Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, Nobel Laureate (born 10 October 1930), is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, and political activist. After publishing poetry as a teenager and acting in school plays, Pinter began his theatrical career in the mid-1950s as a rep actor using the stage name David Baron. During a writing career spanning over half a century, beginning with his first play, The Room (1957), Pinter has written 29 stage plays; 26 screenplays; many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays; much more poetry; some short fiction; a novel; and essays, speeches, and letters. He is best known as a playwright and screenwriter, especially for The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), all of which he has adapted to film, and for his screenplay adaptations of others' works, such as The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He has also directed almost 50 stage, TV, and film productions of his own and others' works.Despite frail health since 2001, he has continued to act on stage and screen, most recently in the October 2006 critically-acclaimed production of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, during the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court. He also continues to write (mostly poetry), to give interviews, and to speak about political issues.

Pinter's dramas often involve strong conflicts among ambivalent characters fighting for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own remembered versions of the past ("Biobibliographical Notes"). Stylistically, they are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, provocative imagery, witty dialogue, ambiguity, irony, and menace ("Biobibliographical Notes"). Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual human identity oppressed by social forces, the power of language, and vicissitudes of memory.Like his work, Pinter has been considered complex and contradictory (Billington, Harold Pinter 388).

Although Pinter publicly eschewed applying the term "political theatre" to his own work in 1981, he began writing overtly political plays in the mid-'80s, reflecting his own heightening political interests and changes in his personal life.This "new direction" in his work and his "Leftist" political activism stimulated additional critical debate about Pinter's politics.Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary ("Biobibliographical Notes"; Merritt, Pinter in Play; Grimes).

Pinter has received seventeen honorary degrees and numerous awards and honors. Academic institutions and performing arts organizations have devoted symposia, festivals, and celebrations to honoring him and his work, in recognition of his cultural influence and achievements across genres and media. In awarding Pinter the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, the Swedish Academy cited him for being "generally regarded as the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century."His Nobel Lecture, Art, Truth & Politics provoked extensive public controversy, with some media commentators accusing Pinter of "anti-Americanism" (Allen-Mills). Yet Pinter emphasizes that he criticizes policies and practices of American administrations, not American citizens, many of whom he recognizes as "demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions" (Various Voices 243; Art, Truth & Politics 21).In January 2007 Pinter received the Légion d'honneur, France's highest civil honor, particularly "because in seeking to capture all the facets of the human spirit, [Pinter's] works respond to the aspirations of the French public, and its taste for an understanding of man and of what is truly universal."On 11 December 2007 the British Library announced that it had purchased Pinter's literary archive for ₤1.1 million (approx. $2.24 million).


Personal background
Pinter was born on 10 October 1930, in the London Borough of Hackney, to "very respectable, Jewish, lower middle class," native English parents of Eastern-European ancestry; his father, Jack Pinter (1902–1997), was a "ladies' tailor" and his mother, Frances (née Moskowitz; 1904–1992), "kept what is called an immaculate house" and was "a wonderful cook" (Pinter, as qtd. in Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 103; Billington, Harold Pinter 1–2). 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" (Harold Pinter 1–5). 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" at that time influenced him profoundly. "His prime memories of evacuation today [circa 1994] are of loneliness, bewilderment, separation and loss: themes that are in all his works" (Billington, Harold Pinter 5–10).

Although he was a "solitary" only child, he "discovered his true potential" as a student at Hackney Downs Grammar School, "where Pinter spent the formative years from 1944 to 1948. … Partly through the school and partly through the social life of Hackney Boys' Club … he formed an almost sacerdotal belief in the power of male friendship. The friends he made in those days – most particularly Henry Woolf, Michael (Mick) Goldstein and Morris (Moishe) Wernick – have always been a vital part of the emotional texture of his life" (Billington, Harold Pinter 11; cf. Woolf). Significantly "inspired" by his English teacher, mentor, and friend Joseph Brearley, "Pinter shone at English, wrote for the school magazine and discovered a gift for acting" (Billington, Harold Pinter 10–11). He wrote poetry frequently and published some of it as a teenager, as he has continued to do throughout his career. He played Romeo and Macbeth in 1947 and 1948, in productions directed by Brearley (Billington, Harold Pinter 13–14). He especially enjoyed running and broke the Hackney Downs school sprinting record (Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 28–29).

