Playwright Harold Pinter, Iraq war critic, remembered

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LONDON (AP) — British Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, who produced some of his generation’s most influential dramas and later became a staunch critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, has died. He was 78.

Pinter died Dec. 24 after a long battle with cancer, said his wife, Antonia Fraser. In recent years he had seized the platform offered by his 2005 Nobel Literature prize to denounce President George W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the war in Iraq.

But he was best known for exposing the complexities of the emotional battlefield. His writing featured cool, menacing pauses in dialogue that reflected his characters’ deep emotional struggles and spawned a new adjective found in several dictionaries: “Pinter-esque.”

His characters’ internal fears and longings, their guilt and difficult sexual drives were set against the neat lives they constructed in order to try to survive. Usually enclosed in one room, the acts often illustrated the characters’ lives as a sort of grim game with actions that often contradicted words. Gradually, the layers were peeled back. Pinter wrote 32 plays; one novel, “The Dwarfs,” in 1990; and put his hand to 22 screenplays.



Art, truth and politics, excerpted from British playwright Harold Pinter’s speech accepting the Nobel Prize for literature, delivered by video in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 7, 2005. The speech is a hard-hitting indictment of the Iraq war and occupation policy of both the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair: