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Harold Pinter
Occupation Playwright, screenwriter, actor, theatre director, poet
Nationality British
Period 1947–2008
Notable awards David Cohen Prize (1995)
Laurence Olivier Award (1996)
Companion of Honour (2002)
Nobel Prize in Literature (2005)
Légion d'honneur (2007)
Spouse Vivien Merchant (1956–1980)
Antonia Fraser (1980–2008)
Children One son with Merchant,
six stepchildren with Fraser

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Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008), was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, theatre director, poet, left-wing political activist, cricket enthusiast, and Nobel laureate.[1][2][3] He was one of the most influential and imitated of modern British dramatists.[4][5] Pinter's writing career spanned over 50 years and produced 29 original stage plays, 27 screenplays, many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays, poetry, one novel, short fiction, essays, speeches, and letters. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted to film. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include 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 and acted extensively in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works.[6]

Pinter's dramas often involve strong conflicts between 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. Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual identity oppressed by social forces, language, and vicissitudes of memory.[7][8] In 1981, Pinter stated that he was not inclined to write plays explicitly about political subjects; yet in the mid 1980s he began writing overtly political plays. This "new direction" in his work and his left-wing political activism stimulated additional critical debate. Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary.[9]

Pinter received over 50 awards, prizes, and other honours,[10] including the Tony Award for Best Play for The Homecoming in 1967, eight BAFTA awards for screenwriting and a BAFTA Fellowship in 1997,[11] the French Légion d'honneur in 2007, and 20 honorary degrees. Festivals and symposia have been devoted to him and his work. In awarding Pinter the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, the Swedish Academy noted: "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'."[12]

Despite frail health after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role of Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006.[5] He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008. The following week he was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, in North West London.


Early life and education[edit]

Pinter was born on 10 October 1930, in Hackney, east London, to Jewish, lower middle class, native English parents of Eastern European ancestry: his father, Jack Pinter (1902–1997) was a ladies' tailor; his mother, Frances (née Moskowitz; 1904–1992), a homemaker who was described by Pinter as a "good cook".[13] Pinter believed an aunt's erroneous view that the family was Sephardic and had fled the Spanish Inquisition; thus, for his early poems, Pinter used the pseudonym Pinta and at other times used variations such as da Pinto.[14] Later research by Antonia Fraser, Pinter's second wife, revealed the legend to be apocryphal; three of Pinter's grandparents came from Poland and the fourth from Odessa, so the family was Ashkenazic.[14][15][16]

He was evacuated from the family home in London—described by Pinter's official biographer Michael Billington, as "a solid, red-brick, three-storey villa just off the noisy, bustling, traffic-ridden thoroughfare of the Lower Clapton Road"—to Cornwall and Reading in 1940 and 1941.[17] Billington states that the "life-and-death intensity of daily experience" before and during the Blitz left Pinter with profound memories "of loneliness, bewilderment, separation and loss: themes that are in all his works."[18]

Although he was an only child, Pinter discovered his social potential as a student at Hackney Downs School, a London grammar school, between 1944 and 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."[16][19] A major influence on Pinter was his inspirational English teacher Joseph Brearley, who directed him in school plays and with whom he took long walks, talking about literature.[20] According to Billington, under Brearley's instruction, "Pinter shone at English, wrote for the school magazine and discovered a gift for acting."[21][22] He played Romeo and Macbeth, in 1947 and 1948, in productions directed by Brearley.[23]

At the age of 12, Pinter began writing poetry, and in spring 1947, his poetry was first published in the Hackney Downs School Magazine.[24] In 1950, his poetry was first published outside of the school magazine in Poetry London, some of it under the pseudonym "Harold Pinta".[25][26]

Sport and friendship[edit]

Pinter enjoyed running and broke the Hackney Downs School sprinting record.[27][28] He was an avid cricket enthusiast, taking his bat with him when evacuated during the Blitz.[29] In 1971 he told Mel Gussow: "one of my main obsessions in life is the game of cricket—I play and watch and read about it all the time."[30] He was chairman of the Gaieties Cricket Club, a lifetime support[er] of Yorkshire Cricket Club,[31] and devoted an entire section of his official website to the sport.[32] One wall of his study was dominated by a portrait of himself as a young man playing cricket, which was described by Sarah Lyall, writing in The New York Times: "The painted Mr. Pinter, poised to swing his bat, has a wicked glint in his eye; testosterone all but flies off the canvas."[33][34] Pinter approved of the "urban and exacting idea of cricket as a bold theatre of aggression."[35] After his death, several of his school contemporaries recalled his achievements in sports, especially cricket and running.[36] The BBC Radio 4 memorial tribute included an essay on Pinter and cricket.[37]

Other interests that Pinter mentioned to interviewers are family, love and sex, drinking, writing, and reading.[38] 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."[16][39]

Early theatrical training and stage experience[edit]

Beginning in late 1948, Pinter attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for two terms, but hating the school, missed most of his classes, feigned a nervous breakdown, and dropped out in 1949.[40] In 1948 he was also "called up for National Service", registered as a conscientious objector, was brought to trial twice, and was ultimately fined by the magistrate for refusing to serve.[41] He had a small part in the Christmas pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Chesterfield Hippodrome in 1949 to 1950.[42] From January to July 1951, he attended the Central School of Speech and Drama.[43]

From 1951 to 1952, he toured Ireland with the Anew McMaster repertory company, playing over a dozen roles.[44] In 1952 he began acting in regional English repertory productions; from 1953 to 1954, he worked for the Donald Wolfit Company, King's Theatre, Hammersmith, performing eight roles.[45][46] From 1954 until 1959, Pinter acted under the stage name David Baron.[47][48] In all, Pinter played nearly 25 roles under that name.[48][49] To supplement his income from acting, Pinter worked as a waiter, a postman, a bouncer, and a snow-clearer, meanwhile "harbouring ambitions as a poet and writer."[50] In October 1989 Pinter recalled: "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."[51] 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.[48][52]

Marriages and family life[edit]

From 1956 until 1980, Pinter was married to Vivien Merchant, an actress whom he met on tour,[8] perhaps best known for her performance in the 1966 film Alfie. Their son, Daniel, was born in 1958.[53] 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.[54] For seven years, from 1962 to 1969, Pinter was engaged in a clandestine "on-off affair" with BBC-TV presenter and journalist Joan Bakewell, which inspired his 1978 play Betrayal,[55] and also throughout that period and beyond seeing an American socialite, whom he nicknamed "Cleopatra", another secret he kept from both his wife and Bakewell.[56] Initially, in 1978, the play was thought to be a response to his later affair with historian Antonia Fraser, the wife of Hugh Fraser, and Pinter's "marital crack-up".[57] As Billington showed, however, the play was actually inspired by Pinter's earlier affair with Bakewell.[55]

Harold Pinter and Vivien Merchant had both met Lady Antonia Fraser in 1969, when all three worked together on a National Gallery programme about Mary, Queen of Scots; several years later, on 8–9 January 1975, Pinter and Fraser became romantically involved.[58] That meeting initiated their five-year extramarital love affair, Pinter's leaving his home with Merchant two and a half months later, their living together, beginning in August 1975, and their eventual marriage in 1980, which was "validated" in the Catholic Church in 1990, several years after the deaths of both their first spouses.[59][60] After having hidden the affair from her for two and a half months, on 21 March 1975, Pinter finally told his wife, "I've met somebody."[61] After that, "Life in Hanover Terrace gradually became impossible," and Pinter moved out of their house on 28 April 1975, five days after Hall's première of No Man's Land.[62][63] "For all concerned, it was a traumatic summer: one of separation, confrontation, pursuit and flight. What kept the story alive were Vivien's indiscretions.... Everyone else, to their credit, maintained a stoical silence."[62]

In mid August 1977, after Pinter and Lady Antonia Fraser had spent two years living in borrowed and rented quarters, they moved into her former family home in Holland Park,[64] where Pinter began writing Betrayal.[57] He "re-drafted" and "polished" it "off" later, while on holiday at the Grand Hotel, in Eastbourne, in early January 1978.[65] After the Frasers' divorce had become final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980, Pinter married Antonia Fraser on 27 November 1980.[66] Because of a two-week delay in Merchant's signing the divorce papers, however, the reception had to precede the actual ceremony, originally scheduled to occur on his 50th birthday.[67] Vivien Merchant died of acute alcoholism in the first week of October 1982, at the age of 53.[68][69] 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.[70]

