There was also a revival of The Caretaker directed by Patrick Marber and starring Michael Gambon (as Davies), Rupert Graves (as Mick), and Douglas Hodge (as Aston), playing simultaneously at the Comedy Theatre, in London's West End, from November 2000 to February 2001.

Pinter as actor

Pinter's acting career spanned over fifty years and, despite his critical reputation for generally playing the "heavy", included many widely-ranging roles in all four dramatic media: radio, stage, film, and television.[2][42][43] In addition to roles in radio and television adaptations of his own plays and dramatic sketches, early in his screenwriting career, he made several cameo appearances in films based on his own screenplays; for example, as a society man in The Servant (1963) and as Mr. Bell in Accident (1967), both directed by Joseph Losey; and as a bookshop customer in his later film Turtle Diary (dir. John Irvin, 1985), starring Michael Gambon, Glenda Jackson, and Ben Kingsley.[2][42] His notable acting film and television roles in his later years included a drunk Irish journalist in Langrishe, Go Down (dir. David Hugh Jones), starring Judi Dench and Jeremy Irons (distributed on DVD by Image Entertainment after being shown originally on BBC Two in 1978)[42]; it was re-released in movie theatres on 16 mm film in 2002, after being screened in The Spaces Between the Words: A Tribute to Harold Pinter, by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, held from 21 to 31 July 2001, as part of the Harold Pinter Festival, at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in New York City, which began on 16 July.[44] On the big screen Pinter also played a criminal named Sam Ross in Mojo (written and dir. by Jez Butterworth, 1997), based on Butterworth's own 1995 stage play Mojo, set in London of the 1950s; Sir Thomas Bertram in Mansfield Park (1998, dir. Patricia Rozema), distributed in 1999 as part of The Patricia Rozema DVD Collection, by Alliance Atlantis, a character whom Pinter described in publicity posted on his website as "a very civilised man ... a man of great sensibility but in fact, he's upholding and sustaining a totally brutal system [the slave trade] from which he derives his money..."; and Uncle Benny, opposite Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush, in The Tailor of Panama (dir. John Boorman, 2001).[2] In other television films, he played a corrupt lawyer named Saul Abrahams,[42] opposite Peter O'Toole, in BBC TV's Rogue Male (dir. Clive Donner, 1976)—a remake of the 1941 film noir Man Hunt, by Fritz Lang—released on DVD by Diamond Entertainment in 2002; the Director opposite John Gielgud (Gielgud's last role) and Rebecca Pidgeon in Catastrophe, by Samuel Beckett (dir. David Mamet), part of Beckett On Film (2001); and Mr. Bearing, the father of ovarian cancer patient Vivian Bearing (played by Emma Thompson), in the HBO film of Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit (dir. Mike Nichols, 2001).[2][42]

Pinter as director

Pinter began to direct more frequently during the 1970s, becoming an associate director of the National Theatre (NT) in 1973 and directing almost 50 productions of his own and others' plays for stage, film, and television. Pinter helmed 10 productions of works by Simon Gray, including the stage and/or film premières of Butley (stage, 1971; film, 1974), Otherwise Engaged (1975), The Rear Column (stage, 1978; TV, 1980), Close of Play (NT, 1979), Quartermaine's Terms (1981), Life Support (1997), The Late Middle Classes (1999), and The Old Masters (2004). Several of those productions starred Alan Bates (1934–2003), who originated the stage and screen roles of not only Butley but also Mick in Pinter's first major commercial success, The Caretaker (stage, 1960; film, 1964), and Nicolas in One for the Road and the cab driver in Victoria Station, in Pinter's own double-bill produced at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1984. Among over 35 stage plays, he also directed Next of Kin (1974), by John Hopkins; Blithe Spirit (1976), by Noël Coward; Circe and Bravo (1986), by Donald Freed; Taking Sides (1995), by Ronald Harwood, and Twelve Angry Men (1996), by Reginald Rose.[2][45]

Lincoln Center Harold Pinter Festival (16–31 July 2001)

In the last two weeks of July 2001, a Harold Pinter Festival celebrating his work curated by Michael Colgan, artistic director of the Gate Theatre, Dublin, was held at the Lincoln Center in New York City, in which he participated both as an actor, as Nicolas in One for the Road, and as a director of a double bill pairing his last play, Celebration, with his first play, The Room.[46]

World Leaders Festival of Creative Genius (24 September–30 October 2001)

In October 2001, as part of a two-week "Harold Pinter Homage" at the World Leaders Festival of Creative Genius, at Harbourfront Centre, in Toronto, following the reception and during the dinner honouring him, he presented a dramatic reading of Celebration (2000) and also participated in a public interview as part of the International Festival of Authors.[47]

[edit] 2002–2008

Late in 2001, Pinter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, for which, in 2002, he underwent what he described afterwards in published and broadcast interviews as a "successful" operation and chemotherapy, thanking both his "brilliant surgeon" and his "brilliant wife" for their efforts on his behalf during that period.[48] During the course of his treatment, he directed a production of his play No Man's Land, wrote and performed in his new sketch "Press Conference" for a two-part otherwise-retrospective production of his dramatic sketches at the National Theatre (415–16). Since 2002, having become increasingly "engaged" as "a citizen" (Merritt, Pinter in Play 179), Pinter continued to write and present politically-charged poetry, essays, speeches and two new screenplay adaptations of others' plays, "The Tragedy of King Lear", based on Shakespeare's King Lear (completed in 2000 but unfilmed); and "Sleuth", based on Anthony Shaffer's 1970 play Sleuth (written in 2005, with revisions completed later for the 2007 film Sleuth).[49]

PinterFest, Manitoba Theatre Centre, 9–25 January 2003

In 2003, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, in Manitoba, Canada, held a nearly month-long PinterFest, in which "over a 130 performances" of a dozen of Pinter's plays were produced by a dozen different theatre companies.[50]

Public announcement of "retirement" from playwriting (February 2005)

On 28 February 2005, in an interview conducted by Mark Lawson on the BBC Radio 4 programme Front Row, Pinter announced publicly that he would stop writing plays to dedicate himself to his political activism and writing poetry: "I think I've written 29 plays. I think it's enough for me. I think I've found other forms now. My energies are going in different directions—over the last few years I've made a number of political speeches at various locations and ceremonies ... I'm using a lot of energy more specifically about political states of affairs, which I think are very, very worrying as things stand."

In later interviews and correspondence, he vowed to " 'keep fighting' " politically,[51] remaining committed to writing and publishing poetry (e.g., his poems "The Special Relationship", "Laughter", and "The Watcher") and to continuing political pressure against the "status quo," battling politically what he considered social injustices. Personally, he was also battling post-oesophageal cancer bouts of ill health, including "a rare skin disease called pemphigus"—that "very, very mysterious skin condition which emanated from the Brazilian jungle", as he described it[52] —and "a form of septicaemia which afflict[ed] his feet and [made] movement slow and laborious" (Billington, Harold Pinter 394).[53] Yet, despite these afflictions, Pinter completed his screenplay for Sleuth in 2005 (418–20).

Voices (10 October 2005)

His last dramatic work, Voices (2005), a collaboration with composer James Clarke, adapting such selected works by Pinter to music, premièred on BBC Radio 3 on his 75th birthday (10 October 2005), three days before the October 13th announcement that he had won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature (Billington, Harold Pinter 420).

