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British playwright wins Nobel literature laurels
Updated: 2005-10-13 20:40

British playwright Harold Pinter, who juxtaposed the brutal and the banal in such works as "The Caretaker" and "The Birthday Party" and made an art form out of spare language and unbearable silence, won the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday.

British playwright and poet Harold Pinter accepts the 50th Anniversary Special Award to a Playwright during a theater award ceremony at the National Theatre in London in this Dec. 13, 2004 file photo. Pinter has won the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature. The Swedish Academy, awarding the prize, said Thursday Oct. 13, 2005 he was an author 'who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms.' [AP]

The Swedish Academy said the 75-year-old Pinter was an author "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms." The chilling, understated style of his work even inspired an adjective all his own: Pinteresque.

Starting with his breakthrough play, "The Caretaker," Pinter codified a style in the 1950s and '60s of verbal evasion and violence, menace both spoken and not. His influence has been felt throughout British literature, and across the ocean in the work of American playwrights Sam Shepard and David Mamet.

"Pinter restored theater to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue where people are at the mercy of each other and pretense crumbles," the academy said.

His other works include "The Room" and "The Dumb Waiter."

One of the most influential British playwrights of his generation, Pinter in recent years he has turned his acerbic eye on the United States and the war in Iraq.

He has been an outspoken critic of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and vehemently opposed Britain's involvement in the war. He told the BBC in an interview in February that that he would continue writing poems but was taking a break from plays.

"My energies are going in different directions, certainly into poetry," he said.
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