Sport and friendship
Pinter has been an avid cricket enthusiast most of his life, taking his cricket bat with him when he was evacuated as a pre-teenager during the Blitz (Billington, Life and Work 7–9; 410). In 1971 he told Gussow: "one of my main obsessions in life is the game of cricket — I play and watch and read about it all the time" (Conversations with Pinter 25). Being Chairman of the Gaieties Cricket Club and a "lifetime support[er] of the Yorkshire Cricket Club (8), Pinter devotes a section of his official website to "Cricket" ("Gaieties Cricket Club"). One wall of his study is dominated by "A huge portrait of a younger, vigorous Mr. Pinter playing cricket, one of his great passions … The painted Mr. Pinter, poised to swing his bat, has a wicked glint in his eye; testosterone all but flies off the canvas" ("Still Pinteresque" 16 [illus.]). As Billington documents, "Robert Winder observes how even Pinter's passion for cricket is far removed from a jocular, country-house pursuit: 'Harold stands for a different tradition, a more urban and exacting idea of cricket as a bold theatre of aggression' " (Harold Pinter 410).

Other main loves or interests that he has mentioned to Gussow, Billington, and other interviewers (in varying order of priority) are family, love (of women) and sex, drinking, writing, and reading (e.g., Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 25–30; Billington, Harold Pinter 7–16; Merritt, Pinter in Play 194). According to Billington, "If the notion of male loyalty, competitive rivalry and fear of betrayal forms a constant thread in Pinter's work from The Dwarfs onwards, its origins can be found in his teenage Hackney years. Pinter adores women, enjoys flirting with them, worships their resilience and strength. But, in his early work especially, they are often seen as disruptive influences on some pure, Platonic ideal of male friendship: one of the most crucial of all Pinter's lost Edens" (Harold Pinter 10–12; cf. Woolf).

Early theatrical training and stage experience
Beginning in autumn 1948, Pinter attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) for two terms, but "Loathing" RADA, he cut most of his classes, feigned a nervous breakdown, and dropped out in 1949 (Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25, 31–35; Batty, About Pinter 7). That year he was also "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 (Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25). He had a "walk-on" role in Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Chesterfield Hippodrome in 1949–50 (Billington, Harold Pinter 37; Batty, About Pinter 8).[2] From January to July 1951, he "endured six months at the Central School of Speech and Drama" (Billington, Harold Pinter 31, 36, 38; Batty, About Pinter xiii, 8). From 1951–52, he toured Ireland with the Anew McMaster repertory company, playing over a dozen roles (Pinter, "Mac", Various Voices 27–34). In 1952 he began regional repertory acting jobs in England; from 1953–54, he worked for the Donald Wolfit Company, King's Theatre, Hammersmith, performing eight roles (Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25; 31, 36, 37–41).From 1954 until 1959, Harold Pinter acted under the stage name "David Baron". (Pinter's paternal "grandmother's maiden name was Baron … he adopted it as his stage-name … [and] used it [Baron] for the autobiographical character of Mark in the first draft of [his novel] The Dwarfs" [Billington, Harold Pinter 3, 47–48].) As Batty observes: "Following his brief stint with Wolfit's company in 1953, this was to be Pinter's daily life for five years, and his prime manner of earning a living alongside stints as a waiter, a postman, a bouncer and snow-clearer whilst all the time harbouring ambitions as a poet and writer" (About Pinter 10).

In Pinter: The Player's Playwright, David Thompson "itemises all the performances Pinter gave in the [David] Baron years," including those in English regional repertory companies, nearly twenty-five roles (Cited in Billington, Harold Pinter 49–55). In October 1989, Pinter told Mel Gussow: "I was in English rep as an actor for about 12 years. My favourite roles were undoubtedly the sinister ones. They're something to get your teeth into" (Conversations with Pinter 83). During that period, he also performed occasional roles in his own and others' works (for radio, TV, and film), as he has done more recently (Billington, Harold Pinter 20–25; 31, 36, 38).

Marriage and family life
First marriage
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 (Billington, Harold Pinter 54, 75). Through the early '70s, Merchant appeared in many of Pinter's works, most notably The Homecoming on stage (1965) and screen (1973), but the marriage was turbulent and began disintegrating in the mid-1960s (252–56). For seven years, from 1962–69, Pinter was engaged in a clandestine affair with Joan Bakewell, which informed his play Betrayal (1978) (264–266). Between 1975 and 1980, he lived with historian Lady Antonia Fraser, wife of Sir Hugh Fraser (272–76), and, in 1975, Merchant filed for divorce ("People").

