Friday, September 08, 2006

A Selected Bibliography for Further Reading

1. Bartlett, C.J. A History of Postwar Britain 1945-74. Longman, Inc. New York, 1977.
2. Clarke, Peter. Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990. Allen Lane, the Penguin Press. London, 1996.
3. Gelb, Norman. The British: A Portrait of a Indomitable Island People. Everest House. New York, 1982.
4. Guiton, Shirley. A World By Itself: Tradition and Change in the Venetian Lagoon. Hamish Hamilton. London, 1977.
5. Hein, Dr. Holly. Sexual Detours: Infidelity and Intimacy at the Crossroads. St. Martin's Press. New York, 2000.
6. Marwick, Arthur. Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies. Thames and Hudson. New York, 1984.
7. Pugh, Martin. Britian Since 1789: A Concise History. St. Martin's Press. New York, 1999.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Nobel Prize

In 2005 Harold Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His speech, which I think demands to be heard in addition to being read, is volatile, scrutinous and challenging. Below I have quoted passages that apply more generally to the question of art and its place in society. The rest of the speech deserves a read/listen.

"In 1958 I wrote the following:

'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost . . .

. . . 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 . . .

. . . Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed . . .

. . . 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."
Basic Rules of Squash

"Two players, each with a racquet, take turns to hit a ball onto the front wall within the large area defined by the red line at the top of the court (‘out of court line’) and the red line marking the top of the tin at the bottom of the front wall.

A rally begins when the server, standing in one of the service boxes, hits the ball directly onto the front wall to rebound in the opposite half of the court behind the "short" line.

Every service ball must strike the front wall first between the out of court line and the centre ("service") line. The server must have one foot entirely within either the left or right service box when serving the ball into play. The service ball must land (after striking the front wall first) in the quarter court, opposite to the box from which it was served, on the full. Thereafter, all lines on the floor and the service line on the front wall are ignored.

During the subsequent rally the ball must hit the wall between the out of court line and the bottom line (‘tin’). The side walls and back wall are used any time after the service ball has struck the front wall whilst the rally continues.

The player receiving the ball can choose to hit the ball before it bounces but must hit the ball before it has bounced twice on the floor. If the ball hits the "out" line, the "tin" or the floor before reaching the front wall, the rally is lost.

A match consists of three or five games, each game being to nine points - the first player to reach nine points wins the game. A point can only be won by the server and changeover of service is effected when the server loses the service or subsequent rally."

From The Victorian Squash Federation.

Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939)

Ford was a modern English novelist of the grandest kind, a man after Jerry's and Emma's own hearts.

"Both The Good Soldier and Parade's End depict the confusion and despair attendant on a long undisturbed English aristocracy upon the arrival of the 20th century . . .

. . . The Good Soldier is narrated by the character John Dowell, one half of one of the two couples whose dissolving relationships form the core of the novel. Dowell tells the stories of those dissolutions, as well as the deaths of three characters and the madness of a fourth, in a rambling, non-chronological fashion that still leaves gaps for the reader to fill. The novel opens with the famous line, 'This is the saddest story I have ever heard.'"

Interestingly enough, these "dissolving relationships" are pulled asunder by a series of overlapping and compounding affairs. The Wikipedia article from which these quotes come gives a useful summary.

In 1908, he founded The English Review, in which he published Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, John Galsworthy, and William Butler Yeats and gave debuts to Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence, and Norman Douglas. In the 1920s, he founded The Transatlantic Review, a journal with great influence on modern literature. Staying with the artistic community in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris, France, he made friends with James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Jean Rhys, all of whom he would publish. In a later sojourn in the United States, he was involved with Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter, and Robert Lowell, who was then a student. Despite his deep Victorian roots, Ford was always a champion of new literature and literary experimentation."
W.B. Yeats

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)was an Irish poet and playwright who lived through the turn of the twentieth century, saw Eire gain its independence from Britain, and propped up the country's dramatic arts--the crowning accomplishment being the founding of the Abbey Theatre in 1904. His poems range from historical to political, lyrical to mythical. It should be noted in the context of the violence in Northern Ireland at the time of Betrayal, that some of his most puissant verses are those regarding the last years of the bloody struggle to have a free Irish state.

