Understanding Harold Pinter

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University of South Carolina Press, 1995 - Drama - 232 pages
In Understanding Harold Pinter, Ronald Knowles presents a comprehensive, accessible introduction to the writing of the heralded British dramatist whose works for stage, screen, television, and radio have been performed throughout the world.
Describing the playwright's rejection of early-twentieth-century sentimentalism and his departure from the 1950s "kitchen sink" realism associated with Arnold Wesker and John Osborne, Knowles explains why audiences at large have had difficulty understanding and sympathizing with Pinter's work.
In a chronological survey, Knowles analyzes Pinter's plays - from The Room (1957) to Moonlight (1993) - as well as his films - from The Servant (1963) to The Trial (1993). Knowles divides the writer's voluminous output into two categories, "comedies of menace" and "memory plays." Identifying the fundamental structure of these works, he discusses their anti-sentimentalism, and comments on the themes - including menace, verification, identity, and power struggle - that have dominated Pinter criticism.
In addition to reviewing past critiques, Knowles offers fresh appraisals of Pinter's plays and screenplays. He touches on Freudian and absurdist criticism but devotes his primary efforts to original applications of more recent theoretical methods, including new historicism, audience reception, structuralism, feminism, gender studies, and postmodernism.

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The Room The Dumb Waiter
The Caretaker the Revue
The Homecoming

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About the author (1995)

Ronald Knowles is lecturer in English at the University of Reading and associate editor of The Pinter Review.

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