Second marriage
After the Frasers' divorce became final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980, in the third week of October 1980, Pinter married Antonia Fraser. Due to a two-week delay in Merchant's signing the divorce papers, however, the reception had to precede the actual ceremony, originally scheduled "to coincide with Pinter's fifieth birthday" on 10 October 1980 (271–72).

Unable to overcome her bitterness and grief at the loss of her husband, Vivien Merchant died of acute alcoholism in the first week of October 1982 at the age of 53 (Billington, Harold Pinter 276). According to Billington, who cites Merchant's close friends and Pinter's associates, 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 remarriage (276, 345). A reclusive gifted musician and writer (345), Daniel no longer uses the surname Pinter, having adopted instead "his maternal grandmother's maiden name," Brand, after his parents separated (255). "His efforts to reach out … rebuffed," Pinter has not spoken with him since 1993; " 'There it is,' he said" (Lyall, "Still Pinteresque").

Personal feelings
Billington observes that "Pinter's new life with Antonia … obviously released something that had long been dormant: a preoccupation with the injustices and hypocrisies of the public world"; yet, his "sorrow, and even residual guilt, over Vivien's death" still seems to have resulted in "Pinter's creative blankness over a three-year period in the early 1980s" (Harold Pinter 278). Since Pinter "loves children and … would have liked a large family of his own, the progressive separation from Daniel is obviously a source of anguish" which Billington speculates is "reflected in Moonlight" (written in 1993, the year that Pinter and his son mutually decided to cease contact), "not only in Andy's cry of 'Where are the boys?' but in his final sad enquiries after his imagined grandchildren," though Pinter disavowed any conscious connection (346).

Pinter has stated publicly in interviews that he remains "very happy" in his second marriage and enjoys family life, which includes his six adult stepchildren and sixteen step-grandchildren (Billington, Harold Pinter 388, 429–30), and, after vanquishing cancer, considers himself "a very lucky man in every respect" (Qtd. in Wark; Billington, " 'They said' ").According to Lyall, who interviewed him in London for her Sunday New York Times preview of Sleuth, Pinter's "latest work, a slim pamphlet called 'Six Poems for A.,' comprises poems written over 32 years, with 'A' being Lady Antonia. The first of the poems was written in Paris, where she and Mr. Pinter traveled soon after they met. More than three decades later the two are rarely apart, and Mr. Pinter turns soft, even cozy, when he talks about his wife" ("Still Pinteresque" 16). In his interview with Lyall, Pinter "acknowledged that his plays––full of infidelity, cruelty, inhumanity, the lot––seem at odds with his domestic contentment. 'How can you write a happy play?' he said. 'Drama is about conflict and degrees of perturbation, disarray. I've never been able to write a happy play, but I've been able to enjoy a happy life' " ("Still Pinteresque" 16).

Further information: Works of Harold Pinter and Characteristics of Harold Pinter's work

Pinter is the author of twenty-nine plays, fifteen dramatic sketches, twenty-six screenplays and film scripts for cinema and television, a novel, and other prose fiction, essays, and speeches, many poems, and co-author of two works for stage and radio. Along with the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play for The Homecoming and several other American awards and award nominations, he and his plays have received many awards in the UK and elsewhere throughout the world.His screenplays for The French Lieutenant's Woman and Betrayal were nominated for Academy Awards in the category of "Writing: Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium" in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

The Room (1957)
Pinter's first play, The Room, written in 1957, was a student production at the University of Bristol, "commissioned" and directed by his good friend (later acclaimed) actor Henry Woolf, who also originated the role of Mr. Kidd (which he reprised in 2001 and 2007). After Pinter had mentioned that he had an "idea" for a play, Woolf asked him to write it so that he could direct it as part of fulfilling requirements for his postgraduate work. Pinter wrote it in three days (Qtd. in Merritt, "Talking about Pinter" 147). To mark and celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of that first production of The Room, Woolf reprised his role of Mr. Kidd, as well as his role of the Man in Pinter's play Monologue, in April 2007 as part of an international conference at the University of Leeds, "Artist and Citizen: 50 Years of Performing Pinter".