Europe Theatre Prize (8–12 March 2006)

In an interview of Pinter on 12 March 2006, conducted as part of the Europe Theatre Prize award ceremony, in Turin, Italy, which was part of the cultural program of the XX Winter Olympic Games, Billington asked Pinter, "Is the itch to put pen to paper still there?" He replied, "Yes. It's just a question of what the form is ... I've been writing poetry since my youth and I'm sure I'll keep on writing it till I conk out. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've written 29 damn plays. Isn't that enough?"[52] In response, audience members shouted "in unison" a resounding No, urging him to keep writing (Merritt, "Europe Theatre Prize Celebration"). The program of events included the symposium on Pinter: Passion, Poetry, and Politics, curated by Billington; new productions (in French) of The New World Order (1991), Press Conference (2002), Precisely (1984), Mountain Language (1988), One for the Road (1984) and Party Time (1991), "Six short political works by Harold Pinter, in the unpublished French versions by Jean Pavans"; and Pinter Plays, Poetry & Prose, an evening of dramatic readings by actors Charles Dance, Michael Gambon, Jeremy Irons, and Penelope Wilton, directed by Alan Stanford, of the Gate Theatre, Dublin.[54]

BAFTA Celebration and "Apart From That" (June 2006)

In June 2006, the British Academy of Film and Television hosted "a celebration of [Pinter's] work in cinema" curated by his friend and fellow playwright David Hare, described as "a brilliant selection of film clips" which Hare introduced by saying: "To jump back into the world of Pinter's movies ... is to remind yourself of a literate mainstream cinema, focused as much as Bergman's is on the human face, in which tension is maintained by a carefully crafted mix of image and dialogue" (Billington, Harold Pinter 429).

Pinter occasionally left open the possibility that if a compelling dramatic "image" were to come to mind (though "not likely"), he would perhaps have pursued it. After making this point, with Rupert Graves in another location on screen, Pinter performed a dramatic reading of his "new work," "Apart From That", at the end of the interview conducted by Wark, broadcast live on Newsnight on 23 June 2006. This "very funny" dramatic sketch was inspired by Pinter's strong aversion to mobile telephones; "as two people trade banalities over their mobile phones there is a hint of something ominous and unspoken behind the clichéd chat" (Billington, Harold Pinter 429).

Krapp's Last Tape (October 2006)
Harold Pinter as Krapp, in Krapp's Last Tape, by Samuel Beckett, at the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006

In an account of Pinter's interview conducted by Ramona Koval at the Edinburgh International Book Festival "Meet the Author" in late August 2006, Robinson reports: "Pinter, whose last published play came out in 2000, said the reason he had given up writing was that he had 'written himself out', adding: 'I recently had a holiday in Dorset and took a couple of my usual yellow writing pads. I didn't write a damn word. Fondly, I turned them over and put them in a drawer.' " It appeared to Robinson that "despite giving up writing [Pinter] will carry on his acting career." From another perspective, however, as Eden and Walker observe: "So keenly is Harold Pinter relishing his return to the stage this autumn [in Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape] that he has put his literary career on the back burner." Pinter said: "It's a great challenge and I'm going to have a crack at it."[55]

After returning to London from Edinburgh, in September 2006, he began rehearsing for his performance of the role of Krapp, which, the next month, he performed from a motorized wheelchair in a limited run at the Royal Court Theatre to sold-out audiences and "ecstatic" critical reviews.[56]

The production of only nine performances, from 12 October, two days after Pinter's 76th birthday, to 24 October 2006, was the most sought-after ticket in London during the 50th-anniversary celebration season of the Royal Court Theatre; his performances sold out within minutes on the first morning of general ticket sales (4 September 2006).[57] One performance was filmed, produced on DVD, and shown on BBC Four on 21 June 2007.

Pinter: A Celebration (October–November 2006)

Sheffield Theatres hosted Pinter: A Celebration for a full month (11 Oct.–11 Nov. 2006). It featured selected productions of Pinter's plays (in order of presentation): The Caretaker, Voices, No Man's Land, Family Voices, Tea Party, The Room, One for the Road, and The Dumb Waiter; films (most his screenplays; some in which Pinter appears as an actor): The Go-Between, Accident, The Birthday Party, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Reunion, Mojo, The Servant, and The Pumpkin Eater; and other related events: Pause for Thought (Penelope Wilton and Douglas Hodge in conversation with Michael Billington), Ashes to Ashes—A Cricketing Celebration, a Pinter Quiz Night, the BBC Two documentary film Arena: Harold Pinter (introd. Anthony Wall, producer of Arena), The New World Order—A Pause for Peace (a consideration of "Pinter's pacifist writing" [both poems and prose] supported by the Sheffield Quakers), and a screening of "Pinter's passionate and antagonistic 45-minute Nobel Prize Lecture."[58]

50th anniversary West-End revival of The Dumb Waiter; Celebration (February 2007)

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of The Dumb Waiter, Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs starred as Gus and Ben in "a major West end revival," directed by Harry Burton, "in a limited seven week run" at the Trafalgar Studios, from 2 February 2007 through 24 March 2007. John Crowley's film version of Pinter's play Celebration (2000) was shown on More4 (Channel 4, UK), in late February 2007, "with a cast including James Bolam, Janie Dee, Colin Firth, James Fox, Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Sophie Okonedo, Stephen Rea and Penelope Wilton."

Radio broadcast of The Homecoming (March 2007)

On 18 March 2007, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a new radio production of The Homecoming, directed by Thea Sharrock and produced by Martin J. Smith, with Pinter performing the role of Max (for the first time; he had previously played Lenny on stage in 1964), Michael Gambon as Max's brother Sam, Rupert Graves as Teddy, Samuel West as Lenny, James Alexandrou as Joey, and Gina McKee as Ruth (M. J. Smith; West).

Revival of The Hothouse (11–27 July 2007)

A revival of The Hothouse, directed by Ian Rickson, with a cast including Stephen Moore (Roote), Lia Williams (Miss Cutts), and Henry Woolf (Tubb), among others, opened at the Royal National Theatre, in London, on 11 July 2007, playing through 27 July, concurrently with a revival of Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse, starring Toby Stephens (Jerry), Dervla Kirwan (Emma), and Samuel West (Robert), as directed by Roger Michell (West).

Sleuth (August 2007)

Pinter's screenplay adaptation of the 1970 Tony Award-winning play Sleuth, by Anthony Shaffer, is the basis for the 2007 film Sleuth, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Michael Caine (in the role of Andrew Wyke, played by Laurence Olivier in the 1972 film Sleuth) and Jude Law (in the role of Milo Tindle, played by Caine in the 1972 film). Law also produced it. Scheduled for release on 12 October, the film debuted at the 64th Venice Internationl Film Festival on 31 August 2007 and was screened at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival on 10 September.

Broadway revival of The Homecoming (December 2007–April 2008)

A Broadway revival of The Homecoming, starring James Frain as Teddy, Ian McShane as Max, Raúl Esparza as Lenny, Michael McKean as Sam, and Eve Best as Ruth, and directed by Daniel J. Sullivan, opened on 16 December 2007, for a "20-week limited engagement ... through 13 April 2008" at the Cort Theatre (Gans; Horwitz).[59]

50th anniversary revival of The Birthday Party (8–24 May 2008)

The Lyric Hammersmith celebrated the play's 50th anniversary with a revival, directed by artistic director David Farr, and related events from 8 to 24 May 2008, including a gala performance and reception hosted by Harold Pinter on 19 May 2008, exactly fifty years after its London première there.

No Man's Land at the Gate Theatre, Dublin (August 2008), and the Duke of York's Theatre, London (through 3 January 2009)

A revival of No Man's Land (1975), directed by Rupert Goold, opened at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, whose artistic director is Michael Colgan, in August 2008, and then transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre, London, where it played through Saturday, 3 January 2009 (BWW News Desk).

