Nobel literature prize 2005: Harold Pinter - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2005, 16:18 Thread Starter
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Nobel literature prize 2005: Harold Pinter

Anyone make a prediction?

It's said that the reason why the decision has been postponed, has to do with large disagreements within the jury. Yesterday, a member of the comité resigned in protest Jelinek winning the price last year (quite late if you ask me ).
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old October 13th, 2005, 12:49 Thread Starter
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They awarded it to Harold Pinter. Aparently he's a British playwriter. I have never head of him
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old October 13th, 2005, 13:10
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He's very well known in the UK. Don't know much about his plays, but he is openly left-wing and very outspoken about human rights and surprisingly enough not in the smug, full-of-himself way either. Famously, he was once thrown out of a convention center in Turkey when he started talking about the opression of the Kurds.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2005, 11:59
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He's a great playwrite but it wouldn't be much exaggeration to say he is one of the worst poets ever...
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2005, 17:36
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Pinter's plays are abysmal, too. His dialogue is so stop-start, and the lack of logic in the actions of characters, rob the plays of any fluidity. OK, so I've only ever seen two of his plays (and years ago), but that's enough.

The notoriety that he has courted, through his political ramblings, must have won him this prize. That's the only way I can imagine such a lame playwright scooping it, given the fierce competition. Needless to say, I don't think much of his socialist speeches/diarrhoea, either.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2005, 14:41
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is he of hungarian descendance? his name would make one think so

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2005, 14:52 Thread Starter
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He has Jewish roots, maybe from Hungary, I don't know.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2005, 14:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gOD
He has Jewish roots, maybe from Hungary, I don't know.
pintér is a very common hungarian-jewish name, so I guess I might not be too wrong with it.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2005, 15:01
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The son of immigrant Jewish parents, Pinter was born in Hackney, London on October 10, 1930.


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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2005, 16:50
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He's no Joe Orton (IMO the best British playwright of the later half of the 20th century) but I do like his plays--The Birthday Party and Betrayal especially. They do not, of course, read well (as do few plays, truthfully), but should be seen on a stage acted by actors. There is always a sense of something going on behind the words, which is hard to do in play form with no way of showing inner monologue or background. A fine choice, I think, but then again I had him in the Nobel pool...

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old October 16th, 2005, 02:29
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Pinter has the correct prejucices, in that they correspond with those of the judges.
No-one with a vaguely-human mother takes such crap seriously - it's an award for ART! How can anyone claim that one piece of literature is so much better than every other? Have they translated every written work, examined the background of each one, studied grammatical or punctuation errors and cross-referenced every opinion on the modern world with every single individual who could shed light on the author's attempts at describing the human condition?
Have they bollocks!
They've casually tossed a meaningless award at an idiot who shares their own prejudices - that's all.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old October 16th, 2005, 03:35 Thread Starter
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That strange because the only people I know who studied Germanic languages or theatre sciences, their only critisism is rhat he only got such an important price today and not 20 years ago.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old October 16th, 2005, 04:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gOD
That strange because the only people I know who studied Germanic languages or theatre sciences, their only critisism is rhat he only got such an important price today and not 20 years ago.

Last edited by Attila_the_Nun; October 16th, 2005 at 14:05.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old October 16th, 2005, 14:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila_the_Nun
Pinter has the correct prejucices, in that they correspond with those of the judges.
No-one with a vaguely-human mother takes such crap seriously - it's an award for ART! How can anyone claim that one piece of literature is so much better than every other? Have they translated every written work, examined the background of each one, studied grammatical or punctuation errors and cross-referenced every opinion on the modern world with every single individual who could shed light on the author's attempts at describing the human condition?
Have they bollocks!
They've casually tossed a meaningless award at an idiot who shares their own prejudices - that's all.
at least they improved to last year's decision. elfriede jelinek is probably the biggest idiot ever being awarded with the nobel prize.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old October 17th, 2005, 12:18
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Safe to say I've never heard of Pinter and will probably not read his works.

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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old October 25th, 2005, 19:02
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This week's Spectator has Rod Liddle sticking his oar in:

There’s no escape,
The big pricks are out,
They’ll f*** everything in sight,
Watch your back.

- Harold Pinter, February 2003

Read much Heinrich Böll recently? German novelist, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972, the short citation crediting him with reviving the German literary tradition. Böll was a favourite writer of mine for a long time, but I don’t know anybody else who still reads him — or who read him very much at the time. I would fight his corner and argue that the arid and rather cold The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum is a clever and moving little novel and that one or two of his other stories — The End of a Mission, The Train was on Time — are well worth a look. They all deal with issues which were very fashionable in 1972 — the overweening power of the state and its inherent brutality, the viciousness that lurks behind Western democracy, together with a distinct sympathy for the extreme left-wing terrorists who were, at that time, blowing up bits of Germany and indeed Germans. Böll was very, very left-wing and the Nobel Prize people were, at that time, going through a very, very left-wing phase — the previous year they had awarded the laureate to that vastly over-rated Chilean Stalinist, Pablo Neruda.

And now the Nobel committee have handed the prize to our own Harold Pinter, probably the most deserving recipient in the last 20 years. But the question is, did they give him the award for those wonderful plays of nearly 50 years ago — or for that poem printed at the head of this article, and which was written a couple of years back?

I have absolutely no doubt that Harold Pinter has been by some margin Britain’s greatest gift to literature since the Second World War. (The only British writer who comes close, in my opinion, is J.G. Ballard.) For me there’s no merit in that age old debate, which play was the greater — Look Back in Anger or The Birthday Party; Osborne was a fine playwright, but all that nihilistic raging had begun to seem a little de trop even within the decade. The elliptical dialogue, the seething tension, the claustrophobia of Pinter’s plays are still to be found in all the best drama today: he changed the theatre for good. Between 1957 and 1960, he churned out a total of nine quite magnificent plays, including The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter and The Caretaker. What an achievement! But back then, the Cold War was getting interesting and therefore the Nobel Prize committee bestowed the 1958 award on Boris Pasternak because they thought it would get up the noses of the Russkies, which indeed it did. Has there ever been a less deserving winner?

Pinter has written well since 1960, but never so well. Arguably, his last important play was No Man’s Land, in 1974 — 30 years ago — but they gave him the award now. Is it stretching credulity to suggest that the Nobel people were more impressed by Pinter’s recent, implacable and vociferous denunciations of American foreign policy, as exemplified in that four-line doggerel above? Pinter is now a poet, although, one might argue, not a terrifically good one. His worldwide fame now rests upon his bellowed assaults upon Bush and Blair (with which I am in agreement, most of the time): is this what clinched it for Pinter?

As we’ve seen, the Nobel Prize for Literature is an intensely political business, as a cursory glance down the list of winners will attest. We could pass over those nominations which, by today’s lights, seem a strange lapse in taste and judgment — Galsworthy, for example and maybe Elias Canetti: that’s down to hindsight. But the purely politically inspired awards are less forgivable. By no stretch of the imagination did Sir Winston Churchill deserve the prize in 1953. He deserved our undying gratitude, undoubtedly — but not an award for writing. Fun though History of the English-Speaking Peoples is — 2,000 years of history reduced to battle after battle after battle — its merit lies in its love of the subject and Winnie’s undoubted enthusiasm rather than any analysis. Neruda, Böll and Pasternak were plainly politically inspired decisions, to which we might add the name of Alexander Solzhenitsyn who would never have been given the honour if the committee members had known just how horribly right- wing he really was, underneath that magnificent beard. Incidentally, the same might be said of the Norwegian, Knut Hamsun, awarded the prize in 1920 before anyone had a chance to see just how enthusiastic a Nazi he could be.

More recently, the Nobel people have been flinging the prize, almost willy-nilly, at black people. We might just about grant them Toni Morrison, but there is really no excuse for Derek Walcott. Nor, on a similar subject, Nadine Gordimer: the end of apartheid in South Africa had more to do with her award than the excruciating prose to be found within her books.

And then there are the regrettable absentees. John Updike, by my reckoning, is a better writer than all bar one (Bellow) of the Americans on the list — and ten times better than Sinclair Lewis — but he may never be forgiven for his support of the war against Vietnam or his moderate, quiescent, Democrat politics. And one of the last century’s greatest writers, Louis- Ferdinand Céline, would never have been allowed near the list, given his unpalatable right-wing and anti-Semitic politics. Trouble is, the most ghastly people sometimes write the most exquisite prose.

