Harold Pinter and academia

Harold Pinter and academia

Harold Pinter and academia concerns academic recognition of and scholarship pertaining to 2005 Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, who is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, and political activist born in 1930.

Although, due to illness, he had been unable to travel to Stockholm in December 2005 to receive his Nobel Prize and to deliver his Nobel Lecture in person, presenting it on videotape instead, on April 13, 2007, Pinter did travel to Leeds to receive his 17th honorary degree, at the University of Leeds, in person, at which its Humanities faculty processed in full academic garb just to present this honorary degree to Pinter; in conjunction with the honorary-award ceremony, there was a three-day academic conference at the University's Workshop Theatre, co-sponsored by the Harold Pinter Society. The honorary degree ceremony was conducted by University Chancellor Lord Melvin Bragg.BBC News" 13 Apr. 2007, accessed 8 Oct. 2007.]

Academic honors

Among his other honors, Pinter is the recipient of eighteen honorary degrees conferred by European and American academic institutions, as well as an Honorary Fellow of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) (1970). In 2006 Pinter was elected a "foreign member" of the Department of Language and Literature of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU), and he received the Serbian Foundation Prize and the St. George Plaque of the City of Kragujevac. [http://www.sanu.ac.yu/Eng/members/OdJiKClan.htm "Foreign Members"] , Department of Language and Literature, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, accessed 15 Sept. 2007.] He was the subject of two international academic conferences in March and April of 2007. "Viva Pinter: Hommage à Harold Pinter, Prix Nobel de Littérature 2005, Légion d'Honneur 2007", organized by Professor Brigitte Gauthier of the University of Lyon's Université Jean Moulin (Lyon 3), in Lyon, France, focused on connections between Pinter's support for human rights, his dramatic works, his poetry, and his films, hosting various events, including productions, panel discussions, and screenings for students, guests, and the public; it was held from March 2 to March 21, 2007, with an international colloquium from March 22 to March 24, 2007." [http://www.vivapinter.org Viva Pinter] " (official website), accessed 15 Sept. 2007. (In French.)] "Artist and Citizen: 50 Years of Performing Pinter" was held from April 12 to April 14, 2007; in conjunction, Pinter received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Leeds, School of English, on April 13 (). On June 23, 2008, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Cambridge, in absentia. [http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2008022602 "News and Events: Cambridge Honorary Degrees 2008"] 27 Feb. 2008, accessed 23 June 2008: "Harold Pinter, playwright, actor and director (Doctor of Letters). ... Honorary Degrees [were] conferred at a special Congregation ... held in the Senate House on Monday 23 June." [Pinter did not attend the ceremony due to ill health.] ]

The Harold Pinter Society

In 1986, brought together by Steven H. Gale, who became its first president, several American academic scholars formed the Harold Pinter Society, which became an Allied Organization of the MLA. The Pinter Society is international in membership and scope. Members and individual and institutional subscribers receive "The Pinter Review: Collected Essays", co-edited by Francis Gillen (University of Tampa) and Gale (Kentucky State University) and published by the University of Tampa Press. At first an academic journal begun in 1987 and now a biennial book publication, each volume contains a bibliography of works, productions, and other events by and about Pinter compiled by Susan Hollis Merritt.Contents of " [http://www.haroldpinter.org/pinterreview/index.shtml The Pinter Review] ", in "Something extra"; [http://www.haroldpinter.org/home/index.shtml "Upcoming events for the year 2007"] (periodically updated), "haroldpinter.org", accessed 13 Sept. 2007.]

The cover of "The Pinter Review: Collected Essays 2002 and 2003" (published in 2004) features Pinter's poems "Meeting" (August 2002) and "After Lunch" (September 2002), which, along with some of his other recent poetry, are both posted on his official website ("haroldpinter.org"). [http://www.haroldpinter.org/pinterreview/review03_04.shtml "The Pinter Review: Collected Essays 2003 and 2004": Contents"] , "haroldpinter.org", accessed 13 Sept. 2007.] Harold Pinter, [http://www.haroldpinter.org/poetry/meeting.html "Meeting"] and [http://www.haroldpinter.org/poetry/afterlunch.html "After Lunch"] , as posted in "Harold Pinter's Recent Poetry", "haroldpinter.org", accessed 15 Sept. 2007.]

Artist and Citizen: 50 Years of Performing Pinter

The University of Leeds's Workshop Theatre hosted Artist and Citizen: 50 Years of Performing Harold Pinter, organized by Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies Mark Taylor-Batty. From April 12 to April 14, 2007, the conferees celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first production of Harold Pinter's first play, "The Room". On April 13 Pinter was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the School of English by University Chancellor Melvyn Bragg. [http://www.leeds.ac.uk/theatre/pinter/ "Artist and Citizen: 50 years of Performing Pinter"] , Workshop Theatre, School of English, University of Leeds, hyperlinked in [http://www.pintersociety.org/events/events/psevents.html "Events: Pinter Society Events"] , "Harold Pinter Society", accessed 15 Sept. 2007 (inc. photographs from the conference).] [http://reporter.leeds.ac.uk/press_releases/current/pinter.htm "Pinter Honoured for a Lifetime’s Contribution to the Arts"] , press release, University of Leeds, 13 Apr. 2007, accessed 15 Sept. 2007.] Invited guests included: Harold Pinter, Henry Woolf, reprising his original role as Mr. Kidd in a revival of "The Room" and his performance as the Man in "Monologue" (1980); Michael Billington, leading a roundtable discussion on "Working with Pinter" with composer James Clarke, visiting playwright in residence Donald Freed, and Pinter directors Katie Read and Ian Rickson; and plenary speakers Steven H. Gale and Susan Hollis Merritt.