On the Monday before Christmas 2008, during its break, Pinter "was admitted to Hammersmith Hospital," where he died "two days later on Christmas Eve" from cancer, after having "suffered for more than five years from cancer of the oesophagus" ("Pinter Ends").[1]

On Friday, 26 December 2008, when the production of No Man's Land reopened at the Duke of York's, expressing great sadness and appreciation for their playwright, the actors paid tribute to Pinter from the stage, with Gambon reading Hirst's monologue about his "photograph album" from Act Two that, in August, Pinter had selected for him to read at his funeral, ending with a standing ovation from the audience, many of whom were in tears:

I might even show you my photograph album. You might even see a face in it which might remind you of your own, of what you once were. You might see faces of others, in shadow, or cheeks of others, turning, or jaws, or backs of necks, or eyes, dark under hats, which might remind you of others, whom once you knew, whom you thought long dead, but from whom you will still receive a sidelong glance, if you can face the good ghost. Allow the love of the good ghost. They possess all that emotion . . . trapped. Bow to it. It will assuredly never release them, but who knows . . . what relief . . . it may give them . . . who knows how they may quicken . . . in their chains, in their glass jars. You think it cruel . . . to quicken them, when they are fixed, imprisoned? No . . . no. Deeply, deeply, they wish to respond to your touch, to your look, and when you smile, their joy . . . is unbounded. And so I say to you, tender the dead, as you would yourself be tendered, now, in what you would describe as your life. (69–70 of No Man's Land, in Four Plays)[60]

[edit] Posthumous events

Pinter's funeral (31 December 2008)

Several accounts of the private funeral held for Pinter, a "half-hour ceremony conducted around the graveside" at Kensal Green Cemetery, on Wednesday afternoon, 31 December 2008, the week after his death, describe it as "directed" or "conducted" or "scripted" by Pinter himself, perhaps recalling the Father who speaks "from the grave" in his play Family Voices.[61] As Pinter's official biographer Michael Billington, who was among approximately 50 family and friends who attended the graveside ceremony, reports: "As recently as last August [2008], [Pinter] had sat down with his wife, Antonia Fraser, and selected the readings he wanted for his funeral." Michael Gambon read "a speech he nightly delivers on stage in No Man's Land, in which Hirst pays tribute to the emotion trapped in photo albums and asks us to 'tender the dead, as you would yourself be tendered, now, in what you would describe as your life' " (as qtd. above) and the poem "Death" (1997), which Pinter read toward the end of his 2005 Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth and Politics"; Penelope Wilton "delivered with impeccable gravitas" a passage ending T. S. Eliot's "Little Gidding" (1942), the last of his Four Quartets: "So, while the light falls/On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel,/History is now and England"; Matthew Burton, an actor, director, and member of Pinter's cricket team The Gaieties, "read Pinter's favourite cricket poem, Francis Thompson's At Lord's, in which the run-stealers eternally flicker to and fro"; and Stella Powell-Jones, Pinter's step-granddaughter, "read beautifully a love poem dedicated to [her grandmother] Antonia Fraser It Is Here, recalling the coup de foudre at Pinter's first meeting with his future wife." According to the Mail Online, "The only departure from his 'script' was at the end, when a tearful Antonia stepped forward to his grave and said: 'I always get this quotation wrong. I hope I get it right today,' " going on to quote Horatio's speech after the death of Prince Hamlet: "Good night sweet prince:/And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"

Theatrical dimming of lights

The night before Pinter's New Year's Eve burial, theatre marquees on Broadway dimmed their lights for a minute in tribute ("Friends"), and the final night of No Man's Land at the Duke of York's Theatre, on 3 January 2009, starting at 6:30 p.m., all of the Ambassador Theatre Group in the West End also dimmed their lights for an hour to honour the playwright (Smith, "Pinter to Be Honoured").

Public memorial

A "more public commemoration" is being planned, with friends and family proposing that Pinter "be accorded the honour of a memorial in Westminster Abbey's 'Poets’ Corner'," where one of Pinter's most revered poets, Wilfred Owen, is commemorated among many others, though, reportedly, their proposal may be meeting some resistance due to Pinter's " 'anti-religious views' " (Eden).

Other tributes and retrospectives

Prior to Pinter's death, Colgan, who helmed "four major festivals of [Pinter's] work" starting in 1994, including the 2001 Harold Pinter Festival, which he curated at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in New York City, announced that he "is preparing for another major retrospective of his work in Dublin to take place in 2010," marking Pinter's 80th birthday (BWW News Desk).

After Pinter's death, at the end of January 2009, the Sydney Festival (then in progress), Dublin's Gate Theatre, and the Sydney Theatre Company, whose co-artistic directors are Australian actress Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, announced that, on Sunday, 1 February, there would be a free, hour-long performance of readings from Pinter's works as a tribute to him, directed and introduced by Colgan and featuring Blanchett, fellow Australian actor Robert Menzies (grandson of former Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies and her co-star in The War of the Roses Cycle), and Gate Theatre actors Niall Buggy and Owen Roe; in their public statement, Blanchett and Upton "acknowledged the playwright's legacy," saying: "We are delighted to join with Sydney Festival and Ireland's celebrated Gate Theatre in this event marking the passing of one of the 20th century's theatre greats, Harold Pinter, whose influence over playwriting and performance has been so profound."[62]

Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington proposed "an Early Day Motion in the Commons [signed by 22 other MPs so far] calling on the government to 'do all it can' to support the [residents'] campaign to restore the old Clapton Cinematograph Theatre, which opened in Lower Clapton Road in 1910" and to turn it into "a memorial to the great dramatist" ("MP Backs Pinter Tribute Campaign"). In speaking to the House of Commons on 16 January 2009, Abbott said: "Harold Pinter is a brilliant example of the creativity that thrives in Hackney. The area has always been a hub for the arts and many successful artists, writers, actors and film producers and journalists now live in the area. The idea of turning the building into a cinematic centre as a memorial to Harold Pinter is fantastic. I can think of no better way to honour this Hackney boy turned literary great and I fully support the campaign."[63]

[edit] Civic activities and political activism

[edit] Political development

Opposed to the politics of the Cold War, in 1946 to 1947, when he was eighteen, Pinter was a conscientious objector, refusing compulsory conscription; however, he was not a pacifist, as he told Billington and others that, if he had been old enough at the time, he would have fought against the Nazis in World War II (Harold Pinter 21–24, 92, & 286). Although Pinter seemed to express ambivalence about "politicians" in his 1966 Paris Review interview conducted by Lawrence M. Bensky, he had actually been an early member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the United Kingdom and also had supported the British Anti-Apartheid Movement (1959–1994), participating in British artists' refusal to permit professional productions of their work in South Africa in 1963 ("Playwrights in Apartheid Protest") and in subsequent related campaigns (Mbeki; Reddy).[64]

[edit] Later political views

In his last twenty-five years, Pinter increasingly focused his essays, speeches, interviews, literary readings, and other public appearances directly on contemporary political issues. He strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War, the United States' 2001 War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. His political statements have evoked some strong public criticism and even, at times, ridicule and personal attacks.[6]

In accepting an honorary degree at the University of Turin (27 November 2002), he stated: "I believe that [the United States] will [attack Iraq] not only to take control of Iraqi oil, but also because the American administration is now a bloodthirsty wild animal. Bombs are its only vocabulary." Distinguishing between "the American administration" and American citizens, he added the following qualification: "Many Americans, we know, are horrified by the posture of their government but seem to be helpless" (Various Voices 243). He was very active in the anti-war movement in the United Kingdom, speaking at rallies held by the Stop the War Coalition (StWC).[65]

In later speeches, describing former President of the United States George W. Bush as a "mass murderer" and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair as both "mass-murdering" and a "deluded idiot", Pinter specified that, along with other past U.S. officials, under the Geneva Conventions, they are "war criminals". He also compared the Bush administration ("a bunch of criminal lunatics") with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, saying that, under Bush, the United States ("a monster out of control") strives to attain "world domination" through "Full spectrum dominance". Pinter further described Great Britain under Tony Blair as "pathetic and supine," portraying the British nation metaphorically as a "bleating little lamb tagging behind [the United States] on a lead." In a public reading Pinter charged that Blair was participating in "an act of premeditated mass murder" instigated on behalf of "the American people," who, Pinter noted, were increasingly protesting "their government's actions."[66]

On his official website, Pinter published his remarks to the mass peace protest demonstration held in London on 15 February 2003: "The United States is a monster out of control. Unless we challenge it with absolute determination American barbarism will destroy the world. The country is run by a bunch of criminal lunatics, with Blair as their hired Christian thug. The planned attack on Iraq is an act of premeditated mass murder" ("Speech at Hyde Park"). Those remarks anticipated his observation in his 2005 Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth and Politics": "Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force–yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish" (21).