A reclusive gifted musician and writer, Daniel changed his surname from Pinter to Brand, the maiden name of his maternal grandmother,[71] "when he was about sixteen," before Pinter and Antonia Fraser became romantically involved; while his father "couldn't understand" it, she says that she "could": "Pinter is such a distinctive name that he must have got tired of being asked, 'Any relation?'."[72] Earlier, Michael Billington wrote that Pinter saw Daniel's name change as "a largely pragmatic move on Daniel's part designed to keep the press ... at bay."[73] Fraser told Billington that Daniel "was very nice to me at a time when it would have been only too easy for him to have turned on me ... simply because he had been the sole focus of his father's love and now manifestly wasn't."[73] Still unreconciled at the time of his father's death, Daniel Brand did not attend Pinter's funeral.[74]

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," though he adds that Fraser herself did not "claim" to have "some influence over" Pinter or his writing.[71] In her own contemporaneous diary entry dated 15 January 1993, Antonia Fraser described herself more as Pinter's literary "midwife".[75] Indeed, she told Billington that "other people [such as Peggy Ashcroft, among others] had a shaping influence on [Pinter's] politics" and attributed changes in his writing and political views to a 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."[71]

Pinter was content in his second marriage and enjoyed family life with his six adult stepchildren and 17 step-grandchildren.[76] Even after battling cancer for several years, he considered himself "a very lucky man in every respect."[77] Sarah Lyall notes in her 2007 New York Times interview with Pinter that his "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 traveled 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."[33] In that interview 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.'"[33] After his death, Fraser told The Guardian: "He was a great man, and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years. He will never be forgotten."[78]

Civic activities and political activism[edit]

In 1948–49, when he was 18, Pinter opposed the politics of the Cold War, leading to his decision to become a conscientious objector and to refuse to comply with National Service in the British military. But he was not a pacifist. He told interviewers that, if he had been old enough at the time, he would have fought against the Nazis in World War II.[79] He seemed to express ambivalence (both indifference and hostility) towards "political structures" and politicians in his Fall 1966 Paris Review interview conducted by Lawrence M. Bensky.[80] Yet, 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 and in subsequent related campaigns.[81][82] In "A Play and Its Politics", a 1985 interview with Nicholas Hern, Pinter described his earlier plays retrospectively from the perspective of the politics of power and the dynamics of oppression.[83]

In his last 25 years, Pinter increasingly focused his essays, interviews, and public appearances directly on political issues. He was an officer in International PEN, travelling with American playwright Arthur Miller to Turkey in 1985 on a mission co-sponsored with a Helsinki Watch committee to investigate and protest against the torture of imprisoned writers. There he met victims of political oppression and their families. Pinter's experiences in Turkey and his knowledge of the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language inspired his 1988 play Mountain Language.[84] He was also an active member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that "campaigns in the UK against the U.S. blockade of Cuba."[85] 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, signing a related "Artists' Appeal for Milošević" in 2004.[86]

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. Among his provocative political statements, Pinter called Prime Minister Tony Blair a "deluded idiot" and compared the administration of President George W. Bush to Nazi Germany.[86][87] He stated that the United States "was charging towards world domination while the American public and Britain's 'mass-murdering' prime minister sat back and watched."[88] He was very active in the antiwar movement in the United Kingdom, speaking at rallies held by the Stop the War Coalition[89] and frequently criticising American aggression, as when he asked rhetorically, in his "Acceptance Speech" for the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry on 18 March 2007: "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."[90][91][92]

The award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Pinter and his sharp political statements have elicited strong criticism and even, at times, provoked ridicule and personal attacks.[93] The historian Geoffrey Alderman, author of the official history of Hackney Downs School, expressed his own "Jewish View" of Harold Pinter: "Whatever his merit as a writer, actor and director, on an ethical plane Harold Pinter seems to me to have been intensely flawed, and his moral compass deeply fractured."[94] David Edgar, writing in The Guardian, defended Pinter against what he termed Pinter's "being berated by the belligerati" like Johann Hari, who felt that he did not "deserve" to win the Nobel Prize.[95][96] Later Pinter continued to campaign against the Iraq War and on behalf of other political causes that he supported. As Alderman points out, for example, Pinter 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,[94] and he was a patron of the Palestine Festival of Literature.


As actor[edit]

Pinter's acting career spanned over 50 years and, although he often played villains, included a wide range of roles on stage and in radio, film, and television.[45][97] 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 (1985), starring Michael Gambon, Glenda Jackson, and Ben Kingsley.[45]

Pinter's notable film and television roles included the corrupt lawyer Saul Abrahams, opposite Peter O'Toole, in BBC TV's Rogue Male (1976), a remake of the 1941 film noir Man Hunt, released on DVD in 2002; and a drunk Irish journalist in Langrishe, Go Down (starring Judi Dench and Jeremy Irons) distributed on BBC Two in 1978[97] and released in movie theatres in 2002.[98] Pinter's later film roles included the criminal Sam Ross in Mojo (1997), written and directed by Jez Butterworth, based on Butterworth's play of the same name; Sir Thomas Bertram (his most substantial feature-film role) in Mansfield Park (1998), a character that Pinter described 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 (2001).[45] In television films, he played Mr. Bearing, the father of ovarian cancer patient Vivian Bearing, played by Emma Thompson in Mike Nichols' HBO film of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit (2001); and the Director opposite John Gielgud (Gielgud's last role) and Rebecca Pidgeon in Catastrophe, by Samuel Beckett, directed by David Mamet as part of Beckett On Film (2001).[45][97]

As director[edit]

Pinter began to direct more frequently during the 1970s, becoming an associate director of the National Theatre (NT) in 1973.[99] He directed almost 50 productions of his own and others' plays for stage, film, and television, including 10 productions of works by Simon Gray: 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).[8] 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 in Pinter's double-bill produced at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1984, he played Nicolas in One for the Road and the cab driver in Victoria Station.[100] Among over 35 plays that Pinter directed were 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.[6][99]

As playwright[edit]

Pinter is the author of 29 plays and 15 dramatic sketches and the co-author of two works for stage and radio.[101] 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.[102] His style has entered the English language as an adjective, "Pinteresque", although Pinter himself disliked the term and found it meaningless.[103]

"Comedies of menace" (1957–1968)[edit]

The Room and The Birthday Party (1957)

Pinter's first play, The Room, written and first performed in 1957, was a student production at the University of Bristol, directed by his good friend, actor Henry Woolf, who also originated the role of Mr. Kidd (which he reprised in 2001 and 2007).[101] After Pinter mentioned that he had an idea for a play, Woolf asked him to write it so that he could direct it to fulfill a requirement for his postgraduate work. Pinter wrote it in three days.[104] The production was "a staggeringly confident debut which attracted the attention of a young producer, Michael Codron, who decided to present Pinter's next play, The Birthday Party, at the Lyric Hammersmith, in 1958."[105]

Written in 1957 and produced in 1958, Pinter's second play, The Birthday Party, one of his best-known works, 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.[105][106] Critical accounts often quote Hobson's prophetic words:

I am well aware that Mr Pinter[']s play received extremely bad notices last Tuesday morning. At the moment I write these [words] 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 [as in Class Honours]; 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.

