Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Nobel choice

The Swedish Academy:
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2005 is awarded to the English writer Harold Pinter "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms".

I have only a passing familiarity with Pinter. In high-school drama club we performed some pieces they called Pinteresque: "in which sense of menace emerges from a second or third layer of unspoken meaning." I wondered about the references to him in the lyrics of Anne Clark. I've seen a number of films for which Pinter wrote the screenplay.

Harold Pinter's website:
In 1958 I wrote the following:

"There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false."

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Considered Britain's greatest living playwright for plays like The Birthday Party, The Caretaker and The Homecoming, "Pinter restored theatre to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretence crumbles," the academy said.

Though a human rights activist since the early 1970s, Pinter has recently become more outspoken about politics, specifically criticizing U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the war in Iraq.

Pinter's name was not among those bandied about in recent weeks as a potential prize winner.

The choice undeniably has political overtones.

Earlier this year Pinter announced he was turning his focus to politics and poetry.

. . . all the dead air is alive
With the smell of America's God.

News coverage (at this still early hour, other than what's on the wires):
The Guardian.

1 comment:

rachel said...

If you ever have an opportunity to see "The Birthday Party", don't pass it up. Fekkin' creepy, that is. We saw a version on TV when I lived in England, with Pinter himself playing one of the roles, and it was... horrible. And way way cooool.