I'm including a few poems that, to me, seem to resonate with the play:

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree"

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
Whilte I stand on the raodway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

from "Easter 1916"

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

"Adam's Curse"

We sat together at one summer's end
That beautiful mild woman your close friend
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, "A line will take us hours maybe,
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought
Our stiching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world."

And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied: "To be born a woman is to know--
Although they do not talk of it at school--
That we must labour to be beautiful."

I said, "It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
Precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough."

We sat grown quiet at the name of love.
We saw the last embers of daylight die
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.

I had thought for no one's but your ears;
That you were beautiful and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
As weary hearted as that hollow moon.
A Pinter Timeline

This BBC feature juxtaposes the major events of his career with significant ones happening in the larger world context. I wanted to transfer some of the info to the blog, but the formatting is too tricky, so here is a link:
Extended Pinter Biography/Criticism

This comes from the Nobel Prize website:

"Harold Pinter is generally seen as the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century. That he occupies a position as a modern classic is illustrated by his name entering the language as an adjective used to describe a particular atmosphere and environment in drama: "Pinteresque".

Pinter restored theatre to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretence crumbles. With a minimum of plot, drama emerges from the power struggle and hide-and-seek of interlocution. Pinter's drama was first perceived as a variation of absurd theatre, but has later more aptly been characterised as "comedy of menace", a genre where the writer allows us to eavesdrop on the play of domination and submission hidden in the most mundane of conversations. In a typical Pinter play, we meet people defending themselves against intrusion or their own impulses by entrenching themselves in a reduced and controlled existence. Another principal theme is the volatility and elusiveness of the past.

It is said of Harold Pinter that following an initial period of psychological realism he proceeded to a second, more lyrical phase with plays such as Landscape (1967) and Silence (1968) and finally to a third, political phase with One for the Road (1984), Mountain Language (1988), The New World Order (1991) and other plays. But this division into periods seems oversimplified and ignores some of his strongest writing, such as No Man's Land (1974) and Ashes to Ashes (1996). In fact, the continuity in his work is remarkable, and his political themes can be seen as a development of the early Pinter's analysing of threat and injustice.

Since 1973, Pinter has won recognition as a fighter for human rights, alongside his writing. He has often taken stands seen as controversial. Pinter has also written radio plays and screenplays for film and television. Among his best-known screenplays are those for The Servant (1963), The Accident (1967), The Go-Between (1971) and The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981, based on the John Fowles novel). Pinter has also made a pioneering contribution as a director."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

British Government in the 1970s

Prime Ministers:

Edward Heath 1970-74, Conservative

Harold Wilson 1974-76, Labour

James Callaghan 1976-1979, Labour

Margaret Thatcher 1979-1990, Conservative

Royal Family:

This is a more recent picture, but it includes those members visible in the 1970s, Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Philip, her husband; Princess Margaret; Princess Anne; Prince Charlies; Prince Edward.
The Troubles in Northern Ireland, 1970s

Between 1969 and 1976, 1,662 lives had been lost in the conflict.

"Bloody Sunday", January 30, 1972. 13 unarmed Catholics were killed when British Soldiers tried to stop a banned demonstration.

Images of bombings in London:

Femenist Issues in Britain, 1970s

"Recent research among leading British businessmen indicated that they dismissed their wives as 'useful but not essential' in getting where they were."