"Comedies of menace"
The Birthday Party (1957), Pinter's second play and among his best-known, was initially a disaster, despite a rave review in the Sunday Times by its influential drama critic Harold Hobson, which appeared only after the production had closed and could not be reprieved (Hobson, "The Screw Turns Again").Critical accounts often quote Hobson's prophetic words:

One of the actors in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party at the Lyric, Hammersmith, announces in the programme that he read History at Oxford, and took his degree with Fourth Class Honours. Now I am well aware that Mr Pinter[']s play received extremely bad notices last Tuesday morning. At the moment I write these it is uncertain even whether the play will still be in the bill by the time they appear, though it is probable it will soon be seen elsewhere. Deliberately, I am willing to risk whatever reputation I have as a judge of plays by saying that The Birthday Party is not a Fourth, not even a Second, but a First; and that Pinter, on the evidence of his work, possesses the most original, disturbing and arresting talent in theatrical London.… Mr Pinter and The Birthday Party, despite their experiences last week, will be heard of again. Make a note of their names.

Hobson is generally credited by Pinter himself and other critics as bolstering him and perhaps even rescuing his career (Billington, Harold Pinter 85); for example, in their September 1993 interview, Pinter told the New York Times critic Mel Gussow: "I felt pretty discouraged before Hobson. He had a tremendous influence on my life" (141).

In a review published in 1958, borrowing from the subtitle of The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, a play by David Campton (1924–2006), critic Irving Wardle called Pinter's early plays "comedy of menace"––a label that people have applied repeatedly to his work, at times "pigeonholing" and attempting to "tame" it.[16][17] Such plays begin with an apparently innocent situation that becomes both threatening and absurd as Pinter's characters behave in ways often perceived as inexplicable by his audiences and one another. Pinter acknowledges the influence of Samuel Beckett, particularly on his early work (Billington, Harold Pinter 64, 65, 84, 197, 251); they became friends (354), sending each other drafts of their works in progress for comments (Wark).

After the success of The Caretaker in 1960, which established Pinter's theatrical reputation (Jones), The Birthday Party was revived both on television (with Pinter himself in the role of Goldberg) and on stage and well received. By the time Peter Hall's production of The Homecoming (1964) reached New York (1967), Harold Pinter had become a celebrity playwright, and the play garnered four Tony awards, among other awards ("Harold Pinter" at the Internet Broadway Database).

"Memory plays"
From the late sixties through the early eighties, Pinter wrote Landscape, Silence, "Night", Old Times, No Man's Land, Betrayal, The Proust Screenplay, Family Voices, and A Kind of Alaska, all of which dramatize complex ambiguities, elegaic mysteries, comic vagaries, and other "quicksand"-like characteristics of memory and which critics sometimes categorize as Pinter's "memory plays". Pinter's more-recent plays Party Time (1991), Moonlight (1993), Ashes to Ashes (1996), and Celebration (2000) draw upon some features of his "memory" dramaturgy in their focus on the past in the present, but they have personal and political resonances and other tonal differences from these more-clearly-identifiable "memory plays" (Billington, Harold Pinter; Batty; Grimes).

Pinter as director
Pinter began to direct more frequently during the 1970s, becoming an associate director of the National Theatre (NT) in 1973, and he has directed almost fifty productions of his own and others' plays for stage, film, and television. As a director, Pinter has helmed productions of work by Simon Gray ten times, including directing the stage premières of Butley (1971), Otherwise Engaged (1975), The Rear Column (stage 1978; TV, 1980), Close of Play (NT, 1979), Quartermaine's Terms (1981), Life Support (1997), The Late Middle Classes (1999), and The Old Masters (2004), and the film, Butley (1974), several of which starred Alan Bates (1934–2003), who originated (on stage and screen) the role of Mick in Pinter's first commercial success, The Caretaker (1960), and played the roles of Nicholas in One for the Road and the cab driver in Victoria Station in Pinter's own double-bill production at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1984.

Pinter's overtly political plays
Beginning in the mid-1980s, his plays tended to become shorter and more overtly political, serving as critiques of oppression, torture, and other abuses of human rights (Merritt, Pinter in Play xi–xv, 170–209; Grimes 19). In a 1985 interview called "A Play and Its Politics", with Nicholas Hern, published in the Grove Press edition of One for the Road, Pinter states that whereas his earlier plays presented "metaphors" for power and powerlessness, the later ones present literal "realities" of power and its abuse. Grimes proposes, "If it is too much to say that Pinter faults himself for his earlier political inactivity, his political theater dramatizes the interplay and conflict of the opposing poles of involvement and disengagement" (19). From 1993 to 1999, reflecting both personal and political concerns, Pinter wrote Moonlight (1993) and Ashes to Ashes (1996), full-length plays with domestic settings relating to death and dying and (in the latter case) to such "atrocities" as the Holocaust. In this period, after the deaths of first his mother and then his father, again merging the personal and the political, Pinter wrote the poems "Death" (1997) (which he read in his 2005 Nobel Lecture) and "The Disappeared" (1998).

