STOCKHOLM, 13 October 2005 —This
year's Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to the
75-year-old British playwright Harold Pinter. In announcing
the award, Horace Engdahl, Chairman of the Swedish Academy, said
that Pinter was an artist "who in his plays uncovers the precipice
under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms."
Harold Pinter was born on 10 October 1930 in the London borough of
Hackney, son of a Jewish tailor. Growing up, Pinter was met with the
expressions of anti-Semitism, and has indicated its importance for his
becoming a dramatist. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was
evacuated from London at the age of nine, returning when twelve. He has
said that the experience of wartime bombing has never lost its hold on
him. Back in London, he attended Hackney Grammar School where he played
Macbeth and Romeo among other characters in productions directed by Joseph
Brearley. This prompted him to choose a career in acting. In 1948 he was
accepted at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1950, he published his
first poems. In 1951 he was accepted at the Central School of Speech and
Drama. That same year, he won a place in Anew McMaster's famous Irish
repertory company, renowned for its performances of Shakespeare. Pinter
toured again between 1954 and 1957, using the stage name of David Baron.
Between 1956 and 1980 he was married to actor Vivien Merchant. In 1980 he
married the author and historian Lady Antonia Fraser.
Pinter made his playwriting debut in 1957 with The Room,
presented in Bristol. Other early plays were The Birthday Party
(1957), at first a fiasco of legendary dimensions but later one of his
most performed plays, and The Dumb Waiter (1957). His conclusive
breakthrough came with The Caretaker (1959), followed by The
Homecoming (1964) and other plays.
Harold Pinter is generally seen as the foremost representative of
British drama in the second half of the 20th century. 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".
Pinter restored theatre to its basic elements: an
enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy
of each other and pretence crumbles. With a minimum of plot, drama emerges
from the power struggle and hide-and-seek of interlocution. Pinter's drama
was first perceived as a variation of absurd theatre, but has later more
aptly been characterised as "comedy of menace", a genre where the writer
allows us to eavesdrop on the play of domination and submission hidden in
the most mundane of conversations. In a typical Pinter play, we meet
people defending themselves against intrusion or their own impulses by
entrenching themselves in a reduced and controlled existence. Another
principal theme is the volatility and elusiveness of the past.
It is said of Harold Pinter that following an initial
period of psychological realism he proceeded to a second, more lyrical
phase with plays such as Landscape (1967) and Silence (1968)
and finally to a third, political phase with One for the Road
(1984), Mountain Language (1988), The New World Order (1991)
and other plays. But this division into periods seems oversimplified and
ignores some of his strongest writing, such as No Man's Land (1974)
and Ashes to Ashes (1996). In fact, the continuity in his work is
remarkable, and his political themes can be seen as a development of the
early Pinter's analysing of threat and injustice.
Since 1973, Pinter has won recognition as a fighter for human rights,
alongside his writing. He has often taken stands seen as controversial.
Pinter has also written radio plays and screenplays for film and
television. Among his best-known screenplays are those for The Servant
(1963), The Accident (1967), The Go-Between (1971) and
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981, based on the John Fowles
In 2004 Harold PInter received the Wilfred Owen award for poetry for a
collection of work criticising the war in Iraq.
This year's Nobel Prize is worth the equivalent of 1.11 million euros,
1.3 million dollars and will be presented on 10 December in Stockholm.
The prize for literature was awarded last year to the South African
writer John Maxwell Coetzee. In 2002 it went to the Hungarian writer Imre
Kertész. In 2001 it went to the Trinidadian-born Briton V.S. Naipaul. In
2000 it was awarded to Gao Zingjian, the Chinese writer living in exile in
France. In 1999, Günter Grass received the prize. The French writer and
philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre won the award in 1964 but declined it.
Harold Pinter's Official Web
Nobel site :http://nobelprize.org