"It is true that women have the same legal rights as men in Britain. They can acquire, own, and dispose of property. They can enter into contracts, sue, and be sued. They can give evidence in court and serve on juries. But despite a law which forbids sexual discrimination, an energectic Equal Opportunities Commission, organizations designed to promote and protect women's rights, and an endless stream of newspaper and magazine articles touting sexual equality, the women's liberation movement in Britain has been little more than a flop. A respected columnist in one of the country's leading newspapers invoked the code of chivalry to insist, 'women will always need men's protection, which can best be gained, now as ever, not by challenging his power but by exploiting her weakness.'"

Norman Gelb in The British

This attitude could be juxtaposed with advances in legislation and rights because those changes were largely a matter of functionality. Some of the major laws enacted were:

The Abortion Bill of 1967 (between 1947 and 1970 the birthrate fell from 20.7 to 12.4/thousand)
The Divorce Reform Act of 1969 (eliminated the necessity for a matrimonial offence)
The Equal Pay Act of 1970 (makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate between men and women in terms of their pay and contractual conditions. The Act applies to both men and women but any comparison must be with a person of the opposite sex)
The Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 (applies to both men and women and makes sex discrimination unlawful in employment and vocational training, education, the provision and sale of goods, facilities and services and premises)

Here is some info in answer to Heather's question:
In the UK, women have won significant rights to more equal divorce settlements in recent decades. Under the current EU constitution, the UK currently has the right to opt out of proposals such as these. But there is a concern at the Family Law Bar Association that the UK could easily lose out in any proposals, because its system is so different from most other European countries.

Since the early 1970s women have had a right to make a claim on property, even if they have not had any formal legal title on the home during the marriage.

So apparently that option was just becoming available to Emma. There is more on this in "Fear Over Women's Divorce Rights".

"British women have managed to make some headway in penetrating job areas previously reserved only for men...but the pioneers remain so few in umber that they are really only token indications of a chink in the armor of male supremacy."

Obviously Gelb's account is not the authority on the issue, however he does give substantial evidence of a general attitude of resistence in the 70s, even among women, to shifting gender roles. He goes on to say that, "women's liberation in Britain has been consistenly undermined by conditions built into the country's economic life."

Further research shows that this may very well be the case:
See "Only 1 British Female in 4 Calls herself a Feminist" and "Why Has Feminism Failed Women?"

Gelb gives this stereotype of an Englishmen:
"He is a well poised male chauvinist, trim and impeccably attired, courteous to women but considering their company a tedious waste of time when there's good brandy or beer to knock back."


Well, to be brutally honest, we wouldn't actually want a woman around, would we, Jerry? I mean a game of squash isn't simply a game of squash, it's rather more than that.
Flats in Kilburn


Here is the island in 1913.

Reknowned Victorian art critic John Ruskin described it this way:
Seven miles north of Venice, the banks of sand, which near the city rise little above low-water mark, attain by degrees a higher level, and knit themselves at last into fields of salt morass, raised here and there into shapeless mounds, and intercepted by narrow creeks of sea...built a rude brick campanile, of the commonest Lombard type, which if we ascend twoards evening...we may command from it one of the most notable scenes in this wild world of ours. Far as the ey can reach, a waste of wild sea moor, of a lurid ashen gathering of fantastic mists, nor coursing of clouds across it; but melancholy clearness of space in the warm sunset, oppressive, reaching to the horizon of its level gloom...and almost beneath our feet, on the same field which sustains the twoer we gaze from, a group of four buildings, two of them a little larger than cottages...there are no living creatures near the buildings, nor any vestige of village or city around them. they lie like a little company of ships on a far-away sea.

A more contemporary description:
Torcello is probably the quietest of the island on the Murano, Burano, Torcello tour. Its sleep air and delightful churches are a delight to explore - make sure you climb the Bell tower for fine views across the lagoon.
The mosaics in th church are some of the finest you'll see too (see my Torcello page for more). Several restaurants are here including the renowned locanda Cipriani so it makes a good lunch stop on the island tour.