Pinter himself and later critics generally credited Hobson as bolstering him and perhaps even rescuing his career.[107]

In a review published in 1958, borrowing from the subtitle of The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, a play by David Campton, critic Irving Wardle called Pinter's early plays "comedy of menace"—a label that people have applied repeatedly to his work.[108] 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.[109]

The Hothouse (1958/1980), The Dumb Waiter (1959), The Caretaker (1959), and other early plays

Pinter wrote The Hothouse in 1958, which he shelved for over 20 years (See "Overtly political plays and sketches" below). Next he wrote The Dumb Waiter (1959), which premiered in Germany and was then produced in a double bill with The Room at the Hampstead Theatre Club, in London, in 1960.[101] It was not produced very often thereafter until the 1980s, and it has been revived more frequently since 2000, including the West End Trafalgar Studios production in 2007. The first production of The Caretaker, at the Arts Theatre Club, in London, in 1960, established Pinter's theatrical reputation.[110] Large radio and television audiences for his one-act play A Night Out, along with the popularity of his revue sketches, propelled him to further critical attention.[111] In 1964, four years after the success of The Caretaker, through its long run at the Duchess Theatre, which garnered an Evening Standard Award, 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 Theatre) and was well-received.[112]

By the time Peter Hall's London production of The Homecoming (1964) reached Broadway in 1967, Pinter had become a celebrity playwright, and the play garnered four Tony Awards, among other awards.[113] During this period, Pinter also wrote the radio play A Slight Ache, first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 1959 and then adapted to the stage and performed at the Arts Theatre Club in 1961. A Night Out (1960) was broadcast to a large audience on Associated British Corporation's television show Armchair Theatre, after being transmitted on BBC Radio 3, also in 1960. His play Night School was first televised in 1960 on Associated Rediffusion. The Collection premièred at the Aldwych Theatre in 1962, and The Dwarfs, adapted from Pinter's then unpublished novel of the same title, was first broadcast on radio in 1960, then adapted for the stage (also at the Arts Theatre Club) in a double bill with The Lover, which was then televised on Associated Rediffusion in 1963; and Tea Party, a play that Pinter developed from his 1963 short story, first broadcast on BBC TV in 1965.[101]

Working as both a screenwriter and as a playwright, Pinter composed a script called The Compartment (1966), for a trilogy of films to be contributed by Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, and Pinter, of which only Beckett's film, entitled Film, was actually produced. Then Pinter turned his unfilmed script into a television play, which was produced as The Basement, both on BBC 2 and also on stage in 1968.[114]

"Memory plays" (1968–1982)[edit]

From the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Pinter wrote a series of plays and sketches that explore complex ambiguities, elegiac mysteries, comic vagaries, and other "quicksand-like" characteristics of memory and which critics sometimes classify as Pinter's "memory plays".[7] These include Landscape (1968), Silence (1969), Night (1969), Old Times (1971), No Man's Land (1975), The Proust Screenplay (1977), Betrayal (1978), Family Voices (1981), Victoria Station (1982), and A Kind of Alaska (1982). Some of Pinter's later plays, including 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 earlier memory plays.[7][115]

Overtly political plays and sketches (1980–2000)[edit]

Following a three-year period of creative drought in the early 1980s after his marriage to Antonia Fraser and the death of Vivien Merchant,[116] Pinter's plays tended to become shorter and more overtly political, serving as critiques of oppression, torture, and other abuses of human rights,[117] linked by the apparent "invulnerability of power."[118] Just before this hiatus, in 1979, Pinter re-discovered his manuscript of The Hothouse, which he had written in 1958 but had set aside; he revised it and then directed its first production himself at Hampstead Theatre in London, in 1980.[119] Like his plays of the 1980s, The Hothouse concerns authoritarianism and the abuses of power politics, but it is also highly comic, like his earlier comedies of menace. Pinter played the major role of Roote in a 1995 revival at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester.[120]

Pinter's brief dramatic sketch Precisely (1983) is a duologue between two bureaucrats exploring the absurd power politics of mutual nuclear annihilation and deterrence. His first overtly political one-act play is One for the Road (1984). In 1985 Pinter stated that whereas his earlier plays presented "metaphors" for "power and powerlessness," the later ones present literal "realities" of power and its abuse.[121] Pinter's "political theater dramatizes the interplay and conflict of the opposing poles of involvement and disengagement."[122] Mountain Language (1988) concerned the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language.[84] The dramatic sketch The New World Order (1991) provides "10 nerve wracking minutes" of two men threatening to torture a third man who is blindfolded, gagged, and bound in a chair; Pinter directed the British première at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, where it opened on 9 July 1991, and the production then transferred to Washington, D.C., where it was revived in 1994.[123] Pinter's longer political satire Party Time (1991) premièred at the Almeida Theatre in London, in a double-bill with Mountain Language. Pinter adapted it as a screenplay for television in 1992, directing that production, first broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 17 November 1992.[124]

Intertwining political and personal concerns, his next full-length plays, Moonlight (1993) and Ashes to Ashes (1996) are set in domestic households and focus on dying and death; in their personal conversations in Ashes to Ashes, Devlin and Rebecca allude to unspecified "atrocities" relating to the Holocaust.[125] After experiencing the deaths of first his mother (1992) and then his father (1997), again merging the personal and the political, Pinter wrote the poems "Death" (1997) and "The Disappeared" (1998).

Pinter's last stage play, Celebration (2000), is a social satire, set in an opulent restaurant, which lampoons The Ivy, a gathering place for the theatre crowd near Covent Garden in London's West End theatre district, and its patrons who "have just come from performances of either the ballet or the opera. Not that they can remember a darn thing about what they saw, including the titles. [These] gilded, foul-mouthed souls are just as myopic when it comes to their own table mates (and for that matter, their food), with conversations that usually connect only on the surface, if there."[126] On its surface the play may appear to have fewer overtly political resonances than some of the plays from the 1980s and 1990s; but its central male characters, brothers named Lambert and Matt, are members of the elite (like the men "in charge" in Party Time), who describe themselves as "peaceful strategy consultants [because] we don't carry guns."[127] At the next table, Russell, a banker, describes himself as a "totally disordered personality ... a psychopath,"[128] while Lambert "vows to be reincarnated as '[a] more civilised, [a] gentler person, [a] nicer person'."[129][130] These characters' deceptively smooth exteriors mask their extreme viciousness. Celebration evokes familiar Pinteresque political contexts: "The ritzy loudmouths in 'Celebration' ... and the quieter working-class mumblers of 'The Room' ... have everything in common beneath the surface".[126] "Money remains in the service of entrenched power, and the brothers in the play are 'strategy consultants' whose jobs involve force and violence.... It is tempting but inaccurate to equate the comic power inversions of the social behavior in Celebration with lasting change in larger political structures", according to Grimes, for whom the play indicates Pinter's pessimism about the possibility of changing the status quo.[131] Yet, as the Waiter's often comically unbelievable reminiscences about his grandfather demonstrate in Celebration, Pinter's final stage plays also extend some expressionistic aspects of his earlier "memory plays", while harkening back to his "comedies of menace", as illustrated in the characters and in the Waiter's final speech: "My grandfather introduced me to the mystery of life and I'm still in the middle of it. I can't find the door to get out. My grandfather got out of it. He got right out of it. He left it behind him and he didn't look back. He got that absolutely right. And I'd like to make one further interjection.
He stands still. Slow fade."[132]

During 2000–2001, there were also simultaneous productions of Remembrance of Things Past, Pinter's stage adaptation of his unpublished Proust Screenplay, written in collaboration with and directed by Di Trevis, at the Royal National Theatre, and a revival of The Caretaker directed by Patrick Marber and starring Michael Gambon, Rupert Graves, and Douglas Hodge, at the Comedy Theatre.[101]

Like Celebration, Pinter's penultimate sketch, Press Conference (2002), "invokes both torture and the fragile, circumscribed existence of dissent."[133] In its première in the National Theatre's two-part production of Sketches, despite undergoing chemotherapy at the time, Pinter played the ruthless Minister willing to murder little children for the benefit of "The State".[134]

As screenwriter[edit]

Pinter composed 27 screenplays and film scripts for cinema and television, many of which were filmed, or adapted as stage plays.[135] His fame as a screenwriter began with his three screenplays written for films directed by Joseph Losey, leading to their close friendship: The Servant (1963), based on the novel by Robin Maugham and starring Dirk Bogarde and James Fox; Accident (1967), adapted from the novel by Nicholas Mosley and starring Bogarde, Pinter's first wife Vivien Merchant, Jacqueline Sassard, Delphine Seyrig, and Michael York; and The Go-Between (1970), based on the novel by L. P. Hartley and starring Alan Bates and Julie Christie.[136] Films based on Pinter's adaptations of his own stage plays are: The Caretaker (1963), directed by Clive Donner; The Birthday Party (1968), directed by William Friedkin; The Homecoming (1973), directed by Peter Hall; and Betrayal (1983), directed by David Jones.

