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::. Playwright Harold Pinter died tonight (24th of December 08) (25-12-2008 23:26)

Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter died on Christmas Eve aged 78.

He wrote more than 30 plays including The Caretaker and The Birthday Party. His film scripts include The French Lieutenant's Woman.

His style was so distinctive, the term "Pinteresque" entered the Oxford English Dictionary.

He was a fighter in the field of politics, he fought strenuously against American and British foreign policy, but also in his work you see this, there is a combative spirit in his work.

Also an actor, poet, screenwriter and director, Pinter was known for his left-wing political views and was an outspoken critic of US and UK foreign policy.

Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 and the citation said "in his plays he uncovers the precipice in everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms".

He was awarded a CBE in 1966, later turned down a knighthood and became a Companion of Honour, an exclusive award in the gift of the Sovereign, in 2002.

Excerpts from his Nobel lecture

…So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time.

But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.

[…]

When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror - for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.

If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man.

And a poem of his, «Death» that he quoted in the same Nobel Lecture

Where was the dead body found?
Who found the dead body?
Was the dead body dead when found?
How was the dead body found?

Who was the dead body?

Who was the father or daughter or brother
Or uncle or sister or mother or son
Of the dead and abandoned body?

Was the body dead when abandoned?
Was the body abandoned?
By whom had it been abandoned?

Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?

What made you declare the dead body dead?
Did you declare the dead body dead?
How well did you know the dead body?
How did you know the dead body was dead?

Did you wash the dead body
Did you close both its eyes
Did you bury the body
Did you leave it abandoned
Did you kiss the dead body

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