Lincoln Center Harold Pinter Festival (Summer 2001)
In July and August 2001, a Harold Pinter Festival celebrating his work was held at Lincoln Center in New York City, in which he participated as both a director (of a double bill pairing his newest play, Celebration, with his first play, The Room) and an actor (as Nicolas in One for the Road).

Harold Pinter Homage at World Leaders (Autumn 2001)
In October 2001, as part of the "Harold Pinter Homage" at the World Leaders Festival of Creative Genius, at Harbourfront Centre, in Toronto, following the reception and during the dinner honoring him, he presented a dramatic reading of Celebration (2000) and also participated in a public interview as part of the International Festival of Authors ("Harold Pinter Added to IFOA Lineup"; "Travel Advisory").

That winter Pinter's collaboration with director Di Trevis resulted in their stage adaptation of his as-yet unfilmed 1972 work The Proust Screenplay, entitled Remembrance of Things Past (both based on Marcel Proust's famous seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time), being produced at the National Theatre, in London. There was also a revival of The Caretaker in the West End.

Career developments from 2001 to 2005
Late in 2001, Pinter was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, for which he underwent a successful operation and chemotherapy in 2002. During the course of his treatment, he directed a production of his play No Man's Land, wrote and performed in his new sketch "Press Conference" for a two-part otherwise-retrospective production of his dramatic sketches at the National Theatre, and was seen on television in America in the role of Vivian Bearing's father in the HBO film version of Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit. Since then, having become increasingly "engaged" as "a citizen," Pinter has continued to write and present politically-charged poetry, essays, speeches and two new screenplay adaptations of plays, based on Shakespeare's King Lear (completed in 2000 but unfilmed) and on Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth (written in 2005, with revisions completed later for the 2007 film Sleuth). Pinter's most recent stage play, Celebration (2000), is more a social satire, with fewer political resonances than such plays as One for the Road (1984), Mountain Language (1988), Party Time (1991), and Ashes to Ashes (1996), the last three of which extend expressionistic aspects of Pinter's "memory plays". His most recent dramatic work for radio, Voices (2005), a collaboration with composer James Clarke, adapting such selected works by Pinter to music, premièred on BBC Radio 3 on his 75th birthday (10 Oct. 2005), three days before the announcement that he had won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature (13 Oct. 2005).

Public announcement of "retirement" from playwriting (February 2005)
On 28 February 2005, in an interview with Mark Lawson on the BBC Radio 4 program Front Row, Pinter announced publicly that he would stop writing plays to dedicate himself to his political activism and writing poetry: "I think I've written 29 plays. I think it's enough for me. I think I've found other forms now. My energies are going in different directions—over the last few years I've made a number of political speeches at various locations and ceremonies … I'm using a lot of energy more specifically about political states of affairs, which I think are very, very worrying as things stand."

Since 2005
After announcing in February 2005 that he would stop writing plays (Lawson), Pinter completed his screenplay for Sleuth and wrote a new dramatic sketch entitled "Apart From That", which he and Rupert Graves performed on television (Wark). In recent interviews and correspondence, he has vowed to " 'keep fighting' " politically (Lawson; Billington, Harold Pinter 395), and, in March 2006, in Turin, Italy, on being awarded the Europe Theatre Prize, he said that he would keep writing poetry until "I conk out" (Qtd. in Billington, " 'I've written' ").

"Let's Keep Fighting"
As he had announced that he planned to do, Pinter remains committed to writing and publishing poetry (e.g., his poems "The Special Relationship", "Laughter", and "The Watcher") and to continuing political pressure against the "status quo," battling politically what he considers social injustices, as well as personally his post-esophageal cancer bouts of ill health, including "a rare skin disease called pemphigus"—that "very, very mysterious skin condition which emanated from the Brazilian jungle", as Pinter described it (Qtd. in Billington, " 'I've written' ")—and "a form of septicaemia which afflicts his feet and makes movement slow and laborious" (Billington, Harold Pinter 394; cf. Lyall, "Still Pinteresque").