In accepting the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry, on 18 March 2005, wondering "What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the conception of international law?", Pinter concluded: "I believe Wilfred Owen would share our contempt, our revulsion, our nausea and our shame at both the language and the actions of the American and British governments" (Various Voices 247–48).

In March 2006, upon accepting the Europe Theatre Prize, in Turin, Pinter exhorted the mostly-European audience "to resist the power of the United States," stating, "I'd like to see Europe echo the example of Latin America in withstanding the economic and political intimidation of the United States. This is a serious responsibility for Europe and all of its citizens."[67]

[edit] Related political activities

Pinter was active in International PEN, serving as a vice president, along with American playwright Arthur Miller. In 1985, Pinter and Miller travelled to Turkey, on a mission co-sponsored by International PEN and a Helsinki Watch committee to investigate and protest the torture of imprisoned writers. There he met victims of political oppression and their families. At an American embassy dinner in Ankara, held in Miller's honour, at which Pinter was also an invited guest, speaking on behalf of those imprisoned Turkish writers, Pinter confronted the ambassador with (in Pinter's words) "the reality ... of electric current on your genitals": Pinter's outspokenness apparently angered their host and led to indications for his desired departure, and Miller left the embassy with him. Recounting this episode for a tribute to Miller on his 80th birthday, Pinter concluded: "Being thrown out of the US embassy in Ankara with Arthur Miller—a voluntary exile—was one of the proudest moments in my life" ("Arthur Miller's Socks", Various Voices 56–57). Pinter's experiences in Turkey and his knowledge of the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language "inspired" his 1988 play Mountain Language.[68]

He was an active delegate of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in the United Kingdom, an organization that defends Cuba, supports the government of Fidel Castro, and campaigns against the U.S. embargo on the country (Hands Off Cuba!). In 2001 Pinter joined the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM), which appealed for a fair trial for and the freedom of Slobodan Milošević; he signed a related "Artists' Appeal for Milošević" in 2004.[69]

Pinter contributed letters to the editor, essays, speeches, and poetry strongly expressing his artistic and political viewpoints, which were frequently published initially in British periodicals, both in print and electronic media, and distributed and re-distributed extensively over the internet and throughout the blogosphere. These were distributed more widely after his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005; his subsequent publications and related news accounts cite his status as a Nobel Laureate.

Later he continued to sign petitions on behalf of artistic and political causes that he supported. He signed the mission statement of Jews for Justice for Palestinians in 2005 and its full-page advertisement, "What Is Israel Doing? A Call by Jews in Britain", published in The Times on 6 July 2006. He also co-signed an open letter about events in the Middle East dated 19 July 2006, distributed to the press on 21 July 2006, and posted on the website of Noam Chomsky.[70]

On 5 February 2007 The Independent reported that, along with historian Eric Hobsbawm, human rights lawyer Geoffrey Bindman, fashion designer Nicole Farhi, film director Mike Leigh, and actors Stephen Fry and Zoë Wanamaker, among others, Harold Pinter launched the organization Independent Jewish Voices in the United Kingdom "to represent British Jews ... in response to a perceived pro-Israeli bias in existing Jewish bodies in the UK", and, according to Hobsbawm, "as a counter-balance to the uncritical support for Israeli policies by established bodies such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews" (Hodgson; IJV Declaration).

In March 2007 Charlie Rose had "A Conversation with Harold Pinter" on Charlie Rose, filmed at the Old Vic, in London, and broadcast on television in the United States on PBS. They discussed highlights of his career and the politics of his life and work. They debated his ongoing opposition to the Iraq War, with Rose challenging some of Pinter's views about the United States. They also discussed some of his other public protests and positions in public controversies, such as that involving the New York Theatre Workshop's cancellation of their production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie, which Pinter viewed as an act of cowardice amounting to self-censorship.

In mid-June 2008, opposing "a police ban on the George Bush Not Welcome Here" demonstration organized by the Stop the War Coalition (StWC), "Pinter commented, 'The ban on the Stop The War Coalition march in protest at the visit of President Bush to this country [England] is a totalitarian act. In what is supposed to be a free country the Coalition has every right to express its views peacefully and openly. This ban is outrageous and makes the term "democracy" laughable'."[71]

[edit] Retrospective political perspective on earlier work

In "A Play and Its Politics", the interview conducted by Nicholas Hern in February 1985 and published in the 1986 Grove Press edition of One for the Road, Pinter described his earlier plays retrospectively from the perspective of the politics of power and the dynamics of oppression.[72] He also expressed such a perspective on his work when he participated in "Meet the Author" with Ramona Koval, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the evening of 25 August 2006. It was his first public appearance in Britain since he had won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature and his near-death experience in hospital in the first week of December 2005, which had prevented him from travelling to Stockholm and giving his Nobel Lecture in person. Pinter described how he felt while almost dying (as if he were "drowning"). After reading an interrogation scene from The Birthday Party, he provided a rare "explanation" of his work, according to McDowell. Pinter "wanted to say that Goldberg and McCann represented the forces in society who wanted to snuff out dissent, to stifle Stanley's voice, to silence him," and that in 1958 "One thing [the critics who almost unanimously hated the play] got wrong ... was the whole history of stifling, suffocating and destroying dissent. Not too long before, the Gestapo had represented order, discipline, family life, obligation—and anyone who disagreed with that was in trouble."[73] In both his writing and his public speaking, McDowell observes,

Pinter's precision of language is immensely political. Twist words like "democracy" and "freedom", as he believes Blair and Bush have done over Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of people die.
In [March 2006], when he was presented with the European [sic] Theatre Prize in Turin, Pinter said he intended to spend the rest of his life railing against the United States. Surely, asked chair Ramona Koval, [at the Edinburgh Book Festival that August], he was doomed to fail?
"Oh yes—me against the United States!" he said, laughing along with the audience at the absurdity, before adding: "But I can't stop reacting to what is done in our name, and what is being done in the name of freedom and democracy is disgusting."

[edit] Honours

An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and an Honorary Fellow of the Modern Language Association of America (1970), Pinter was appointed CBE in 1966 and became a Companion of Honour in 2002 (having previously declined a knighthood in 1996). In 1995 and 1996 he accepted the David Cohen Prize, in recognition of a lifetime's literary achievement, and the Laurence Olivier Special Award for a lifetime's achievement in the theatre, respectively. In 1997 he became a BAFTA Fellow. He received the World Leaders Award for "Creative Genius", as the subject of a week-long "Homage" in Toronto, in October 2001. A few years later, in 2004, he received the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry—"in recognition of Pinter's lifelong contribution to literature, 'and specifically for his collection of poetry entitled War, published in 2003' " (Wilfred Owen Association Newsletter). In March 2006 he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize, in recognition of lifetime achievements pertaining to drama and theatre ("Letter of Motivation"). In conjunction with that award, from 10 March to 14 March 2006, Michael Billington coordinated an international conference on Pinter: Passion, Poetry, and Politics, including scholars and critics from Europe and the Americas (Harold Pinter 427–28).[4][54]

[edit] Nobel Prize in Literature

On 13 October 2005 the Swedish Academy announced that it had decided to award the Nobel Prize in Literature for that year to "Harold Pinter ... Who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms" (press release), instigating some public controversy and criticism relating both to characteristics of Pinter's work and to his politics.[6]

When interviewed that day about his own reaction to the Nobel Prize announcement by Billington, Pinter joked: "I was told today that one of the Sky channels said this morning that 'Harold Pinter is dead'. Then they changed their mind and said, 'No, he's won the Nobel prize.' So I've risen from the dead" (Billington, "They said").

Nobel Week, including the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony in Stockholm and related events throughout Scandinavia, began in the first few days of December 2005. Due to medical concerns about his health, Pinter and his family could not attend the Awards Ceremony and those events. After the Academy notified him of his award, although he had arranged for his publisher (Stephen Page of Faber and Faber) to accept his Nobel Diploma and Nobel Medal at the Awards Ceremony scheduled for 10 December, he had still planned to travel to Stockholm, to present his lecture in person a few days earlier (Honigsbaum). In November, however, discovering the infection that would nearly kill him, his doctor hospitalised him and barred such travel (Billington, Harold Pinter 423–24).

