October 13, 2005

"Usually enclosed in one room, they organize their lives as a sort of grim game and their actions often contradict their words."

Such are the characters in plays by Harold Pinter, who just won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

That description of his plays sounds very much like what I thought of when I was a child and first understood that adults read things that were entirely different from the stories given to children to read, and I tried to grasp what these stories for adults were.


Sammler said...

Mr. Pinter is, in retrospect, a blindingly obvious choice for the Nobel Prize. His recent life has been one of strident opposition to the Bush Administration, sprinkled with an occasional minor work; but there can be no denying that his early plays like The Birthday Party, The Homecoming and The Dumbwaiter were both powerful in their own terms and lastingly influential for later playwrights.

Scipio said...

They're just continuing their long-standing tradition of screwing over Philip Roth.

On the other hand, considering the Nobel Curse for Literature, maybe they like Philip Roth's work too much and want him to continue.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

So the Nobel committee figured that since Pinter has already given up writing for political punditry, it was safe to give it to him. Put in these terms, the choice makes perfect sense.

Scipio said...

On the other hand, they could just hate American Jews who are not self-loathing.

Last non-self-loathing American Jew to win the Nobel Prize for Literature: Saul Bellow, way back in the year of my birth.

Coincidence? I think not.

miklos rosza said...

Pinter's anti-Americanism is most likely what brought him this award. And yes, Philip Roth is getting screwed. I haven't read the latest novel, but his last four or five previous represent a late flowering such as we seldom see.

In other words, if you think you know what he's all about on the basis of his early or mid period novels, you just have no idea how much better he became.

vbspurs said...

I was considering doing a blogpost about this, as I met Harold Pinter's wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, a few times informally at a few London 'dos' and once, at a book-signing down here in SoFla (she didn't remember me, but she was still a gracious lady).

Miklos wrote:

Pinter's anti-Americanism is most likely what brought him this award.


And the funny thing about it, is that his wife is very conversative in her private and I believe, political demeanour.

Of course, being Tory and being anti-American are (alas) no strangers...

I'm not a fan of Pinter, so this Nobel Prize leaves me cold.

I preferred the one which went to VS Naipaul, despite his being an utter noodzh as well.


whit said...

After hearing about 3 seconds of Pinter's anti-American dementia it confirmed my total disdain for the Nobel Committee.
When are they going to quit insulting us?...Arafat,Carter, Elbaredi, this half-pint character, and how much do you want to bet? Soon, W.J. Clinton!

knoxgirl said...

It's like the Oscars: the judges are often wrong on artistic merit, and they always swoon for anyone who stands in opposition to the US. Kofi Annan got the Peace Prize fer chrissakes! Still haven't figured that one out...

ligneus said...

Mark Steyn characterised Pinter as a pause followed by a non-sequitur.