In June 2006, prevailing over persistent health challenges, Billington observes in his updated "Afterword 'Let's Keep Fighting' ", Pinter attended "a celebration of his work in cinema organised by the British branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures," for which his friend and fellow playwright David Hare "organised a brilliant selection of film clips ... [saying] 'To jump back into the world of Pinter's movies ... is to remind yourself of a literate mainstream cinema, focused as much as Bergman's is on the human face, in which tension is maintained by a carefully crafted mix of image and dialogue' " (Billington, Harold Pinter 429).

Europe Theatre Prize (March 2006)
In their public interview at the Europe Theatre Prize ceremony in Turin, Italy, which was part of the cultural program of the XX Winter Olympic Games. Billington asked Pinter, "Is the itch to put pen to paper still there?" He replied, "Yes. It's just a question of what the form is … I've been writing poetry since my youth and I'm sure I'll keep on writing it till I conk out. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've written 29 damn plays. Isn't that enough?" (Billington, " 'I've written' "). In response, audience members shouted "in unison" a resounding No, urging him to keep writing (Merritt, "Europe Theatre Prize Celebration").

Interview on Newsnight (June 2006)
Pinter occasionally leaves open the possibility that if a compelling dramatic "image" were to come to mind (though "not likely"), perhaps he would be obliged to pursue it. After making this point, Pinter performed a dramatic reading of his "new work," Apart From That, at the end of his June 2006 interview with Wark, which was broadcast live on Newsnight, with Rupert Graves. This "very funny" dramatic sketch was inspired by Pinter's strong aversion to mobile telephones; "as two people trade banalities over their mobile phones there is a hint of something ominous and unspoken behind the clichéd chat" (Billington, Harold Pinter 429).

Krapp, as portrayed by Harold Pinter at the Royal Court Theatre in October 2006; BBC Four, 21 June 2007.Krapp's Last Tape (October 2006)
In an account of Pinter's public interview conducted by Ramona Koval at the Edinburgh Book Festival "Meet the Author" in late August 2006, Robinson reports: "Pinter, whose last published play came out in 2000, said the reason he had given up writing was that he had 'written himself out', adding: 'I recently had a holiday in Dorset and took a couple of my usual yellow writing pads. I didn't write a damn word. Fondly, I turned them over and put them in a drawer.' " It appeared to Robinson that "despite giving up writing [Pinter] will carry on his acting career." From another perspective, however, as Eden and Walker observe: "So keenly is Harold Pinter relishing his return to the stage this autumn [in Krapp's Last Tape] that he has put his literary career on the back burner." Pinter said: "It's a great challenge and I'm going to have a crack at it" (Qtd. in Robinson).

After returning to London from Edinburgh, in September 2006, Pinter began rehearsing for his performance of the role of Krapp. In October 2006 Harold Pinter performed Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape in a limited run at the Royal Court Theatre to sold-out audiences and "ecstatic" critical reviews (Billington, Harold Pinter 429–30).

The production of only nine performances, from 12 October, two days after Pinter's 76th birthday, to 24 October 2006, was the most prized ticket in London during the fiftieth-anniversary celebration season of the Royal Court Theatre; his performances sold out on the first morning of general ticket sales (4 Sept. 2006).[21] One performance was filmed, produced on DVD, and shown on BBC Four on 21 June 2007.

Pinter: A Celebration (October – November 2006)
Sheffield Theatres hosted Pinter: A Celebration for a full month (11 Oct.–11 Nov. 2006). The program featured selected productions of Pinter's plays (in order of presentation): The Caretaker, Voices, No Man's Land, Family Voices, Tea Party, The Room, One for the Road, and The Dumb Waiter; films (most his screenplays; some in which Pinter appears as an actor): The Go-Between, Accident, The Birthday Party, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Reunion, Mojo, The Servant, and The Pumpkin Eater; and other related program events: "Pause for Thought" (Penelope Wilton and Douglas Hodge in conversation with Michael Billington), "Ashes to Ashes –– A Cricketing Celebration", a "Pinter Quiz Night", "The New World Order", the BBC Two documentary film Arena: Harold Pinter (introd. Anthony Wall, producer of Arena), and "The New World Order –– A Pause for Peace" (a consideration of "Pinter's pacifist writing" [both poems and prose] supported by the Sheffield Quakers), and a screening of "Pinter's passionate and antagonistic 45-minute Nobel Prize Lecture."