Pinter also adapted many screenplays from other writers' novels, including The Pumpkin Eater (1964), based on the novel by Penelope Mortimer, directed by Jack Clayton and starring Anne Bancroft, Peter Finch, James Mason, and Maggie Smith, among others; The Quiller Memorandum (1966), from the 1965 spy novel The Berlin Memorandum, by Elleston Trevor, directed by Michael Anderson, starring George Segal and featuring Senta Berger, Alec Guinness, and Max von Sydow; The Last Tycoon (1976), from the unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Tony Curtis, Robert De Niro, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence, and Theresa Russell; The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), from the novel by John Fowles, directed by Karel Reisz, and starring Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep; Turtle Diary (1985), based on the novel by Russell Hoban, starring Michael Gambon, Glenda Jackson, and Ben Kingsley; The Heat of the Day (1988), a television film, from the 1949 novel by Elizabeth Bowen; The Comfort of Strangers (1990), from the novel by Ian McEwan, directed by Paul Schrader and starring Rupert Everett, Helen Mirren, Natasha Richardson, and Christopher Walken; and The Trial (1993), from the novel by Franz Kafka, directed by David Jones and starring Kyle MacLachlan, with cameo appearances by Anthony Hopkins, Alfred Molina, and others.[137]

His commissioned screenplay adaptations from others' works for the films The Handmaid's Tale (1990), The Remains of the Day (1990), and Lolita (1997), remain unpublished and in the case of the latter two films, uncredited, though several scenes from or aspects of his scripts were also used in these finished films.[138] His screenplays The Proust Screenplay (1972), Victory (1982), and The Dreaming Child (1997) and his unpublished screenplay The Tragedy of King Lear (2000) have not been filmed.[139] A section of Pinter's Proust Screenplay was, however, released as the 1984 film Swann in Love (Un amour de Swann), directed by Volker Schlöndorff and starring Jeremy Irons and Ornella Muti, and it was also adapted by Michael Bakewell as a 2-hour radio drama broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 1995,[140] before Pinter and director Di Trevis collaborated to adapt it for the 2000 National Theatre production.[141]

Pinter's screenwriting career culminated in his last filmed screenplay adaptation of the 1970 Tony Award-winning play Sleuth, by Anthony Shaffer, which was commissioned by Jude Law, one of the film's producers.[33] It is the basis for the 2007 film Sleuth, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Law as Milo Tindle (played by Caine in the 1972 film of Sleuth) and Michael Caine as Andrew Wyke (played by Laurence Olivier in the earlier film).[33][142][143] Pinter's screenplays for both The French Lieutenant's Woman and Betrayal were nominated for Academy Awards in 1981 and 1983, respectively.[144][145]


Study of Pinter by Reginald Gray 2007. (New Statesman 12 January 2008)

From 16 to 31 July 2001, a Harold Pinter Festival celebrating his work, curated by Michael Colgan, artistic director of the Gate Theatre, Dublin, was held as part of the annual Lincoln Center Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City. Pinter 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.[146] As part of a two-week "Harold Pinter Homage" at the World Leaders Festival of Creative Genius, held from 24 September to 30 October 2001, at Harbourfront Centre, in Toronto, Canada, Pinter presented a dramatic reading of Celebration (2000) and also participated in a public interview as part of the International Festival of Authors.[147][148]

In December 2001, Pinter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, for which, in 2002, he underwent an operation and chemotherapy.[149] As chronicled on his official website and in the subsequent editions of the "Harold Pinter Bibliography" in volumes of The Pinter Review, during the course of his treatment, he directed a production of his play No Man's Land, wrote and performed in a new sketch, "Press Conference", for the otherwise-retrospective production of his dramatic sketches at the National Theatre, and, from 2002 on, he was increasingly active in political causes, writing and presenting politically charged poetry, essays, speeches, as well as involved in developing his final two screenplay adaptations, The Tragedy of King Lear and Sleuth, whose drafts are in the British Library's Harold Pinter Archive (Add MS 88880).

From 9 to 25 January 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 performed by a dozen different theatre companies.[150] Productions during the Festival included: The Hothouse, Night School, The Lover, The Dumb Waiter, The Homecoming, The Birthday Party, Monologue, One for the Road, The Caretaker, Ashes to Ashes, Celebration, and No Man's Land.[151]

In 2005, Pinter stated that he had stopped writing plays and that he would be devoting his efforts more to his political activism and writing poetry: "I think I've written 29 plays. I think it's enough for me.... 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."[152][153] Some of this later poetry included "The 'Special Relationship'", "Laughter", and "The Watcher".

From 2005, Pinter battled post-oesophageal cancer and other ill health, including a rare skin disease called pemphigus[154] and "a form of septicaemia that afflict[ed] his feet and made it difficult for him to walk."[155] Yet, he completed his screenplay for the film of Sleuth in 2005.[33][156] His last dramatic work for radio, 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 on 10 October 2005. Three days later, it was announced that he had won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature.[157]

In an interview of Pinter in 2006, conducted by critic Michael Billington as part of the Cultural Programme of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Pinter confirmed that he would continue to write poetry but not plays.[154] In response, the audience shouted No in unison, urging him to keep writing.[158] Along with the international symposium on Pinter: Passion, Poetry, Politics, curated by Billington, the 2006 Europe Theatre Prize theatrical events celebrating Pinter included new productions (in French) of Precisely (1983), One for the Road (1984), Mountain Language (1988), The New World Order (1991), Party Time (1991), and Press Conference (2002) (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.[159] In June 2006, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) hosted a celebration of Pinter's films curated by his friend, playwright David Hare. Hare introduced the selection of film clips 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."[160]

After returning to London from the Edinburgh International Book Festival, in September 2006, Pinter began rehearsing for his performance of the role of Krapp in Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, which he performed from a motorized wheelchair in a limited run the next month at the Royal Court Theatre to sold-out audiences and "ecstatic" critical reviews.[161] The production ran only nine performances, from 12 October, two days after Pinter's 76th birthday, to 24 October 2006, as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration season of the Royal Court Theatre; it was one of the most sought-after tickets in London, selling out within minutes of the opening of the box office and commanding large sums from scalpers.[162] One performance was filmed, produced on DVD, broadcast on BBC Four on 21 June 2007, and also screened later, as part of the memorial PEN Tribute to Pinter, in New York, on 2 May 2009.[163]

Also in 2006, Sheffield Theatres hosted Pinter: A Celebration for a full month (11 October – 11 November 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, such as critical discussions, a Pinter quiz, a celebration of cricket, the BBC Two documentary film Arena: Harold Pinter, a consideration of Pinter's pacifist writing, and a screening of Pinter's Nobel Prize Lecture, "Art, Truth and Politics".[164]

In 2007, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of The Dumb Waiter, Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs starred as Gus and Ben in a West End revival at the Trafalgar Studios, from 2 February through 24 March 2007. Later in February 2007, John Crowley's film version of Pinter's play Celebration (2000) was shown on More4 (Channel 4, UK). The cast included James Bolam, Janie Dee, Colin Firth, James Fox, Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Sophie Okonedo, Stephen Rea, and Penelope Wilton. 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), also starring Michael Gambon, Rupert Graves, Samuel West, James Alexandrou, and Gina McKee. A revival of The Hothouse, with a cast including Stephen Moore, Lia Williams, and Henry Woolf, opened at the 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, Dervla Kirwan, and Samuel West, directed by Roger Michell.[165]

Revivals in 2008 included the 40th anniverary production of the American première of The Homecoming on Broadway starring James Frain, Ian McShane, Raúl Esparza, Michael McKean, and Eve Best, directed by Daniel J. Sullivan, which opened on 16 December 2007, in a limited engagement through 13 April 2008.[166] From 8 to 24 May 2008, the Lyric Hammersmith celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Birthday Party with a revival and related events, including a gala performance and reception hosted by Harold Pinter on 19 May 2008, exactly 50 years after its London première there.