British Fiction, 1970s

Major authors:
Adams, Douglas. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 1979.
Amis, Martin. Dead Babies. 1975.
Bainbridge, Beryl. The Dressmaker. 1973.
Burgess, Anthony. Napoleon Symphony. 1974
Clarke, Arthur C. The Wind From the Sun. 1972.
Le Carre, John. The Naive and Sentimental Lover. 1971
Murdoch, Iris. The Sea, the Sea. 1978
Spark, Muriel. Not to Disturb. 1971.
Weldon, Faye. Female Friends: A Novel. 1974.

And yet, according to Arthur Marwick in Britain in Our Century, "The book trade, once a genuine source of pride, was in trouble. Book prices shot up; hitherto impregnable firms turned in large trading losses; retrenchment and redundancy struck suddenly and often arbitrarily."
At the Restaurant

Here are some descriptions of what Jerry and Robert were eating:

Corvo Bianco
REGION: Sicily
DESCRIPTION: Made from classic Sicilian white grapes (primarily Inzolia), this wine is a pale straw colour with green flecks. It is dry but slightly fruity with a full, balanced, savory taste.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: A good companion to fish-based pasta such as Clams and Linguini and hors d'oeuvres like Herbed Shrimp. Especially good with Parmesan and Proscuitto Stuffed Veal and with Chicken in Wine Sauce.

Piccata al Limone : veal in white wine and lemon sauce

Prosciutto e melone: Cantaloupe with ham. This is the appetizer of all appetizers.

Fried Scampi: The Italian name for the tail portion of any of several varieties of lobsterettes, the most well known being the Dublin Bay prawn. Also: Large shrimp broiled or sautéed and served in a garlic and butter sauce.
Places in the Play, England

Hampstead (p. 65):
"With a head full of culture and history the perfect place to reflect is Hampstead Heath, which covers several hundred acres of land. The surrounding area has some of the grandest examples of Georgian and Victorian mansions in the city, and is populated by a heady mix of wealth and bohemia."

Hatchards Bookstore (p. 116):
"On the south side of Piccadilly, Hatchards offers a wide range of books on all subjects and is particularly renowned in the areas of fiction, biography, travel, cookery, gardening, art, history, and finance. In addition, Hatchards is second to none in its range of books on royalty."

Kilburn (p. 21):
"Ten or fifteen years ago Kilburn was known as a very rough area, racially very diverse, but with a large Irish population, some of whom had strong and visible links with Republican organisations."

The Lake District (p. 46):
"With the warm, summer sunshine bringing the countryside to life, there could be no better time to visit Cumbria - The Lake District. From quality Lake District hotels to lakeside campsites you are sure to find the right place to make your Lake District holiday a memorable one. By day, visit one of Cumbria's many attractions and by night sample some of our local Lake District cuisine in one of our many restaurants and bars."

Oxford (p. 24):
"Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires, is famous the world over for its University and place in history. For over 800 years, it has been a home to royalty and scholars, and since the 9th century an established town, although people are known to have lived in the area for thousands of years.

Nowadays, the city is a bustling cosmopolitan town. Still with its ancient University, but home also to a growing hi-tech community. Many businesses are located in and around the town, whether on one of the Science and Business Parks or within one of a number of residential areas."

Southampton (p. 24):
"Southampton has always been strongly tied with maritime history and developments. In particular, it is a primary port for cruise ships, its heyday being the first half of the 20th Century, and in particular the inter-war years, when it handled almost half the passenger traffic of the UK. Today it remains home to many luxury liners, as well as being a very important container port."

York (p. 44):
"York is situated in the Vale of York, an area of flat fertile land, crossed by rivers flowing from the Pennines in the West across to the North Sea 40 miles to the East. The Pennines are an upland ridge running from the Scottish border down to Derbyshire - about 200 miles in length."