50th anniversary West-End revival of The Dumb Waiter; Celebration (February 2007)
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of The Dumb Waiter, Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs starred as Gus and Ben in "a major West end revival," directed by Harry Burton, "in a limited seven week run" at the Trafalgar Studios, from 2 February 2007 through 24 March 2007. John Crowley's film version of Pinter's play Celebration (2000) was shown on More 4 (Channel 4, UK), in late February 2007, "with a cast including James Bolam, Janie Dee, Colin Firth, James Fox, Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Sophie Okonedo, Stephen Rea and Penelope Wilton."

Radio broadcast of The Homecoming (March 2007)
On 18 March 2007, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a new radio production of The Homecoming, directed by Thea Sharrock and produced by Martin J. Smith, with Pinter performing the role of Max (for the first time; he had previously played Lenny on stage in the 1960s), Michael Gambon as Max's brother Sam, Rupert Graves as Teddy, Samuel West as Lenny, James Alexandrou as Joey, and Gina McKee as Ruth (Martin J. Smith; West).

Revival of The Hothouse (From 11 July 2007)
A revival of The Hothouse, directed by Ian Rickson, with a cast including Stephen Moore (Roote), Lia Williams (Miss Cutts), and Henry Woolf (Tubb), among others, opened at the Royal National Theatre, in London, on 11 July 2007, playing concurrently with a revival of Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse, also starring Samuel West (Robert), opposite Toby Stephens (Jerry) and Dervla Kirwan (Emma) and directed by Roger Michell (West).

Sleuth (August 2007)
Pinter's screenplay adaptation of the 1970 Tony Award-winning play Sleuth, by Anthony Shaffer, is the basis for the 2007 film Sleuth, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Michael Caine (in the role of Andrew Wyke, originally played by Laurence Olivier) and Jude Law (in the role of Milo Tindle, originally played by Caine), who also produced it; scheduled for release on 12 October, the film debuted at the 64th Venice International Film Festival on 31 August 2007 and was screened at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival on 10 September.

Broadway revival of The Homecoming (December 2007 – April 2008)
A Broadway revival of The Homecoming, starring James Frain as Teddy, Ian McShane as Max, Raul Esparza as Lenny, Michael McKean as Sam, and Eve Best as Ruth, and directed by Daniel Sullivan, opened on 16 December 2007, for a "20-week limited engagement … through April 13, 2008" at the Cort Theatre (Gans; Horwitz).

Civic activities and political activism

Political development
Pinter's political concerns have developed since he became a conscientious objector when he was eighteen (1946–1947) and since he expressed ambivalence about "politicians" in his 1966 Paris Review interview with Lawrence M. Bensky.Those assuming that Pinter's political interests began in the 1980s may not be aware that he was an early member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the United Kingdom and supported the British Anti-Apartheid Movement (1959–94), participating in British artists' refusal to permit professional productions of their work in South Africa in 1963 ("Playwrights in Apartheid Protest") and in subsequent related campaigns (Mbeki; Reddy).

Later political activities
His later political activities are better known and more controversial. He has been active in International PEN, serving as a vice-president, along with American playwright Arthur Miller. In 1985, Pinter and Miller travelled to Turkey, on a mission co-sponsored by International PEN and a Helsinki Watch committee to investigate and protest the torture of imprisoned writers. There he met victims of political oppression and their families. At an American embassy dinner in Ankara, held in Miller's honor, at which Pinter was also an invited guest, speaking on behalf of those imprisoned Turkish writers, Pinter confronted the ambassador with (in Pinter's words) "[t]he reality … of electric current on your genitals": Pinter's outspokenness apparently angered their host and led to indications of his desired departure. Guest of honor Miller left the embassy with him. Recounting this episode for a tribute to Miller on his 80th birthday, Pinter concludes: "Being thrown out of the US embassy in Ankara with Arthur Miller — a voluntary exile — was one of the proudest moments in my life" ("Arthur Miller's Socks", Various Voices 56–57). Pinter's experiences in Turkey and his knowledge of the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language "inspired" his 1988 play Mountain Language (Billington, Harold Pinter 309–10; Gussow, Conversations with Pinter 67–68).

