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One-Man Play Celebrates Poet Harold Pinter

By Kristin Masters. Aug 24, 2011. 2:24 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Book Collecting, Drama

Julian Sands’ one-man show recently closed in Edinburgh, and in September it will head on national tour. Directed by none other than John Malkovich, the play’s subject may surprise you: poet and playwright Harold Pinter.

Pinter asserted himself not only as an author, but also as an actor and political activist. The recipient of 18 honorary degrees, Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. Horace Engdahl, Chairman of the Swedish Academy, described Pinter as an artist “who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms

Long before his literary career began in 1957 with The Room, Pinter had stood out as an exemplary student of English and literature—and as an actor. He played both Romeo and Macbeth in the late 1940’s. In 1950, his first poem was published outside of school magazines.

Despite favorable reviews Pinter’s second play, The Birthday Party, was performed only eight times. However he later adapted the play for the screen, as he later did with The Homecoming and Betrayal. It was not until 1960, with The Caretaker, that Pinter found commercial success.

Why Collectors Love Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter’s wide variety of literary interests affords collectors the same wide variety of collecting opportunities.

  • Pinter’s beautiful poetry lends itself well to fine press editions. The 2002 Enitharmon edition of The Disappeared and Other Poems features particularly lovely illustrations by Tony Bevan.
  • Pinter frequently teamed up with other directors and screenwriters. For example, he famously worked with both film director Joseph Losey and Proust scholar Barbara Bray to write The Proust Screenplay: À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu. These collaborations make Pinter’s work relevant to a diverse group of enthusiasts.
  • Pinter’s relationship with his second wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, inspired sweet, gentle poetry. The books he gave her also make for lovely association copies.
  • Karnac issued wonderful limited first editions of many of Pinter’s works. The red and black cloth editions feature gold embossed lettering

Kristin Masters
Master Content Brain. You think it, she writes it, no good thought remains unposted. Sprinkles pixie dust on Google+, newsletters, blog, facebook, twitter and just about everything else.


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