No Man's Land revival at Duke of York's Theatre, 30 December 2008

The final revival during Pinter's lifetime was a production of No Man's Land, directed by Rupert Goold, opening at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in August 2008, and then transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre, London, where it played through 3 January 2009.[167] On the Monday before Christmas 2008, during the play's break, Pinter was admitted to Hammersmith Hospital, where he died on Christmas Eve from liver cancer.[5][168][169] On 26 December 2008, when No Man's Land reopened at the Duke of York's, the actors paid tribute to Pinter from the stage, with Gambon reading Hirst's monologue about his "photograph album" from Act Two that Pinter had asked 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.[168][170][171]

Posthumous events[edit]


Pinter's funeral was a private, half-hour secular ceremony conducted at the graveside at Kensal Green Cemetery, 31 December 2008. The eight readings selected in advance by Pinter included passages from seven of his own writings and from the story "The Dead", by James Joyce, which was read by actress Penelope Wilton. Michael Gambon read the "photo album" speech from No Man's Land and three other readings, including Pinter's poem "Death" (1997). Other readings honoured Pinter's widow and his love of cricket.[168] At the end of the ceremony, which was attended by many other notable theatre people, including Tom Stoppard, though not by Pinter's son, Daniel Brand, Pinter's tearful widow, Antonia Fraser, stepped forward to his grave and quoted these lines from Horatio's speech after the death of Prince Hamlet: "Goodnight, sweet prince, / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."[74]

Memorial tributes[edit]

The night before Pinter's burial, theatre marquees on Broadway dimmed their lights for a minute in tribute,[169] and on the final night of No Man's Land at the Duke of York's Theatre on 3 January 2009, all of the Ambassador Theatre Group in the West End dimmed their lights for an hour to honour the playwright.[172] The Sydney Festival, Dublin's Gate Theatre, and the Sydney Theatre Company, whose co-artistic directors are Australian actress Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, on 1 February, gave a free, hour-long tribute performance of readings from Pinter's works. It was directed and introduced by Colgan and featured Blanchett, fellow Australian actor Robert Menzies (grandson of former Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies), and others.[173]

Diane Abbott, the Member of Parliament for Hackney North & Stoke Newington proposed an early day motion in the House of Commons to support residents' campaign to restore the Clapton Cinematograph Theatre, established in Lower Clapton Road in 1910, and to turn it into a memorial to Pinter "to honour this Hackney boy turned literary great."[174] On 2 May 2009, a free public memorial tribute was held at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. It was part of the 5th Annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, taking place in New York City.[175] Another memorial celebration, held in the Olivier Theatre, at the Royal National Theatre, in London, on the evening of 7 June 2009, consisted of excerpts and readings from Pinter's writings by nearly three dozen of Britain's most-accomplished actors, many of whom were his friends and associates, including: Eileen Atkins, David Bradley, Colin Firth, Henry Goodman, Sheila Hancock, Alan Rickman, Penelope Wilton, Susan Wooldridge, and Henry Woolf; and a troupe of students from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, directed by Ian Rickson.[176][177]

On 16 June 2009, Antonia Fraser officially opened the Harold Pinter Room & Studio at the Hackney Empire, renaming the Hackney Empire Hospitality Suite.[178][179] Most of issue number 28 of Craig Raine's Arts Tri-Quarterly Areté was devoted to pieces remembering Pinter, beginning with Pinter's 1987 unpublished love poem dedicated "To Antonia" and his poem "Paris", written in 1975 (the year that he and Fraser began living together), followed by brief memoirs by some of Pinter's associates and friends, including Patrick Marber, Nina Raine, Tom Stoppard, Peter Nichols, Susanna Gross, Richard Eyre, and David Hare.[180]

A memorial cricket match at Lord's Cricket Ground between the Gaieties Cricket Club and the Lord's Taverners, followed by performances of Pinter's poems and excerpts from his plays, took place on 27 September 2009.[181]

Being Harold Pinter[edit]

In January 2011 Being Harold Pinter, a theatrical collage of excerpts from Pinter's dramatic works, his Nobel Lecture, and letters of Belarusian prisoners, created and performed by the Belarus Free Theatre, captured a great deal of attention in the public media. The Free Theatre's members had to be "smuggled" out of Minsk, due to a government "crackdown" on dissident artists, in order to perform their production in a two-week sold-out engagement at La MaMa, as part of the 2011 Under the Radar Festival. In an additional sold-out benefit performance at the Public Theatre, co-hosted by playwrights Tony Kushner and Tom Stoppard, the letters were read by ten guest performers: Mandy Patinkin, Kevin Kline, Olympia Dukakis, Lily Rabe, Linda Emond, Josh Hamilton, Stephen Spinella, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.[182] In solidarity with the Belarus Free Theatre, which was invited to bring Being Harold Pinter to Chicago for the month of February 2011, collaborations of actors and theatre companies joined in offering additional benefit readings of Being Harold Pinter across the United States.[183]


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),[184][185] Pinter was appointed CBE in 1966[186] and became a Companion of Honour in 2002, having declined a knighthood in 1996.[187] In 1995 and 1996 he accepted the David Cohen Prize, in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement, and the Laurence Olivier Special Award for lifetime achievement in the theatre, respectively.[188] In 1997 he became a BAFTA Fellow.[11] He received the World Leaders Award for "Creative Genius" as the subject of a week-long "Homage" in Toronto, in October 2001.[189] In 2004, he received the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry for his "lifelong contribution to literature, 'and specifically for his collection of poetry entitled War, published in 2003'".[190] In March 2006, he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize in recognition of lifetime achievements pertaining to drama and theatre.[191] In conjunction with that award, critic Michael Billington coordinated an international conference on Pinter: Passion, Poetry, Politics, including scholars and critics from Europe and the Americas, held in Turin, Italy, from 10 to 14 March 2006.[7][159][192]

In October 2008, the Central School of Speech and Drama announced that Pinter had agreed to become its president and awarded him an honorary fellowship at its graduation ceremony.[193] 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."[194] But Pinter had to receive that honorary degree, his 20th, in absentia, due to ill health.[193] His presidency of the school was brief, as he died just two weeks after the graduation ceremony, on 24 December 2008.

Nobel Prize and Nobel Lecture[edit]

On 13 October 2005, the Swedish Academy announced that it had decided to award the Nobel Prize in Literature for that year to Pinter, who "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms."[195] Its selection instigated some public controversy and criticism relating both to characteristics of Pinter's work and to his politics.[93] When interviewed that day about his reaction to the announcement, 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."[196] The Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony and related events throughout Scandinavia took place in December 2005. After the Academy notified Pinter of his award, he had planned to travel to Stockholm to present his Nobel Lecture in person.[197] In November, however, discovering an infection that would nearly kill him, his doctor hospitalised him and barred such travel, and his publisher, Stephen Page of Faber and Faber, accepted his Nobel Diploma and Nobel Medal at the Awards Ceremony in his place.[33][198]

Though still hospitalised, Pinter videotaped his Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth and Politics", at a Channel 4 studio. It was projected on three large screens at the Swedish Academy on the evening of 7 December 2005.[33][199] It was transmitted on More 4 in the UK that evening.[200] The 46-minute lecture was introduced on television by David Hare. Later, the text and streaming video formats (without Hare's introduction) were posted on the Nobel Prize and Swedish Academy official websites. Pinter's lecture has been widely distributed by print and online media and has been the source of much commentary and debate.[201] It provoked extensive public controversy, with some commentators accusing Pinter of "anti-Americanism".[202] In his Nobel Lecture, however, Pinter emphasises that he criticises policies and practices of American administrations (and those who voted for them), not all American citizens, many of whom he recognises as "demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions."[203]

As a result of his Nobel Prize and Nobel Lecture, interest in Pinter's life and work surged, leading to new revivals of his plays and new editions of his 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, Mountain Language, and Celebration entitled Four Plays, by Faber and Faber.

Légion d'honneur[edit]

On 18 January 2007 the French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin presented Pinter with France's highest civil honour, the Légion d'honneur, at a ceremony at the French Embassy in London. De Villepin praised Pinter's poem "American Football" (1991) stating: "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 response, Pinter praised France's 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."[204] 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."[204]

Scholarly response[edit]

Some scholars and critics challenge the validity of Pinter's critiques of what he terms "the modes of thinking of those in power"[205] or dissent from his retrospective viewpoints on his own work.[206] In 1985, Pinter recalled that his early 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 that we have an obligation to subject our own actions and attitudes to an equivalent critical and moral scrutiny."[207] Scholars agree that Pinter's dramatic rendering of power relations results from this astute scrutiny.[208]

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 after him, "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do!" Pinter told Gussow in 1988, "I've lived that line all my damn life. Never more than now."[209] The example of Pinter's stalwart opposition to what he termed "the modes of thinking of those in power"—the "brick wall" of the "minds" perpetuating the "status quo"[210]—infused the "vast political pessimism" that some academic critics may perceive in his artistic work,[211] its "drowning landscape" of harsh contemporary realities, with some residual "hope for restoring the dignity of man."[212]

As Pinter's longtime friends David Jones and Henry Woolf would remind analytically inclined scholars and dramatic critics, Pinter was one of the "great comic writers":[213]