I suppose there is a case for saying that literature should not be seen in isolation from the real world; that the political sensibilities and motivations of our greatest writers are indivisible from their literary accomplishments; that one informs the other, and so on. But this is a dangerous argument. One ends up suspecting that the Nobel committee would not bestow its laureate upon anyone who possessed political views with which they disagreed.

Still, all in all, we should rejoice: this time around the Nobel committee has got it right, even if they have got it right for what may seem like the wrong reasons. And who knows, perhaps the big pricks really are out and we should all do as Harold suggests and watch our backs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old October 26th, 2005, 02:53 Thread Starter
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Just for the record. I read a lot of Heinrich Boll (due to an inspiring Dutch/German teacher years ago). It's not the most rock 'n roll writer, but I can recommand him to anybody who wants to read a book that digs a little deeper in modern day society and teh human psyche that goes with it.

(the same goes for the few poems I know of Pable Neruda, but I don't want to claim any expertise on that)

Last edited by gOD; October 26th, 2005 at 09:13.
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old October 26th, 2005, 13:17
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I equate these prizes with the 'footballer of the year' awards - frivolous nonsense which may possibly trigger a lively discussion in the pub or at work. I would, however, take an interest in anyone who refused a Nobel award or Booker prize on the grounds that the awards were a load of toss - it would suggest that the writer is a lot brighter than the norm.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old October 26th, 2005, 15:02 Thread Starter
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Well, yes I agree. How on earth can you decide who 'the best' writer is? Still, I like it because it sometimes draws the attention to someone. It's a way to discover somebody's work you otherwise would ignore.
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old October 28th, 2005, 17:34
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I apologise, Mr gOD, my memory deserted me; There is a literary award which is always worth attention - the annual 'Bad Sex' award, given to novelists who excel at toe-curlingly awful sex scenes:

Polar exploration takes Bad Sex award

Emma Yates, Guardian Unlimited Books
Wednesday December 5, 2001
A sex scene comparing an erotic liaison to Sir Ranulph Fiennes's exploration of the north pole has picked up this year's Bad Sex award.
The passage from Christopher Hart's Rescue Me beat off stiff competition from Chuck Palahniuk and Jonathan Franzen, among others, to win the Literary Review's prize.

The winning scene from Rescue Me - the tale of a disgraced PR man whose life is spiralling out of control - reads:

"Her hand is moving away from my knee and heading north. Heading unnervingly and with a steely will towards the pole. And, like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Pamela will not easily be discouraged. I try twitching, and then shaking my leg, but to no avail. At last, disastrously, I try squeezing her hand painfully between my bony thighs, but this only serves to inflame her ardour the more. Ever northward moves her hand, while she smiles languorously at my right ear. And when she reaches the north pole, I think in wonder and terror....she will surely want to pitch her tent."

Highlights of the shortlist

From Dreams, Demons and Desires by Wendy Perriam (Peter Owen)

The wind thrust between her legs, its icy blast displaced by solid warmth as he covered her like a dog. The thing inside her jerked and threshed, a rising salmon, plunging home to spawn.
"Yes!" she shouted, relishing the scarlet pain in her knees as he kept grinding them against the barnacled surface of the groyne. She arched against him, picking up his rhythm - an angry, breathless rhythm, as he slammed and thrust against her, his barbarous nails clawing her bare back. The sea was joining in: slavering towards her; panting, foaming, gathering speed; one headstrong wave swelling up and up, sweeping her to treacherous heights before crashing, pounding down.
There was a last frantic spasm, followed by a cry. His voice or hers? She couldn't tell.


From Where Do We Go From Here? by Doris Dörrie (Bloomsbury)

She confiscated the zapper and slid my hand between her thighs. It was wet and warm down there, which was only to be expected, but she might just as well have deposited my hand on a pizza for all the effect it had. I actually found my self wondering if I would be able to tell a pizza and my wife apart by touch alone, and my uncertainty saddened me immeasurably.
She arched her body against mine, and I felt her desire surge over me like a tidal wave.
In a moment it would break on the reef of my incapacity...