[edit] Art, Truth and Politics: The Nobel Lecture

See main article: Art, Truth and Politics

Though still hospitalised, Pinter went to a Channel 4 studio to videotape his Nobel Lecture: "Art, Truth and Politics", which was projected on three large screens at the Swedish Academy, in Stockholm, on the evening of 7 December 2005.[53]

Simultaneously transmitted on Channel 4 in the UK that evening, but "totally ignored by the BBC" (Billington, Harold Pinter 424), the 46-minute television broadcast was introduced by friend and fellow playwright David Hare. Subsequently, the full text and streaming video formats were posted for the public on the Nobel Prize and Swedish Academy official websites. In these formats Pinter's Nobel Lecture has been widely watched, cited, quoted, and distributed by print and online media and the source of much commentary and debate (425–27).

Pinter's Nobel Lecture, Art, Truth and Politics provoked extensive public controversy, with some media commentators accusing Pinter of "anti-Americanism" (Allen-Mills). Yet he emphasizes that he criticizes policies and practices of American administrations (and those who voted for them), not all American citizens, many of whom he recognizes as "demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions."[74]

As a result of his Nobel Prize and his controversial Nobel Lecture, interest in Pinter's life and work surged. They led to new revivals of his plays, to Billington's updating his biography (retitled Harold Pinter), and to new editions of Pinter's works, such as The Essential Pinter and The Dwarfs, by Grove Press, and a three-volume box set including The Birthday Party, No Man's Land, and Mountain Language and Celebration entitled Four Plays, by Faber and Faber. Illuminations released its DVD and VHS video recordings of Pinter's Nobel Lecture (without Hare's introduction).

[edit] Légion d'honneur

On 18 January 2007 the French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, himself a published poet, presented Pinter with France's highest civil honour, the Légion d'honneur, at a ceremony at the French embassy in London, shortly after holding talks with Tony Blair. Prime Minister de Villepin "praised Mr Pinter's poem American Football (1991)," saying: " 'With its violence and its cruelty, it is for me one of the most accurate images of war, one of the most telling metaphors of the temptation of imperialism and violence.' " "In return," Pinter "praised France for its opposition to the war in Iraq." M. de Villepin concluded: "The poet stands still and observes what doesn't deserve other men's attention. Poetry teaches us how to live and you, Harold Pinter, teach us how to live." He said that Pinter received the award particularly "because in seeking to capture all the facets of the human spirit, [Pinter's] works respond to the aspirations of the French public, and its taste for an understanding of man and of what is truly universal."[75] Lawrence Pollard observed that "the award for the great playwright underlines how much Mr Pinter is admired in countries like France as a model of the uncompromising radical intellectual."[75]

[edit] Pinter and academia

Some scholars and critics challenge the validity of Pinter's critiques of what he terms "the modes of thinking of those in power" (Merritt, Pinter in Play 171–89; 180) or dissent from his retrospective viewpoints on his own work (Begley; Karwowski; and Quigley).

In his personal political history, however,

Pinter's own "political act" of conscientious objection resulted from being "terribly disturbed as a young man by the Cold War. And McCarthyism.... A profound hypocrisy. 'They' the monsters, 'we' the good. In 1948 the Russian suppression of Eastern Europe was an obvious and brutal fact, but I felt very strongly then and feel as strongly now [1985] that we have an obligation to subject our own actions and attitudes to an equivalent critical and moral scrutiny." (Merritt, Pinter in Play 178)

Scholars agree that Pinter's dramatic rendering of power relations results from such astute "critical and moral scrutiny".[76]

Pinter's aversion to any censorship by "the authorities" is epitomised in Petey's line at the end of The Birthday Party. As the broken-down and reconstituted Stanley is being carted off by the figures of authority Goldberg and McCann, Petey calls out after him, "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do!" "I've lived that line all my damn life. Never more than now," Pinter told Gussow in 1988.[77] Pinter's ongoing opposition to what he terms "the modes of thinking of those in power"—the "brick wall" of the "minds" perpetuating the "status quo" (Merritt, Pinter in Play 180)—infuses the "vast political pessimism" that some academic critics may perceive in his artistic work (Grimes 220), its "drowning landscape" of harsh contemporary realities, with some residual "hope for restoring the dignity of man" (Pinter, Art, Truth and Politics 9, 24).

As Pinter's longtime friends the directors and actors David Hugh Jones and Henry Woolf would remind analytically-inclined scholars and dramatic critics, Pinter was a "great comic writer" (Coppa); yet, as Pinter himself said of The Caretaker, his work is only "funny, up to a point"—"beyond that point" it "ceases to be funny, and it is because of that point" that he wrote it:

The trap with Harold’s work, for performers and audiences, is to approach it too earnestly or portentously. I have always tried to interpret his plays with as much humor and humanity as possible. There is always mischief lurking in the darkest corners. The world of The Caretaker is a bleak one, its characters damaged and lonely. But they are all going to survive. And in their dance to that end they show a frenetic vitality and a wry sense of the ridiculous that balance heartache and laughter. Funny, but not too funny. As Pinter wrote, back in 1960 : "As far as I am concerned The Caretaker IS funny, up to a point. Beyond that point, it ceases to be funny, and it is because of that point that I wrote it."[78]

His dramatic conflicts present serious implications for his characters and his audiences, leading to sustained inquiry about "the point" of his work and multiple "critical strategies" for developing interpretations and stylistic analyses of it (Merritt, Pinter in Play).

On 9 October 2008, the Central School of Speech and Drama announced that Pinter had agreed to become its president and to receive an honorary fellowship in the School's graduation ceremony on 10 December 2008 ("Central Announces"). On his appointment Pinter commented: "I was a student at Central in 1950–51. I enjoyed my time there very much and I am delighted to become president of a remarkable institution" (Smith, "Pinter Replaces"). But Pinter had to receive that honorary degree, his 20th, in absentia, due to ill health ("Degree Honour"; "2008 Central School"). His presidency of the School was brief, as he died just two weeks after the graduation ceremony, on 24 December 2008.

[edit] Archive

Unpublished manuscripts relating to Pinter and his works, and letters to and from him are held in the Modern Literary Manuscripts division of the British Library (BL), where the catalogued expanded Harold Pinter Archive acquired in December 2007 reopened on 2 February 2009 (O'Brien). Smaller collections of Pinter manuscripts are in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin[79]; The Lilly Library, at Indiana University at Bloomington; the Mandeville Special Collections Library, Geisel Library, at the University of California, San Diego; the British Film Institute, in London, England; the Margaret Herrick Library, Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in Beverly Hills, California; and in other public and private libraries.[80]