The conference poster features a photograph of a portrait of Harold Pinter by artist Amy Shuckburgh. The portrait ("pastel and acrylic on wood, 2006") was on display at the Workshop Theatre during the conference, displayed later at Trafalgar Studios, during Harry Burton's production of "The Dumb Waiter", and also "reproduced in the programmes for The Dumb Waiter; the touring production of Old Times; Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse; and The Hothouse at the National Theatre, London." [http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/Harold%20Pinter%20portrait%2026965.twl "Harold Pinter Portrait"] , Royal National Theatre, accessed 15 Sept. 2007.]

Following the honorary degree ceremony, on the evening of April 13, 2007, the Free Theatre, of Minsk, Belarus, where several of its members have been censored, imprisoned, and "under attack" by the authorities, performed their "collage" of Pinter's work "Being Harold Pinter", introduced by "their patron", Sir Tom Stoppard, receiving strong notices from Billington and his colleagues; Pinter participated in the post-performance discussion with the company through a Belarusian-English interpreter. [Hickling; Billington, [http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/theatre/2007/04/the_importance_of_being_pinter.html "The Importance of Being Pinter] "; Batiukov; [http://dramaturg.org/?lang=en&menu=expand_article&article_id=1816952385 "Harold Pinter Meets Free Theatre in Leeds"] .] After Pinter added his support to recommendations by Tom Stoppard, Václav Havel, and Arthur Kopit, the European Theatre Convention invited the Belarus Free Theatre to become a member, waiving the membership fee. [ [http://www.etc-cte.org/about/members.php?memberid=51 "ETC Members: Svobodnyi Teatr/ Le Théâtre libre de Minsk"] ; [http://dramaturg.org/?lang=en&menu=expand_article&article_id=8886876472 "Presentation of the European Theatre Prizes in Thessaloniki"] , press release, "Belarus Free Theatre", accessed 15 Sept. 2007.]

The Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing

Goldsmiths College, University of London, established the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing, inaugurated in June 2003, with Harold Pinter as Honorary President. It is "an interdisciplinary research centre, involving principally the Departments of English & Comparative Literature and of Drama, the latter organising and hosting the Centre, and with links in Media and Communications, Music, PACE and the Digital Studios." So far it has planned three conferences, "one on the work of Stephen Sondheim, and another on African Women Playwrights." Its third conference, Ravenhill 10, was a symposium on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the first production of Mark Ravenhill's play "Shopping and Fucking" (November 11–12, 2006). The Pinter Centre will sponsor additional conferences in the future, "including one on Black British Drama and a major conference in 2008 to be entitled, 'Pinter, Postmodernism and Contemporary Writing'."

"Harold Pinter: A Bibliographical History"

In 2005, "Harold Pinter: A Bibliographical History", compiled by William Baker and John C. Ross, was published by the British Library and Oak Knoll Press. As a result of Pinter's winning the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, according to its publisher, the book, which "provides a comprehensive account of the print-published writings, and texts in other media, which he has wholly or partly authored," became an academic library bestseller. ["Oak Knoll Press Bestsellers" 37; Oak Knoll Press, "News Release! Delaware Publisher Hits Nobel Gold!", press release accompanying review copies of the book (2005).]

Pinter's attitudes toward academic analysis of his work

Pinter satirizes academics or intellectual "distance" in several of his plays, beginning with his character Edward, a scholarly writer, in "A Slight Ache" (1959) and continuing with Teddy, an English philosophy professor in an American university who refuses to become "lost in it", in "The Homecoming" (1965), and Devlin, an English academic, in "Ashes to Ashes" (1996). [For discussion of Harold Pinter's perspectives on "scholars' use of language and discourses in academic analysis," see Mark Taylor-Batty, "Fling Open Door and Let Pinter's Pause Be Heard", "Times Higher Education Supplement" 27 Apr. 2007: 12; as cited in "Academic Search Premier" hosted by EBSCO.]

The Harold Pinter Archive in the British Library



External links

* [http://www.pintersociety.org The Harold Pinter Society] . An Allied Organization of the Modern Language Association (MLA) and an Associated Organization of the Midwest Modern Language Association (M/MLA).
* [http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/pinter-centre/ The Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing] , Goldsmiths College, University of London.

NAME = Pinter, Harold
SHORT DESCRIPTION = English playwright, screenwriter, poet, actor, director, author, political activist
DATE OF BIRTH = October 10, 1930
PLACE OF BIRTH = Hackney, London, England

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