From Game Over by Adele Parks (Viking)

It's frantic and hurried and amazing. He touches my hand. He's not trying to restrain me. But he has. I'm rooted. His finger is resting gently on my wrist. I'm shackled. I'm ignited. I kiss him. He kisses back. Strong and dark. Engulfing. I've never kissed before. Or if I have, they were poor dress rehearsals. . . We're left with naked silence. Stripped to desire. He tosses a few quid on the table and, not waiting for the change, we dash out the cafe, into the rain. He points to an alleyway behind the station. I'm already heading that way; I have an in-built mechanism that helps me to locate dark streets and other possible places for fornication. I'm boiling over with anticipation. He takes a tight hold on my arm. We cross the road, not checking for traffic. Darren flings me up against the wall, barely pausing to check for privacy, I wrap my coat around him. His lips mesh into mine and we're kissing so hard I can't tell them apart. He scrabbles with his flies and then sinks into me. I stare into his eyes and he stares back, never losing me. Not for a second. It feels amazing. It feels important. It feels right.
He's climbing, he's filling, he's plugging. He completes me.
It's over in minutes.


From Fourplay by Jane Moore (Orion)

His hand reached through the armhole of her halter-neck top and pulled it to one side to expose her breast. She let out an involuntary gasp as his tongue flicked the aroused nipple and his left hand caressed the other through the flimsy material. The double breast stroke had always been a winner for Jo, and within seconds they were tearing at each other's clothes in a drink-induced frenzy. Anxious not to break the sexual spell, they continued to kiss mercilessly. As Jo made the final tug on Sean's Calvins, his penis sprang out in an admirably erect state.
"Gosh, he does look cross," she giggled, unable to take her eyes off it. "He's bloody furious," murmured Sean, guiding her hand to the base of the shaft.


From Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (Jonathan Cape)

In the women's room, Nico pulls me down onto the cold tile and squats over my hips, digging me out of my pants. With her other hand, Nico cups the back of my neck and pulls my face, my open mouth, into hers. Her tongue wrestling against my tongue, she's wetting the head of my dog with the pad of her thumb. She's pushing my jeans down off my hips. She lifts the hem of her dress in a curtsey with her eyes closed and her head tilted a little back. She settles her pubes hard against my pubes and says something against the side of my neck.
I say, "God, you're so beautiful," because for the next few minutes I can.
And Nico pulls back to look at me and says, "What's that supposed to mean?"
And I say, "I don't know." I say, "Nothing, I guess." I say, "Never mind."


From The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (Fourth Estate)

The night of Alfred's seventy-fifth birthday had found Chip alone at Tilton Ledge pursuing sexual congress with his red chaise-longue.
... He was kneeling at the feet of his chaise and sniffing its plush minutely, inch by inch, in hopes that some vaginal tang might still be lingering eight weeks after Melissa Paquette had lain here. Ordinarily distinct and identifiable smells - dust, sweat, urine, the dayroom reek of cigarette smoke, the fugitive afterscent of quim - became abstract and indistinguishable from oversmelling, and so he had to pause again and again to refresh his nostrils. He worked his lips down into the chaise's buttoned navels and kissed the lint and grit and crumbs and hairs that had collected in them. None of the three spots where he thought he smelled Melissa was unambiguously tangy, but after exhaustive comparison he was able to settle on the least questionable of the three spots, near a button just south of the backrest, and give it his full nasal attention. He fingered other buttons with both hands, the cool plush chafing his nether parts in a poor approximation of Melissa's skin, until finally he achieved sufficient belief in the smell's reality - sufficient faith that he still possessed some relic of Melissa - to consummate the act. Then he rolled off his compliant antique and slumped on the floor with his pants undone and his head on the cushion, an hour closer to having failed to call his father on his birthday.


From Little Green Man by Simon Armitage (Viking)

Bloke was lying on her back with her arms at her side. My eyes strayed from her face, but carefully, vertically, down her throat and her breastbone, and further, to a line of hairs that ran from her belly button to the top of her jeans. I took my time opening the orange and white packet, fumbling on purpose. Tasty Ticklers: peaches and cream flavour. When I tore the foil, a smell like tinned fruit cocktail escaped into the room. Tinned fruit, and Carnation. Sunday tea at my grandmother's. The condom itself smelt worse, like children's medicine mixed with powdered milk. I fiddled with it, pretending I couldn't find the end, holding it up to the light to see if it was inside out. I was shocked, truly shocked, when she took it from me and put it to one side.


http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/art...613940,00.html
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