British Film in the 1970s

Here is a representative list:
* Ryan's Daughter (1970)
* The Railway Children (1970)
* The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
* Ned Kelly (1970)
* Performance (1970)
* The Go-Between (1971)
* A Clockwork Orange (1971)
* Straw Dogs (1971)
* Walkabout (1971)
* 10 Rillington Place (1971)
* Get Carter (1971)
* Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
* A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972)
* Sleuth (1972)
* Don't Look Now (1973)
* The Wicker Man (1973)
* The Day of the Jackal (1973)
* Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
* The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
* The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
* The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
* Jabberwocky (1977)
* Jubilee (1977)
* A Bridge Too Far (1977)
* The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
* Alien (1979)
* Life of Brian (1979)
* Tess (1979)

It's obvious that there was a gamut of topics covered, though interesting tropes are noticable. Wacky and off-beat comedies like those of Monty Python had success. Stories dealing with intrigue and national security like the continuing adventures of James Bond have a considerable showing. Personal dramas are less visible.
Infidelity Statistics

These are obviously more recent, however I think they still have relevance. They come from Dear

According to Annette Lawson, author of Adultery first published in 1989 by Basic Books:
"The various researchers arrive at a general consensus…suggesting that above one-quarter to about one-half of married women have at least one lover after they are married in any given marriage. Married men probably still stray more often than married women—perhaps from 50 percent to 65 percent by the age of forty."

According to Maggie Scarf, author of Intimate Partnersfirst published in 1987 by Random House, re-issued in 1996 by Ballentine:
"Most experts do consider the 'educated guess' that at the present time some 50 to 65 percent of husbands and 45 to 55 percent of wives become extramaritally involved by the age of 40 to be a relatively sound and reasonable one."

According to Peggy Vaughan, author of The Monogamy Myth first published in 1989 by Newmarket Press (third edition published 2003):
"Conservative estimates are that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair. These figures are even more significant when we consider the total number of marriages involved, since it's unlikely that all the men and women having affairs happen to be married to each other. If even half of the women having affairs (or 20 percent) are married to men not included in the 60 percent having affairs, then at least one partner will have an affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages. With this many marriages affected, it's unreasonable to think affairs are due only to the failures and shortcomings of individual husbands or wives."
UK Marriage Statistics

In Thousands from 1950/ 1960/ 1970/ 1980

Number of first marriages: 330 / 336/ 389/ 279
Number of re-marriages: 78/ 57/ 82/ 140
Number of marriages: 408/ 394/ 471/ 418
Number of divorces: 33/ 26/ 63/ 160

A chart showing the incidence of divorces in the UK
British Drama, 1970s

"Many of the figures who came to dominate British drama and theatre in the 1970s and 80s first emerged in the 1960s and, while it is true that the 1950s generation showed the way, they did not enjoy the long-lasting success of writers like 'intellectual gymnast' Tom Stoppard - whose Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead was an overnight sensation in 1966 - or the more populist Alan Ayckbourn, who scored his first West End hit with Relatively Speaking in 1967."

From "Fifty Years of British Theatre", by Tom Phillips in Contemporary Review

Edward Bond and Joe Orton's plays also had many productions in the 70s. Bond helped to break down theatrical censorship in the late sixties with his play Saved, which features infanticide.

"In 1968 a new British musical style first saw the light of day with Lloyd Webber and Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The show made some impact but it was not until Superstar in 1970 that the new wave of British musicals began to make an impact internationally. This was followed by Evita (much less successful) in 1976."

From "A Thousand Years of British Theatre History" by Peter Lathan

No Sex Please, We're British by Foot and Marriott was a hit in 1971 and had an extended run. It was part of an emerging line of British farce that often dealt with sexual innuendo and situations. Other examples include:
# Michael Pertwee: Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1971)
# Alan Ayckbourn: Bedroom Farce (1975)
# John Cleese: Fawlty Towers (1975) (Television show)
# John Chapman & Anthony Marriott: Shut Your Eyes and Think of England (1977)
Music in the UK, 1970s

Though popular rock and roll was still a force in England during the 1970s--the Rolling Stones were still on the charts--its influence was somewhat overshadowed first by the break-up of the Beatles at the beginning of the decade, and then by the emergence of other potent strains of rock and roll.

