PINTER, HAROLD

PINTER, HAROLD (1930–2005), English playwright, Nobel laureate. Born in Hackney, London, the son of a tailor, Pinter was on the stage from 1949 to 1957 under the name of David Baron, acting chiefly in repertory and with touring companies in Ireland. His first plays to become known were written for radio, a medium admirably suited to the rather sinister ambiguity of his early work. To this period belong The Room, The Dumb Waiter, and The Birthday Party (1958). The last play is symbolic of the universal guilt of man, with the central figure as a scapegoat. Pinter's subsequent plays include The Caretaker, produced in 1960, which is generally classed as a tragicomedy belonging to the genre of the "theater of the absurd." It shows a homeless tramp billeting himself upon two brothers, under the pretense of taking care of their home. He emerges, however, as a type of suffering humanity, making what may be felt to be excessive claims upon men's charity. The Caretaker was an outstanding success on stage, screen, and television. The plays Pinter wrote in the 1960s were dominated by the husband-wife relationship and several were acted by his wife, Vivien Merchant. The Lover (1963) depicts a marriage which can only function if both partners pretend that it is an illicit love affair. The Homecoming (1964), which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best new play in 1967, is about an English intellectual who brings a new wife back from the U.S. to meet his crude, working-class family. In this phase of his writing, Pinter was concerned with the frailty of marital relationships, with the potential violence of family life, and with the impossibility of ever knowing or possessing a woman. His other plays include A Night Out (1960), The Collection (1961), Tea Party (1964), and Old Times (1971). Pinter first became involved in writing screenplays when he adapted The Caretaker for the screen as The Guest in 1963. After that he earned two Academy Award nominations for best screenplay, for his adaptation of John Fowles' novel The French Lieutenant's Woman in 1981 and for his adaptation of his own play, Betrayal, in 1983. His adaptation of L.P. Hartley's novel The Go-Between won him a BAFTA award in 1971. Other screenplays include his 1968 version of The Birthday Party for the screen, Reunion (1989), The Handmaid's Tale (1990, based on a novel by Margaret Atwood), and The Trial (1993, based on Kafka's novel). Pinter's later plays saw him shifting his focus away from the sinister underbelly of urban society and onto an upper-middle-class setting that more closely reflected his own milieu. In addition to Betrayal (1978), they include No Man's Land (1975). Pinter is also an occasional contributor of poetry to certain London journals, where he uses the pen name Harold Pinta.   In 2002 Pinter was made a Companion of Honour (CH). In later years he became well-known as a left-wing political activist over a range of international issues including Chile, Yugoslavia, and the 2003 Iraq War. After his divorce from Vivien Merchant in 1980, Pinter married the best-selling historian Lady Antonia Fraser. One of the most famous of all modern British playwrights, Pinter has attracted many biographical and critical studies, among them biographies by R. Hayman (1975), Michael Billington (1997), Martin S. Rega (1995), and Volker Strunk (1998). In 2005 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Esslin, Theater of the Absurd (1961); idem, The People Wound: The Work of Harold Pinter (1970); J.R. Taylor, Anger and After (1960). (Philip D. Hobsbaum / Rohan Saxena)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pinter, Harold — (1930 )    Born in Hackney a working class neighborhood in London s East End the son of a Jewish tailor, he was educated at Hackney Downs Grammar School and spent two years at London s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1950 he started publishing …   British and Irish poets

  • Pinter, Harold — born Oct. 10, 1930, London, Eng. British playwright and actor. Born into a working class family, he acted with touring companies until 1959. His early one act plays were followed by the full length The Birthday Party (1958). His next major plays …   Universalium

  • Pinter, Harold — ► (n. 1930) Dramaturgo británico. Autor de El montacargas y La fiesta de cumpleaños (1958), entre otras. * * * (n. 10 oct. 1930, Londres, Inglaterra). Dramaturgo y actor británico. Nacido en el seno de una familia de la clase obrera, actuó en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Pinter, Harold — (b. 1930)    British playwright. Born in London, Pinter became internationally acclaimed for plays depicting marital and other personal relationships fraught with tension under a light, even banal, surface. Among his plays are The Birthday Party… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Pinter,Harold — Pin·ter (pĭnʹtər), Harold. Born 1930. British playwright, screenwriter, and director. His plays, including The Dumbwaiter (1957) and The Birthday Party (1960), create an atmosphere of menace.   Pin ter·esqueʹ ( ĕskʹ) adj. * * * …   Universalium

  • Pinter, Harold — (b. 1930)    British dramatist. Born in London, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. From 1949 to 1960 he was a profes sional actor. His works include The Room, The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, A Night Out, A Slight… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Pinter — Pinter, Harold …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Harold Pinter and academia — concerns academic recognition of and scholarship pertaining to 2005 Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, who is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, and political activist born in 1930.Although, due to illness, he had… …   Wikipedia

  • Harold Pinter — Harold Pinter …   Wikipedia Español

  • pinter — [ pɛ̃te ] v. <conjug. : 1> • 1270; de pinte ♦ Pop. 1 ♦ V. intr. Boire beaucoup. ⇒ picoler. Il pinte sec. 2 ♦ V. pron. SE PINTER : s enivrer. Se pinter au whisky. P. p. adj. Il est complètement pinté. ⇒ ivre. ● pinter verbe transitif (de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.