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."[214]

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.[215]

Pinter research collections[edit]

Pinter's unpublished manuscripts and letters to and from him are held in the Harold Pinter Archive in the Modern Literary Manuscripts division of the British Library. Smaller collections of Pinter manuscripts are in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin;[25] The Lilly Library, Indiana University at Bloomington; the Mandeville Special Collections Library, Geisel Library, at the University of California, San Diego; the British Film Institute, in London; and the Margaret Herrick Library, Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, California.[216][217]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "West End Pays Tribute to Pinter", BBC News, BBC, 27 December 2008, accessed 5 December 2010. [This news report erroneously states that Pinter had "colon cancer"; he was treated successfully for oesophageal cancer but died from liver cancer.]
  2. ^ Alastair Jamieson, "Harold Pinter's Journey from Playwright to Left-wing Fireb(r)and", Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 25 December 2008, accessed 29 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Harold Pinter, Master of Realism, Dies Aged 78", Independent, Independent News & Media, 25 December 2008, accessed 29 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Harold Pinter: One of the Most Influential British Playwrights of Modern Times", Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 25 December 2008, accessed 29 January 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Gussow and Brantley, "Harold Pinter, Playwright of the Pause, Dies at 78", New York Times, The New York Times Company, 25 December 2008, accessed 6 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b Mark Batty, comp., "Directing",, accessed 29 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d Billington, Introduction, "Pinter: Passion, Poetry, Politics", Europe Theatre Prize–X Edition, Turin, 10–12 March 2006, accessed 29 January 2011. Cf. Billington, chap. 29: "Memory Man" and "Afterword: Let's Keep Fighting", Harold Pinter 388–430.
  8. ^ a b c "Harold Pinter: The Most Original, Stylish and Enigmatic Writer in Post-war British Theatre", Daily Telegraph, 26 December 2008, Obituaries: 37; Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 25 December 2008, accessed 5 December 2010.
  9. ^ Merritt, Pinter in Play xi–xxv, 170–209, 174–75; Billington, Harold Pinter 286–338; and Grimes 19.
  10. ^ "Pinter Awards Saved for the Nation", MLA: Museums, Libraries & Archives, The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (UK), 20 October 2010, accessed 6 December 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Awards": "Harold Pinter" and "Academy Fellows": "Harold Pinter", searchable awards databases, BAFTA, 2010, accessed 7 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Bio-bibliography", "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2005",, Nobel Foundation and Swedish Academy, 2005, accessed 1 July 2009.
  13. ^ Harold Pinter, as quoted in Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 103.
  14. ^ a b Billington, Harold Pinter 1–5.
  15. ^ For some accounts of the significance of Pinter's Jewish background, see Billington, Harold Pinter 2, 40–41, 53–54, 79–81, 163–64, 177, 286, 390, 429.
  16. ^ a b c Cf. Woolf, "My 60 Years in Harold's Gang",, Guardian Media Group, 12 July 2007, accessed 29 January 2011; Woolf, as quoted in Merritt, "Talking about Pinter" 144–45; and H. Jacobson, "Opinion", Independent, Independent News & Media, 10 January 2009, accessed 29 January 2011.
  17. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 2.
  18. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 5–10.
  19. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 11.
  20. ^ A collection of Pinter's correspondence with Brearley is held in the Harold Pinter Archive in the British Library. Pinter's memorial epistolary poem "Joseph Brearley 1909–1977 (Teacher of English)", published in his collection Various Voices (177), ends with the following stanza: "You're gone. I'm at your side,/Walking with you from Clapton Pond to Finsbury Park,/And on, and on."
  21. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 10–11.
  22. ^ See also "Introduction by Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate", 7–9 in Watkins, ed., 'Fortune's Fool': The Man Who Taught Harold Pinter: A Life of Joe Brearley.
  23. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 13–14.
  24. ^ Baker and Ross 127.
  25. ^ a b "Biographical Sketch" (1999), 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, n.d., accessed 7 July 2009.
  26. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 29–35.
  27. ^ Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 28–29.
  28. ^ Baker, "Growing Up," chap. 1 of Harold Pinter 2–23.
  29. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 7–9 and 410.
  30. ^ Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 25.
  31. ^ Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 8.
  32. ^ "Cricket",, accessed 5 December 2010.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h Lyall, "Still Pinteresque", New York Times, The New York Times Company, 7 October 2007, accessed 5 December 2010.
  34. ^ Sherwin, "Portrait of Harold Pinter Playing Cricket to Be Sold at Auction", The Times, 24 March 2009, accessed 9 May 2009. (The painting was auctioned at a cricket match on 27 September 2009 to benefit a children's charity in Hackney as part of a memorial event for Pinter.)
  35. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 410.
  36. ^ Supple, T. Baker, and Watkins, in Watkins, ed.
  37. ^ Harry Burton, "Harold Pinter & Cricket", "Win an Exclusive Harold Pinter Portrait",, Lord's Taverners, 23 March 2009, accessed 26 April 2009.
  38. ^ See, e.g., Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 25–30; Billington, Harold Pinter 7–16; and Merritt, Pinter in Play 194.
  39. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 10–12.
  40. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25, 31–35; and Batty, About Pinter 7.
  41. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25.
  42. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 37; and Batty, About Pinter 8.
  43. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 31, 36, and 38; and Batty, About Pinter xiii and 8.
  44. ^ Pinter, "Mac", Various Voices 36–43. Cf. Mathews, "Anew McMaster, Actor and Impresario",, Irish Times, 7 July 2008.
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  47. ^ Billington 3 and 47–48. Pinter's paternal grandmother's maiden name was Baron. He also used the name for an autobiographical character in the first draft of his novel The Dwarfs.
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  59. ^ Fraser, chap. 1: "First Night"; chap. 2: "Pleasure and a Good Deal of Pain"; chap. 8: "It Is Here"; and chap. 13: "Marriage — Again", Must You Go? 3–33, 113–24, and 188–201.
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  63. ^ "People", Time, 11 August 1975, accessed 29 January 2011.
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  66. ^ Fraser, "27 November — The Diary of Lady Antonia Pinter", Must You Go? 122–23.
  67. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 271-76.
  68. ^ Billington 276.
  69. ^ "Death of Vivien Merchant Is Ascribed to Alcoholism", New York Times, 7 October 1982.
  70. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 276 and 345–47.
  71. ^ a b c Billington, Harold Pinter 255.
  72. ^ Fraser, Must You Go? 44.
  73. ^ a b Billington 254–55; cf. 345.
  74. ^ a b "Pinter Ends It All with a Double Plot", Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 1 January 2009, accessed 29 January 2011.
  75. ^ Fraser, Must You Go? 211: "With all my timings [of Moonlight], Harold calls me his editor. Not so. I was the midwife saying, 'Push, Harold, push,' but the act of creation took place elsewhere and the baby would have been born anyway."
  76. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 388, 429–30.
  77. ^ Quoted in Wark, Interview of Pinter, televised on Newsnight on 23 June 2006; see Billington, "'They said'".
  78. ^ Haroon Siddique, "Harold Pinter, Britain's Top Contemporary Dramatist, Dies at 78",, Guardian Media Group, 25 December 2008 (13.25 GMT; last modified 11.44 GMT on 26 December 2008), accessed 7 December 2010; cf. Peter Walker, David Smith, and Haroon Siddique, "Harold Pinter: Tributes Pour In After Death of Dramatist Aged 78",, Guardian Media Group, 26 December 2008 (10.25 GMT; last modified 10.28 GMT), accessed 10 December 2010.
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  80. ^ Bensky, "Interviews: The Art of Theater, No. 3: Harold Pinter", Paris Review (1966), accessed 29 January 2011.
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  82. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 286–305 (chap. 15: "Public Affairs"), 400–03, and 433–41; and Merritt, Pinter in Play 171–209 (chap. 8: "Cultural Politics," espec. "Pinter and Politics").
  83. ^ Merritt, "Pinter and Politics," Pinter in Play 171–89.
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  88. ^ Quoted in Chrisafis and Tilden, "Pinter Blasts 'Nazi America' and 'deluded idiot' Blair",, Guardian Media Group, 11 June 2003, accessed 2 October 2007.
  89. ^ "The American Administration Is a Bloodthirsty Wild Animal", Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 11 December 2002.
  90. ^ Pinter, Various Voices 267.
  91. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 428.
  92. ^ Porter Anderson, "Harold Pinter: Theater's Angry Old Man: At the Prize of Europe, the Playwright Is All Politics",, CNN, 17 March 2006, accessed 2 October 2007.
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  94. ^ a b Alderman,"Editorial: Harold Pinter – A Jewish View",, Current Viewpoint, 27 March 2009, accessed 25 April 2009.
  95. ^ Edgar, "Pinter's Weasels",, "Comment Is Free", Guardian Media Group, 29 December 2008, accessed 2 February 2011.
  96. ^ See also the comments of Václav Havel and others, excerpted in "A Colossal Figure", which accompanies a reprinting of Pinter's essay "Pinter: Torture and Misery in the Name of Freedom", originally published in The Independent, adapted from Pinter's "Acceptance Speech" for the 2005 Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry published in Pinter, Various Voices 267–68.
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  108. ^ Merritt, Pinter in Play 5, 9, 225–26, and 310.
  109. ^ See Billington, Harold Pinter 64, 65, 84, 197, 251 and 354; Wark, Interview of Pinter, televised on Newsnight on 23 June 2006.
  110. ^ D. Jones, "Travels with Harold", Front & Center Online (Fall 2003), Roundabout Theatre Company, 2003.
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  112. ^ Merritt, Pinter in Play 18, 219–20.
  113. ^ "Harold Pinter" at the Internet Broadway Database.
  114. ^ Baker and Ross, "Chronology" xxiii–xl.
  115. ^ See Batty, About Pinter; Grimes; and Baker (all passim).
  116. ^ Billington, Harold Pinter 258.
  117. ^ Merritt, Pinter in Play xi–xv and 170–209; Grimes 19.
  118. ^ Grimes 119.
  119. ^ "The Hothouse – Premiere",, Harold Pinter, accessed 9 May 2009.
  120. ^ Merritt, "Pinter Playing Pinter" (passim); and Grimes 16, 36–38, 61–71.
  121. ^ Hern 8–9, 16–17, and 21.
  122. ^ Hern 19.
  123. ^ See Robert Cushman's review of The New World Order (1991 UK prod.), "Ten Nerve Racking (sic) Minutes of Pinter", Independent on Sunday 21 July 1991, rpt. in, accessed 5 December 2010.
  124. ^ Grimes 101–28 and 139–43; "Party Time premiere",, accessed 29 January 2011.
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  128. ^ Pinter, Celebration 39.
  129. ^ Celebration 56.
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  131. ^ Grimes 130.
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  134. ^ Alastair Macaulay, "The Playwright's Triple Risk",, accessed 9 May 2009; rpt. from Financial Times 13 February 2002.
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  138. ^ Hudgins 132–39.
  139. ^ Gale, "Appendix A: Quick Reference", Sharp Cut 416–17.
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  141. ^ "Remembrance of Things Past", in "Plays",, accessed 1 July 2009.
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  145. ^ Gale, "Appendix B: Honors and Awards for Screenwriting", Sharp Cut (n. pag.) [418].
  146. ^ Reports and reviews of the 2001 Lincoln Center Pinter Festival productions and symposia in The Pinter Review, The Harold Pinter Society (2002); Merritt, "Talking about Pinter" (passim).
  147. ^ "Harold Pinter Added to IFOA Lineup" and ""Toronto Festival Honors 14 Leaders in the Arts", The New York Times, 9 September 2001.
  148. ^ Merritt, "Staging Pinter: From Pregnant Pauses to Political Causes" 123–43.
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  162. ^ Münder 220; cf. Fraser, Must You Go? 304 and 307.
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Works cited and further reading[edit]