Glam Rock, which is most notably exemplified by David Bowie, continued to shine through bands like T. Rex. Led Zeppelin was reinventing Blues Rock into what would later become Heavy Metal at the hands of acts like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Punk Rock arrived head on, the Sex Pistols leading the way and others, like the Clash, following close behind. Finally, Folk Rock continued to have an influence, championed by the Fairport Convention and perfected by such greats as Nick Drake.

The article on Wikipedia has more details.
A Chronology of his plays

The Room (1957) Old Times (1970)
The Birthday Party (1957) Monologue (1972)
The Dumb Waiter (1957) No Man's Land (1974)
A Slight Ache (1958) Betrayal (1978)
The Hothouse (1958) Family Voices (1980)
The Caretaker (1959) Other Places (1982)
A Night Out (1959) A Kind of Alaska (1982)
Night School (1960) Victoria Station (1982)
The Dwarfs (1960) One For The Road (1984)
The Collection (1961) Mountain Language (1988)
The Lover (1962) The New World Order (1991)
Tea Party (1964) Party Time (1991)
The Homecoming (1964) Moonlight (1993)
The Basement (1966) Ashes to Ashes (1996)
Landscape (1967) Celebration (1999)
Silence (1968) Remembrance of Things Past (2000)

From Harold
A Biography of the Playwright

Harold Pinter was born on October 30, 1930 in Hackney, London to native English-Jewish parents of Eastern-European ancestry. Correcting general knowledge about Pinter's family background, Michael Billington, Pinter's authorized biographer, documents that "three of Pinter's grandparents hail from Poland and one from Odessa, making them Ashkenazic rather than Sephardic Jews." Pinter was educated at Hackney Downs Grammar School. A "profound influence" on him was his evacuation to Cornwall and Reading from London during 1940 and 1941 before and during The Blitz and facing "the life-and-death intensity of daily experience"

Beginning in autumn 1948, for two semesters, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Later that year, he was "called up for National Service," registered as a conscientious objector, was brought to trial twice, and ultimately fined by the magistrate for refusing to serve. He "loath[ed]" RADA, mostly cut classes, and dropped out in 1949...From January to July 1951, he attended "two terms" at the Central School of Speech and Drama. From 1951-52, he toured Ireland with the Anew McMaster repertory company, playing over a dozen roles; in 1952 he began regional repertory acting jobs in England; and from 1953-54, he worked for the Donald Wolfit Company, King's Theatre, Hammersmith, performing nearly ten roles. From 1954 until 1959, Harold Pinter acted under the stage name David Baron.

From 1956 until 1980, Pinter was married to Vivien Merchant, a rep actress whom he met on tour, probably best known for her performance in the original film Alfie (1966). Their son, Daniel, was born in 1958. Through the early 70s, Merchant appeared in many of Pinter's works, most notably The Homecoming on stage (1965) and screen (1973). The marriage was rather "turbulent" and began disintegrating in the mid-1960s. For seven years, from 1962-69, Pinter was engaged in a clandestine affair with Joan Bakewell, which informed his play Betrayal (1978). According to his own program notes for that play, between 1975 and 1980, he lived with historian Lady Antonia Fraser, wife of Sir Hugh Fraser. In 1975, Merchant filed for divorce. The Frasers' divorce became final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980. In 1980, Pinter married Antonia Fraser. Unable to overcome her bitterness and grief at the loss of her husband, Vivien Merchant died of acute alcoholism in 1983. According to Billington, Pinter "did everything possible to support" her until her death and regrets that he became estranged from their son, Daniel, after their separation and Pinter's marriage to Antonia Fraser. Pinter has stated publicly in several recent interviews that he remains "very happy" in his second marriage and enjoys family life, which includes his six adult step-children and over twice as many grandchildren.

From the Wikipedia