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b c New York Times obituary, "Harold Pinter, Playwright of the Pause, Dies at 78", by Gussow and Brantley; cf. Adams; Billington's Guardian obituary, "Harold Pinter"; and Dodds. These and other critical appraisals of Pinter's cultural influence, accounts of his death and funeral, and memorial tributes, are listed below in Obituaries and related articles.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Acting" and "Directing" sections of HaroldPinter.org, compiled by Mark Batty, provide details of Pinter's extensive career as an actor and director.
  3. ^ a b c See "Biobibliographical Notes" (including secondary sources of works cited in its attached bibliography); Billington, Harold Pinter; Merritt, Pinter in Play; and Grimes.
  4. ^ a b c d Billington, Introd., "Pinter: Passion, Poetry and Politics", Europe Theatre Prize–X Edition, Turin, 10–12 Mar. 2006. (Corrected title.) Cf. Billington, "Memory Man" and " 'Let's Keep Fighting' ", chap. 29 and "Afterword" of Harold Pinter 388–94 & 395–430, resp.
  5. ^ Merritt, Pinter in Play xi–xxv, 170–209; Billington, Harold Pinter 286–338; Grimes 19.
  6. ^ a b c See, e.g., responses to Pinter's winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in contemporaneous articles by Hari, Hitchens, and Pryce-Jones; cf. Allen-Mills, N. Cohen, and Kamm; see Edgar's response to what he terms Pinter's "being berated by the belligerati."
  7. ^ See "Biobibliographical Notes", a section of the "Bio-bibliography" for "Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize in Literature 2005".
  8. ^ See Bensky; Gussow, Conversations; and Wark's interview of Pinter televised on Newsnight Review on 23 June 2006.
  9. ^ See "Degree Honour for Playwright Pinter" and other news accounts citing the Central School of Speech and Drama.
  10. ^ See Billington, "Goodnight, Sweet Prince" and "Friends", as listed in Obituaries and related articles.
  11. ^ Harold Pinter, qtd. in Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 103; Billington, Harold Pinter 1–2.
  12. ^ Billington draws upon B. S. Johnson, "Evacuees" (1968; published 1994), which includes Pinter's own account.
  13. ^ a b See also "Introduction by Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate", 7–9 in 'Fortune's Fool': The Man Who Taught Harold Pinter: A Life of Joe Brearley (2008), ed. G. L. Watkins.
  14. ^ Qtd. from "Biographical Sketch" (1999), in Harold Pinter: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (1960–1980), Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. As Billington discusses in Harold Pinter (1–5), already cited above, in Poetry London, Pinter used Pinta, a Portuguese surname from which Harold Pinter once believed his family surname Pinter derived; Lady Antonia Fraser's research cited by Billington above revealed such family legend to be apocryphal and that he was actually of Eastern European descent; on Pinter's earliest poetry and short prose, see Billington 29–35.
  15. ^ a b Cf. Baker, "Growing Up", chap. 1 of Harold Pinter 2–23.
  16. ^ In "Portrait of Harold Pinter Playing Cricket to Be Sold at Auction", as published in the Times (24 Mar. 2009), citing "the actor and Pinter's cricketing colleague" Harry Burton, Adam Sherwin reports that the portrait "is to be auctioned before a celebratory game at Lord's" being planned by Pinter's friends to take place "in September [2009] between the Gaieties and the Lord's Taverners" in order "to raise funds for disadvantaged kids in Hackney"; "A concert with a cast of Pinter's favourite actors reading his poetry and prose ... will follow the cricket match on Nursery Ground at Lord's between the Gaieties and the Lord's Taverners who will be captained by the former England skipper Mike Brearley. Cricket-loving friends of Pinter, including the actors Sir Michael Gambon and Bill Nighy, will be invited to take part in the match, as will Mike Atherton, the former England captain and chief cricket correspondent of The Times. The winner of the portrait auction will be announced once stumps are drawn."
  17. ^ See, e.g. Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 25–30; Billington, Harold Pinter 7–16; Merritt, Pinter in Play 194.
  18. ^ Cf. Henry Woolf's reminiscences of his friendship with Pinter as one of the "Hackney gang" in "My Sixty Years in Harold's Gang", published in the Guardian on 12 July 2007: "As a schoolboy, Harold Pinter took on bullies and fought with fascists. Later, as a playwright, he took on the entire critical establishment. Henry Woolf, who is appearing in a revival of The Hothouse, relives his lifelong friendship with the writer."
  19. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25, 31–35; and Batty, About Pinter 7.
  20. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 37 and Batty, About Pinter 8; cf. Batty, "Chronology", xiii-xvi and chap. 1 "East End to West End", 1-11 in About Pinter.
  21. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 31, 36, 38; and Batty, About Pinter xiii, 8.
  22. ^ See Pinter's tribute to "Mac", Various Voices 27–34.
  23. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25; 31, 36, 37–41.
  24. ^ Pinter's paternal "grandmother's maiden name was Baron ... he adopted it as his stage-name ... [and] used it [Baron] for the autobiographical character of Mark in the first draft of [his novel] The Dwarfs" (Billington, Harold Pinter 3, 47–48).
  25. ^ Cited in Billington, Harold Pinter 49–55.
  26. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25, 31, 36, 38.
  27. ^ For an example of such "press fascination," see "People" in the issue of Time published the following week (11 Aug. 1975).
  28. ^ According to her public statement to the press after his death, Antonia Fraser counts their living together as a total of "over 33 years" (January 1975 – December 2008); she stated to the Guardian: "He was a great, and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years. He will never be forgotten," as quoted in Walker, A. Smith, and Siddique, and other news accounts following Pinter's death.
  29. ^ See also the pathologist's report cited in the AP news account entitled "Death of Vivien Merchant Is Ascribed to Alcoholism", published in the New York Times on 7 Oct. 1982.
  30. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 388, 429–30; Dougary; cf. Driscoll, as listed in Obituaries and related articles.
  31. ^ Qtd. in Wark; see Billington, "They said"; cf. Koval, Moss, and Rose.
  32. ^ "Biography", haroldpinter.org; Gordon, "Chronology", Pinter at Seventy xliii–lxv; Batty, "Chronology", About Pinter xiii–xvi.
  33. ^ Qtd. in Merritt, "Talking about Pinter" 147. In the Guardian obituary, Billington refers to the production as "a staggeringly confident debut" ("Harold Pinter").
  34. ^ Cited by Merritt in "Sir Harold Hobson: The Promptings of Personal Experience", Pinter in Play 221–25; "The Birthday Party (première)", HaroldPinter.org. Billington describes it as "one of the most famous flops in theatrical history" (Harold Pinter 74) and as "one of the most famous disasters in post-war British theatre" ("Harold Pinter".
  35. ^ Merritt, Pinter in Play 5, 9, 225–26, and 310, citing Lois Gordon, "Pigeonholing Pinter: A Bibliography", Theatre Documentation 1 (Fall 1968): 3–20; chap. 2 in Hinchliffe 38–86, particularly on origins of the term and Campton's own view of Theatre of the Absurd as a prior "pigeon-hole" (40).
  36. ^ "Comedy of menace" is also a verbal pun on "Comedy of manners", with menace being manners said with a Judeo-English accent. See Merritt, Pinter in Play 9, 225–26, 240–41; Diamond.
  37. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 64, 65, 84, 197, 251, & 354; cf. Wark's interview of Pinter, televised on Newsnight on 23 June 2006.
  38. ^ See discussions of these plays throughout Batty; Grimes; and Baker.
  39. ^ Merritt, Pinter in Play xi–xv, 170–209; cf. Grimes 19.
  40. ^ Party Time is published in the U.S. edition along with "The New World Order" (Grove P, 1993); for discussion of both works, see Grimes 101–28.
  41. ^ For bibliographical details, see Baker and Ross 100–102.
  42. ^ a b c d e "Pinter, Harold" (1930–2008): Film & TV Credits" at BFI's Screenonline.
  43. ^ Pinter's additional stage, film, television, and radio acting and directing credits are listed in the "Biography" section of his official website (not updated to reflect his latest awards or death, as accessed on 11 Mar. 2009).
  44. ^ See full program details listed in "Harold Pinter Festival", HaroldPinter.org.
  45. ^ See also: "Harold Pinter, Director and Playwright at the National Theatre" (MS Word document file). National Theatre. Royal National Theatre, London, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2009.
  46. ^ Reports and reviews of the 2001 Lincoln Center Pinter Festival productions and symposia, The Pinter Review (2002); Merritt, "Talking about Pinter". See also BWW News Desk.
  47. ^ For news accounts, see "Harold Pinter Added to IFOA Lineup" (via Internet Archive) and "Travel Advisory".
  48. ^ See Koval's interviews with Pinter at the Edinburgh Book Festival; cf. Billington, Harold Pinter 413–16.
  49. ^ The various drafts of these works are catalogued in The Harold Pinter Archive in the British Library (Manuscripts Catalogue no. Add MS 88880 / 2). For "Full description" with itemized lists of contents, one must first "Find a specific manuscript (by number)" in the BL Manuscripts Catalogue and then select "Descriptions hierarchy".
  50. ^ "PinterFest, Manitoba Theatre Center, 2003", in HaroldPinter.org. Productions during the Festival included: The Hothouse, by the Black Hole Theatre Company, University of Manitoba; Night School, by The Conspiracy Network; The Lover, by Dreamsurf; The Dumb Waiter, by The King's Players; The Homecoming, by the Manitoba Theatre Centre; The Birthday Party, by New Theatre; Monologue, by New Theatre; One for the Road, by Sarasvàti Productions; The Caretaker, by Tara Players; Ashes to Ashes, by Toothsome Breed Theatre Company; Celebration, by the University of Winnipeg Theatre Students' Association; and No Man's Land, by Who Knows Productions. Cf. PinterFest, as listed in Merritt, "Forthcoming Publications, Upcoming Productions, and Other Works in Progress" in "Harold Pinter Bibliography: 2000–2002", Pinter Rev. (2004): 299.
  51. ^ Harold Pinter to Professor Avraham Oz, "one of Israel's leading internal opponents of authoritarianism," in a letter of 2005, as qtd. in Billington, Harold Pinter 395, 430.
  52. ^ a b See Billington," 'I've written 29 damn plays. Isn't that enough?' ", as published in the Guardian.
  53. ^ a b Cf. Lyall, "Still Pinteresque".
  54. ^ a b For further details (mostly in Italian, with some information provided in English), see "Event" section for "Harold Pinter" on the official website of the Europe Theatre Prize, 10th edition.
  55. ^ Pinter, as qtd. in Robinson; for a further perspective, see Toíbín.
  56. ^ Billington's "4 Stars" review ("Krapp's Last Tape") appeared in the Theatre section of the Guardian; cf. his subsequent discussion in Harold Pinter 429–30.
  57. ^ Royal Court Theatre box office production announcement for Krapp's Last Tape, as well as "Upcoming events for the year 2006", on the home page of HaroldPinter.org (since updated).
  58. ^ For further information, see Sheffield Theatres press release "Sheffield Theatres Presents Pinter: A Celebration".
  59. ^ Other recent and "upcoming events" (updated periodically) are listed on the home page of Pinter's official website and through its menu of links to the "Calendar" ("Worldwide Calendar").
  60. ^ Parts of this passage are quoted in "West End Pays Tribute to Pinter"; in Billington, "Goodnight, Sweet Prince"; and in other accounts listed below in Obituaries and related articles. It was reproduced in full as a memorial to Harold Pinter on the home page of The Harold Pinter Society (updated 1 Jan. 2009). [Note: The three dots are features of Pinter's text, not ellipses.]
  61. ^ See Billington, "Goodnight, Sweet Prince"; cf. Adams, "Friends", "Pinter Ends", and other accounts of Pinter's funeral listed below in Obituaries and related articles.
  62. ^ For announcements, see Morgan, Westwood, and the Sydney Festival 2009 official Website, which quotes both the public statement by Blanchett and Upton and Colgan's following comment: "In early December, I talked with Harold about a forthcoming meeting with Sydney Theatre Company and the possibility of the Gate and STC working together, which he was very pleased about. It is with great sadness but it gives me great pride that these two theatres can come together at the end of the Festival to remember this extraordinary writer."
  63. ^ Abbott's press release includes links for further "information on the Clapton Cinema campaign". See also Lafferty.
  64. ^ Discussion of Pinter's "political awareness" pertaining to his political development as a playwright and as a citizen appears in Billington, Harold Pinter 234, 286–305 (Chap. 15: "Public Affairs"), 400–3, 412, 416–17, 423, & 433–41 (a sec. on Pinter's Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth & Politics", rpt. therein); Merritt, Pinter in Play xi–xii, xiv, 171–209 (Chap. 8: "Cultural Politics", espec. "Pinter and Politics"), 275; and Grimes; in sources that they cite; and in sources published in 1990 and afterward listed in the Swedish Academy's "Bio-bibliography".
  65. ^ An edited version of Pinter's Turin speech was published as an article with the explosive headline "The American administration is a bloodthirsty wild animal", featuring Pinter's words from the speech without the internal quotation marks, in the Daily Telegraph on 11 December 2002. Other versions of this speech are reprinted online with more generic headlines as "Harold Pinter Gives Honorary Doctorate Speech at Turin University–27 November 2002", in The Artists Network of Refuse & Resist!, for example, and in print as "University of Turin Speech", in Various Voices 241–43.
  66. ^ Rpt. in Pinter, War (n. pag.); qtd. in Chrisafis and Tilden.
  67. ^ Qtd. in Anderson and Billington, Harold Pinter 428.
  68. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 309–10; and Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 67–68.
  69. ^ ICDSM continued its presence on the Web even after Milošević's death in 2006, still featuring the slogan "Free Slobodan Milošević!!!" on its official website <http://www.icdsm.com/>, when accessed on 29 Jan. 2009. Pinter's support of this appeal received some condemnation in the public media; e.g., see Hari.
  70. ^ See "Letter from Pinter, Saramago, Chomsky and Berger"; Chomsky, "Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine"; and "Palestinian Nation Under Threat".
  71. ^ Qtd. in "Protesters Will Defy Ban".
  72. ^ Qtd. in Merritt, "Pinter and Politics", Pinter in Play 171–89.
  73. ^ Qtd. in McDowell.
  74. ^ Pinter, Art, Truth and Politics 21; rpt. in Pinter, Various Voices 243. Pinter's "Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth & Politics" (text and streaming media) is accessible on the official website of the Nobel Prize, nobelprize.org in the original English, with hyperlinked translations into French, German, and Swedish. Page references throughout are to the Faber and Faber edition, Art, Truth and Politics: The Nobel Lecture.
  75. ^ a b French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, in his speech qtd. by the French Embassy (UK) in its official press release, "Légion d'Honneur for Harold Pinter"; cf. "French PM Honours Harold Pinter", as reported by BBC News.
  76. ^ Cf., e.g., Batty, "Preface" and chap. 6–9 in About Pinter; Grimes 19, 36–71, 218–20, and throughout.
  77. ^ Qtd. in Merritt, Pinter in Play 179.
  78. ^ Qtd. in "Travels with Harold", an account of staging the play for the Roundabout Theatre Company, in New York City, published by director David Jones in the Fall 2003 issue of Front & Center Online, the "online version of the Roundabout Theatre Company's subscriber magazine"; cf. Woolf, as qtd. in Merritt, "Talking about Pinter".
  79. ^ Harold Pinter: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (1960–1980), Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.
  80. ^ See Baker and Ross, "Appendix One" 224 and Merritt, "Harold Pinter Bibliography", cited in Baker and Ross.

