Phi Beta Cons

Pinched by Pinter

Lady Antonia Fraser, who was married to the late playwright Harold Pinter for 33 years, reveals in a new memoir that he was “a devoted husband who wrote love poetry to his wife and held to their agreement never to go to bed angry.” In a recent interview, Lady Antonia remarked that, going by his plays, “people were expecting to find our marriage was filled with morbid silences and pauses” and to hear of Harold as “a brooding menace.” She sipped her white wine, and laughed at the thought.

Ha ha, but the laugh is on us. So while Pinter was enjoying his high-level marriage of refined intellectual equals in the British upper class, he was inflicting on his servile public a dark vision of obscure miseries, casual cruelties, inarticulate vulgarity, strangled miscommunications, and menacing silences in sordid rooming houses.

According to Wikipedia, at least one of Pinter’s plays, The Caretaker, “is widely studied in schools in England for the General Certificate of Secondary Education and A-Levels English, sometimes as Drama Coursework, in the United States, at both high-school and college and university levels, and worldwide. It is studied at many schools as part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum. It is among Pinter’s most  frequently-studied and most frequently-reprinted works.”

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