Alderman, Geoffrey. "Editorial: Harold Pinter – A Jewish View". Current Viewpoint, 27 March 2009. Web. 25 April 2009.
Baker, William. Harold Pinter, Writers' Lives Series. London and New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008. ISBN 0826499708. Print.
–––, and John C. Ross, comps. Harold Pinter: A Bibliographical History. London: British Library and New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll P, 2005. ISBN 1584561564. Print.
Batty, Mark. About Pinter: The Playwright and the Work. London: Faber, 2005. ISBN 0571220053. Print.
Begley, Varun. Harold Pinter and the Twilight of Modernism. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2005. ISBN 9780802038876. Print.
Bensky, Lawrence M. "Interviews: The Art of Theater No. 3: Harold Pinter". Paris Rev. 10.39 (Fall 1966): 12–37. Print. The Paris Review, 2011. Web. 1 February 2011. [Also archived at ""The Art of Theater No. 3: Harold Pinter"" (PDF).  (280 KB). Paris Review Foundation, Inc., 2004. Internet Archive: The Wayback Machine. Web. 29 January 2011. (27 pages.)]
Billington, Michael. Harold Pinter. London: Faber and Faber, 2007. ISBN 0571234769 Parameter error in {{isbn}}: Invalid ISBN.. Print. (Updated & enlarged 2nd ed. of The Life and Work of Harold Pinter [1996, 1997].)
–––. "Harold Pinter Talks to Michael Billington". Guardian Media Group, 14 March 2006. Web. 1 February 2011. (Interview.)
–––. "The Importance of Being Pinter". Guardian Media Group, 16 April 2007. Web. 1 February 2011.
–––. "'I've written 29 damn plays. Isn't that enough?'" Guardian Media Group, 17 March 2006. Web. 3 December 2010.
–––. "Krapp's Last Tape, Royal Court, London". Guardian Media Group, 16 October 2006. Web. 1 February 2011. (Review.)
–––. "Passionate Pinter's Devastating Assault On US Foreign Policy"., UK News. Guardian Media Group, 8 December 2005. Web. 1 February 2011. ("Shades of Beckett as ailing playwright delivers powerful Nobel lecture".)
–––. "We Are Catching Up with This Man's Creative Talent At Last"., "Comment Is Free" Guardian Media Group, 1 March 2007. Web. 1 February 2011. ("Comment".)
–––, comp. "'They said you've a call from the Nobel committee. I said, why?'"., UK News. Guardian Media Group, 14 October 2005. Web. 1 February 2011. ("Harold Pinter in his own words"; compiled by Billington from interview with Pinter.)
"Biobibliographical Notes" and "Bibliography" for "Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize in Literature 2005". The Swedish Academy and The Nobel Foundation, October 2005. Web. 6 January 2009.
Bond, Paul. "Harold Pinter's Artistic Achievement". World Socialist Web Site, 29 December 2005. Web. 2 October 2007.
Brown, Mark. "What Is It (War) Good for?". Socialist Review, September 2003. Web. 2 October 2007.
Bull, Andy. "Playwright Harold Pinter's Last Interview Reveals His Childhood Love of Cricket and Why It Is Better Than Sex". Guardian Media Group, 27 December 2008. Web. 7 March 2009.
Burton, Harry. "Harold Pinter – Interview". British Library Online Gallery: What's On. British Library, 8 September 2008. Web. 14 March 2009.
"Bush and Blair Slated by Pinter". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 7 December 2005. Web. 2 October 2007.
Chrisafis, Angelique, and Imogen Tilden. "Pinter Blasts 'Nazi America' and 'deluded idiot' Blair". Guardian Media Group, 11 June 2003. Web. 2 October 2007.
Coppa, Francesca. "The Sacred Joke: Comedy and Politics in Pinter's Early Plays". The Cambridge Companion to Harold Pinter. Ed. Peter Raby. Cambridge Companions to Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. 44–56. ISBN 9780521658423. Print. (Subscription required to access full text.)
"Death of Vivien Merchant Is Ascribed to Alcoholism". New York Times. The New York Times Company, 7 October 1982. Web. 3 October 2007.
Dorfman, Ariel. "The World That Harold Pinter Unlocked". The Washington Post Company, 27 December 2008. Web. 1 February 2011.
–––. "'You want to free the world from oppression?'" New Statesman, 8 January 2009. Web. 1 February 2011.
Dougary, Ginny. "Lady Antonia Fraser's Life Less Ordinary". Times Online. News International, 5 July 2008. Web. 5 December 2010.
Eden, Richard. "Harold Pinter Faces Opposition to Memorial in Poet's Corner". Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 3 January 2009. Web. 5 December 2010.
–––. "Pinter's Weasels". Guardian Media Group, 29 December 2008. Web. 23 March 2009.
–––, and Tim Walker. "Mandrake: A Pinteresque Silence". Sunday Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 27 August 2006. Rpt. in Bookrags: HighBeam Research. Cengage Learning (Gale), n.d.. Web. 16 March 2009. (HighBeam subscription required for access to full text.)
Edgar, David. "Pinter's Weasels"., "Comment Is Free". Guardian Media Group, 29 December 2008. Web. 23 March 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 Media Group, 27 December 2008. Web. 7 March 2009.
Edwardes, Jane. "Time Out's Tribute to Harold Pinter". Time Out, London. Time Out Group Ltd, 31 December 2008. Web. 10 May 2009.
Fenton, Anna, and Lucy Jackson. "Harold Pinter: A Look Back". The Journal. The Edinburgh Journal Limited, 11 January 2009. Web. 11 January 2009.
Ferguson, Niall. "Personal View: Do the Sums, Then Compare US and Communist Crimes from the Cold War". Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 11 December 2005. Web. 9 May 2009.
" 'The foremost representative of British drama': Excerpts from the Swedish Academy's Citation Awarding the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature". Guardian Media Group, 13 October 2005. Web. 23 March 2009.
Fraser, Antonia, Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (Orion Books), 2010. ISBN 9780297859710. Print. London: Phoenix, 2010. ISBN 9780753827581. Print (paperback ed.). [Featured extract, 2010 Galaxy National Book Awards nominee. (Chapter One: "First Night" 3–19. PDF file.)]
French Embassy in the United Kingdom. "Harold Pinter Awarded Légion d'Honneur". France in the United Kingdom. French Embassy (UK), 17 January 2007. Web. 17 January 2007.
"French PM Honours Harold Pinter". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 18 January 2007. Web. 5 December 2010.
Gale, Steven H. Sharp Cut: Harold Pinter's Screenplays and the Artistic Process. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2003. ISBN 0813122449. Print.