[edit] Works cited

[edit] Bio-bibliography

The Swedish Academy. "Bio-bibliography: Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize in Literature 2005". NobelPrize.org. The Swedish Academy and The Nobel Foundation, 2005. Web. 5 Jan. 2009. (Contains both "Biobibliographical Notes" and ""Bibliography", with the latter hyperlinked separately in site menu.)

[edit] Obituaries and related articles

Abbott, Diane. "Diane Abbott Calls for Pinter Cinema". DianeAbbott.org.uk. Diane Abbott Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (site funded from the Parliamentary Members Communications Allowance), 16 Jan. 2009. Web. 28 Jan. 2009. (Press release.)

Adams, Stephen. "Harold Pinter Directs His Own Funeral". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 31 Dec. 2008. Web. 6 Jan. 2009. ("His plays were masterpieces of artistic control. And even at his own funeral Harold Pinter made sure he exerted a director's influence.")

Andrews, Jamie. " 'Tender the dead, as you yourself would be tendered...' ". Harold Pinter Archive Blog: British Library Curators on Cataloguing the Pinter Archive. British Library, 6 Jan. 2009. Web. 6 Jan. 2009.

Billington, Michael. "Goodnight, Sweet Prince: Shakespearean Farewell to Pinter". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 1 Jan. 2009.

–––. "Harold Pinter". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 25 Dec. 2008.

British Library. "Harold Pinter (1930–2008)". Harold Pinter Archive Blog: British Library Curators on Cataloguing the Pinter Archive. British Library, 29 Dec. 2008. Web. 2 Jan. 2009.

Cohen, Nick. "Pinter Was Powerful and Passionate, But Often Misguided". Observer, "Comment is Free". Guardian Media Group, 28 Dec. 2008. Web. 23 Mar. 2009.

Daily Mail Reporter. "Breaking News: Nobel Prize-winning Playwright Harold Pinter Dies Aged 78". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 25 Dec. 2008.

Dodds, Paisley (Associated Press). "Nobel-winning Playwright Harold Pinter Dies at 78". ABC News. American Broadcasting Company, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 14 Mar. 2009.

Dorfman, Ariel. "The World That Harold Pinter Unlocked". Washington Post. Washington Post, 27 Dec. 2008, A15. Print. The Washington Post Company, 27 Dec. 2008. Web. 9 Jan. 2009.

–––. " 'You want to free the world from oppression?' ". New Statesman, Jan. 2009. New Statesman, 8 Jan. 2009. World Wide Web. 9 Jan. 2009. ("Ariel Dorfman on the life and work of Harold Pinter [1930–2008].")

Driscoll, Margarette. "Yo, Grandpa Pinter, Big Respect". Times Online. News International (News Corporation), 11 Jan. 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2009. ("After Harold Pinter's death, his grandson [Simon Soros] celebrated the playwright with a rap. ... Simon began his offering, which is being considered for publication in the scholarly American journal The Pinter Review, on the way home from hospital. ... He finished the second stanza of the poem while the rest of the family attended Christmas mass. ... The poem reveals a surprisingly tender side to the otherwise prickly and opinionated auteur. ... Simon's creation touchingly reveals how fully the playwright had been absorbed into the sprawling Fraser clan after he became stepfather to her six children in 1980." See the poem "Grandpa", © Simon Soros 2008, listed below.)

Eden, Richard. "Harold Pinter Faces Opposition to Memorial in Poet's Corner". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 3 Jan. 2009. Web. 3 Jan. 2009.

Edgar, David. "Pinter's Weasels". Guardian, "Comment is Free". Guardian Media Group, 29 Dec. 2008. Web. 23 Mar. 2009. ("The idea that he was a dissenting figure only in later life ignores the politics of his early work.")

"Editorial: Harold Pinter: Breaking the Rules". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 27 Dec. 2008. Web. 7 Mar. 2009. ("Pinter broke the rules in art and in life.")

Fenton, Anna, and Lucy Jackson. "Harold Pinter: A Look Back". Journal. The Edinburgh Journal Limited, 11 Jan. 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2009. ("One of the most important writers of his generation, Harold Pinter's literary genius and tireless political activism will continue to make a formidable impact long after his death. ... What made him such a remarkable playwright—and political activist—is that he held on to his unrelenting non-conformity to the end.")

"Friends Bid Pinter Farewell". BBC News. BBC, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 1 Jan. 2009.

Greenhill, Sam. "Theatreland in Mourning As Nobel Prize-winning Playwright Harold Pinter Dies Aged 78". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 25 Dec. 2008.

Gussow, Mel, and Ben Brantley."Harold Pinter, Playwright of the Pause, Dies at 78". New York Times. New York Times, 25 Dec. 2008, Theater. Web. 26 Dec. 2008. (Web version of article listed below.)

–––. "Harold Pinter, Whose Silences Redefined Drama, Dies at 78". New York Times 26 Dec. 2008, national ed., sec. A: 1, A22–23. Print. [Cites "Online: A Pinter Appraisal: An audio evaluation by Ben Brantley, reviews of Mr. Pinter's plays and more". Print version of article listed above.]

"Harold Pinter". Economist, People: Obituary. The Economist Group, 30 Dec. 2008. Web. 15 Jan. 2009. ("Harold Pinter, playwright and polemicist, died on December 24, aged 78.")

"Harold Pinter Mourned by PEN". English PEN, News. The English Centre of International PEN, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 11 Jan. 2009. (Includes an introductory tribute written by Jonathan Heawood and a selection of messages received from around the world.)

"Harold Pinter 1930–2008: Great Playwright, Nobel Laureate – and TLS Cricketer". The Times Literary Supplement. News International (News Corporation), 29 Dec. 2008. Web. 9 Jan. 2009.

"Harold Pinter Tribute". Granta. Granta, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 2 Jan. 2009.

Kamm, Oliver. "Harold Pinter: An Impassioned Artist Who Lost Direction on the Political Stage". Times. News International, 26 Dec. 2008. Web. 23 Mar. 2009.

Lafferty, Julia. "Pinter – A Man of Principle". Hackney Gazette, Letters. Archant, 7 Jan. 2009. Web. 28 Jan. 2009.

Marowitz, Charles. "Harold Pinter: 1930 – 2008". Swans, Commentary. Swans, 29 Dec. 2008 – 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 13 Jan. 2009.

Morgan, Clare. "Festival Joins Forces for Free Pinter Tribute". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Digital, 28 Jan.2009. Web, 28 Jan. 2009.

"MP Backs Pinter Tribute Campaign". Hackney Gazette, News. Archant, 27 Jan. 2009. Web. 28 Jan. 2009.

"Obituary: Harold Pinter". BBC News. BBC, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 25 Dec. 2008.

"Pinter Ends It All with a Double Plot". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 4 Jan. 2009.

Sherwin, Adam. "Portrait of Harold Pinter Playing Cricket to Be Sold at Auction". Times. News International, 24 Mar. 2009. Web. 24 Mar. 2009.

Smith, Alastair. "Pinter to be Honoured Before Final Performance of No Man's Land". The Stage, News. The Stage Newspaper Group Ltd, 2 Jan. 2009. Web. 14 Mar. 2009.

Soros, Simon. "Grandpa". Sunday Times. News International (News Corporation), 11 Jan. 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2009. (© Simon Soros 2008). [See hyperlinked account by Driscoll listed above.]

Stothard, Peter. "Harold Pinter: Exit a Master". Times Literary Supplement (TLS). Times Online. News International (News Corporation), 7 Jan. 2009. Web. 8 Jan. 2009. (Rpt. from blog of TLS ed. Peter Stothard; first posted on 25 Dec. 2008.)

Taylor-Batty, Mark, comp. "In Memoriam: Harold Pinter". Harold Pinter Society Webpages. The Harold Pinter Society, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 1 Jan. 2009. ("Harold Pinter - playwright, poet, actor, director, political activist - died on 24 December 2008, aged 78 ... Here are a few of the obituaries and commentaries released by the international press and online theatre community. [Contains "Key links" and a hyperlinked "Full list" periodically being updated.])

"Times Obituary: Harold Pinter". Times. News International (News Corporation), 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 25 Dec. 2008.

Ulaby, Neda. "Remembrances: Remembering Influential Playwright Harold Pinter". Day to Day. National Public Radio, 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 25 Dec. 2008. (Includes audio clip.)

Wainwright, Hilary. "In Words and Silences". Red Pepper. Red Pepper magazine, Dec. 2008. Web. 3 Jan. 2009. ("Hilary Wainwright reflects on Harold Pinter and Red Pepper.")

Walker, Peter, David Smith, and Haroon Siddique. "Harold Pinter: Tributes Pour In After Death of Dramatist Aged 78". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian Media Group, 26 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Jan. 2009. ("Multi-award winning playwright lauded by dignitaries of theatrical and political spheres. ... Tributes are being paid to the playwright Harold Pinter today from both the theatrical and political worlds after his death from cancer, aged 78.")

"West End Pays Tribute to Pinter". BBC News. BBC, 27 Dec. 2008. Web. 1 Jan. 2009. (Includes video clip.)

Westwood, Matthew. "Blanchett Stars in Free Play". Australian. News Limited, 27 Jan. 2009. Web, 28 Jan. 2009.

Winer, Linda. "Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter Dead at 78". Newsday. Newsday Inc., 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Jan. 2009.

[edit] External links

NAME Pinter, Harold
SHORT DESCRIPTION English playwright, screenwriter, poet, actor, director, author, political activist
DATE OF BIRTH 1930-10-10
PLACE OF BIRTH Hackney, London, England
DATE OF DEATH 2008-12-24
PLACE OF DEATH London, England
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