Gillen, Francis, and Steven H. Gale, eds. The Pinter Review. Tampa: U of Tampa P, 1987–present. Harold Pinter, 2000–[2010]. Web. 3 December 2010. [Re-typed table of contents (incomplete); some typographical errors.]
–––, with Steven H. Gale, eds. The Pinter Review: Nobel Prize/Europe Theatre Prize Volume: 2005–2008. Tampa: U of Tampa P, 2008. ISBN 1879852198 Parameter error in {{isbn}}: Invalid ISBN..
Gordon, Lois, ed. Pinter at 70: A Casebook. Casebooks on Modern Dramatists. 1990. 2nd ed. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. ISBN 9780415936309. Print.
Grimes, Charles. Harold Pinter's Politics: A Silence Beyond Echo. Madison & Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2005. ISBN 0838640508. Print.
Gussow, Mel. Conversations with Pinter, London: Nick Hern Books, 1994. ISBN 9781854592019. Print. (Rpt. New York: Limelight, 2004. ISBN 0879101792. Print.)
–––. "Critic's Notebook: On the London Stage, a Feast of Revenge, Menace and Guilt". New York Times. The New York Times Company, 31 July 1991. Web. 2 October 2007.
–––. "Harold Pinter, Whose Silences Redefined Drama, Dies at 78". New York Times 26 December 2008, National Ed.: A1 and A22–23. Print.
–––, and Ben Brantley. "Harold Pinter, Playwright of the Pause, Dies at 78". New York Times 26 December 2008. The New York Times Company, 25 December 2008. Web. 25 December 2008.
Hadley, Kathryn. "Forward to Freedom". "History Today News". History Today Magazine (June 2009). History Today Magazine, 15 June 2009. Web. 5 December 2010.
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"Harold Pinter Added to IFOA Lineup". International Festival of Authors (IFOA), Toronto, 1 October 2001. The Internet Archive: The Wayback Machine, 2002. 4 October 2007. Press release.
"Harold Pinter Mourned by PEN". English Pen. English Centre of International PEN, 25 December 2008. Web. 5 December 2010.
Hern, Nicholas, and Harold Pinter. "A Play and Its Politics: A Conversation between Harold Pinter and Nicholas Hern" (February 1985). 5–23 in Harold Pinter, One for the Road. New York: Grove, 1986. ISBN 0394623630. Print.
Hitchens, Christopher. "Opinion: The Sinister Mediocrity of Harold Pinter". Wall Street Jour. 17 October 2005: A18. Print. Dow Jones & Company, 17 October 2005. Web. 7 May 2009. (Subscription required to access full text.)
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–––. "Still Pinteresque". New York Times. The New York Times Company, 7 October 2007. Web. 5 December 2010.
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–––. "Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes: Political/Personal Echoes of the Holocaust". The Pinter Review: Collected Essays 1999 and 2000. Ed. Francis Gillen and Steven H. Gale. Tampa: U of Tampa P, 2000. 73–84. Print.
–––. Pinter in Play: Critical Strategies and the Plays of Harold Pinter. 1990. Durham and London: Duke UP, 1995. ISBN 9780822316749. Print.
–––. "Staging Pinter: From Pregnant Pauses to Political Causes". In "FROM WORLD LEADERS: A Festival of Creative Genius: Homage to Harold Pinter". The Pinter Review: Collected Essays: 2003 and 2004. Ed. Francis Gillen and Steven H. Gale. Tampa: U of Tampa P, 2004. 123–43. Print.
–––. "Talking about Pinter". The Pinter Review: Collected Essays 2001 and 2002. Ed. Francis Gillen and Steven H. Gale. Tampa: U of Tampa P, 2002. 144–67. Print. (On the symposia held during the Harold Pinter Festival, Lincoln Center, New York, July – August 2001.)
–––, comp. "Harold Pinter Bibliography". Susan Hollis Merritt, 2000–present. Web. 3 December 2010.
–––. "Harold Pinter Bibliography: 2000–2002". The Pinter Review: Collected Essays 2003 and 2004. Ed. Francis Gillen and Steven H. Gale. Tampa: U of Tampa P, 2004. 242–300. Print.
–––. "Harold Pinter Bibliography: 2002–2004 With a Special Supplement on the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, October 2005 – May 2006. The Pinter Review: Nobel Prize/Europe Theatre Prize Volume: 2005– 008. Ed. Francis Gillen with Steven H. Gale. Tampa: U of Tampa P, 2008. 261–343. Print.
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–––. Celebration and The Room: Two Plays by Harold Pinter. London: Faber, 2000. ISBN 9780571204977. Print.
–––. "Introduction by Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate." 7–9 in  'Fortune's Fool': The Man Who Taught Harold Pinter: A Life of Joe Brearley. Ed. G. L. Watkins. Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Eng., UK: TwigBooks in association with The Clove Club, 2008. ISBN 0954723686 (10). ISBN 9780954723682. Print.
–––. Various Voices: Sixty Years of Prose, Poetry, Politics 1948–2008. 3rd ed. London: Faber, 2009. ISBN 9780571244805. Print.
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–––. "The New Statesman Interview: Harold Pinter". New Statesman. New Statesman, 8 November 1999. Web. 6 January 2009.
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–––. "I'm Written Out, Says Controversial Pinter". Scotsman 26 August 2006: 6. Print. Scotsman Publications, 26 August 2006. Web. 5 December 2010.
–––, and Leslie McDowell. "Book Festival Reviews: Pinter at 75: The Anger Still Burns". Scotsman 26 August 2006: 5. Print. Scotsman Publications, (updated) 27 and 28 August 2006. Web. 7 February 2011. LexisNexis. Web. 3 February 2011. (Subscription required for access.) Web. 7 February 2011. (Subscription or free trial required for access to full text.) [See Robinson, "Books: Doyle Returns ... Harold Pinter", as listed above.]
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–––. "Comedy of Menace", Encore 5 (September–October 1958): 28–33. Rpt. in The Encore Reader 86–91. Print.
–––. "Pinter, Harold". The Reader's Encyclopedia of World Drama. Ed. John Gassner and Edward Quinn. New York: Crowell, 1969. [657–58]. Print.
–––. "There's Music in That Room". Encore 7 (July–August 1960): 32–34. Rpt. in The Encore Reader 129–32. Print.
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–––."Interviews: Nobel Prize Winning Playwright Harold Pinter Talks to Kirsty Wark". Newsnight Review. BBC Two. Television. British Broadcasting Corporation, 23 June 2006. BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 25 June 2006. Web. 6 January 2009. Video file.
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