He is an active delegate of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in the United Kingdom, an organization that defends Cuba, supports the government of Fidel Castro, and campaigns against the U.S. embargo on the country (Hands Off Cuba!). In 2001 Pinter joined the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM), which appealed for a fair trial for and the freedom of Slobodan Milošević; he signed a related "Artists' Appeal for Milošević" in 2004. (The organization continues its presence on the internet even after Milošević's death in 2006.)

Recent political views
For over the past two decades, in his essays, speeches, interviews, and literary readings, Pinter has focused increasingly on contemporaneous political issues. Pinter strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War, the United States's 2001 War in Afghanistan, and its 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

In accepting an honorary degree at the University of Turin (27 Nov. 2002), he stated: "I believe that [the United States] will [attack Iraq] not only to take control of Iraqi oil, but also because the American administration is now a bloodthirsty wild animal. Bombs are its only vocabulary." But he added the following qualification: "Many Americans, we know, are horrified by the posture of their government but seem to be helpless" (Various Voices 243). He has been very active in the current anti-war movement in the United Kingdom, speaking at rallies held by the Stop the War Coalition, which reprinted his Turin speech.

Since then he has called the President of the United States, George W. Bush, a "mass murderer" and the (then) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, both "mass-murdering" and a "deluded idiot"; he alleges that they, along with past U.S. officials, are "war criminals." He has also compared the Bush administration ("a bunch of criminal lunatics") with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, saying that, under Bush, the United States ("a monster out of control") strives to attain "world domination" through "Full spectrum dominance". Pinter characterized Blair's Great Britain as "pathetic and supine," a "bleating little lamb tagging behind [the United States] on a lead." According to Pinter, Blair was participating in "an act of premeditated mass murder" instigated on behalf of "the American people," who, Pinter acknowledges, increasingly protest "their government's actions" (Public reading from War, as qtd. by Chrisafis and Tilden). Pinter published his remarks to the mass peace protest demonstration held on 15 February 2003, in London, on his website: "The United States is a monster out of control. Unless we challenge it with absolute determination American barbarism will destroy the world. The country is run by a bunch of criminal lunatics, with Blair as their hired Christian thug. The planned attack on Iraq is an act of premeditated mass murder" ("Speech at Hyde Park"). Those remarks anticipate his 2005 Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth, & Politics", in which he observes: "Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force – yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish" .

In accepting the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry, on 18 March 2005, wondering "What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the conception of international law?", Pinter concluded: "I believe Wilfred Owen would share our contempt, our revulsion, our nausea and our shame at both the language and the actions of the American and British governments" (Various Voices 247-48).

In March 2006, upon accepting the Europe Theatre Prize, in Turin, Pinter exhorted the mostly European audience "to resist the power of the United States," stating, "I'd like to see Europe echo the example of Latin America in withstanding the economic and political intimidation of the United States. This is a serious responsibility for Europe and all of its citizens" (Qtd. in Anderson and Billington, Harold Pinter 428).

Continued public support of political causes and issues
Pinter continues to contribute letters to the editor, essays, speeches, and poetry strongly expressing his artistic and political viewpoints, which are frequently published initially in British periodicals, both in print and electronic media, and increasingly distributed and re-distributed extensively over the internet and throughout the blogosphere. These have been distributed more widely since his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005; his subsequent publications and related news accounts cite his status as a Nobel Laureate.

He continues to sign petitions on behalf of artistic and political causes that he supports. For example, he became a signatory of the mission statement of Jews For Justice For Palestinians in 2005 and of its full-page advertisement, "What Is Israel Doing? A Call by Jews in Britain" featured in The Times on 6 July 2006. He also co-signed an open letter about recent events in the Middle East dated 19 July 2006, distributed to major news publications on 21 July 2006, and posted on the website of Noam Chomsky ("Letter from Pinter, Saramago, Chomsky and Berger"; Chomsky, "Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine"; "Palestinian Nation Under Threat").

On 5 February 2007 The Independent reported that, along with historian Eric Hobsbawm, human rights lawyer Geoffrey Bindman, fashion designer Nicole Farhi, film director Mike Leigh, and actors Stephen Fry and Zoë Wanamaker, among others, Harold Pinter launched the organization Independent Jewish Voices in the United Kingdom "to represent British Jews … in response to a perceived pro-Israeli bias in existing Jewish bodies in the UK", and, according to Hobsbawn, "as a counter-balance to the uncritical support for Israeli policies by established bodies such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews" (Hodgson; Independent Jewish Voices#IJV Declaration).

In March 2007 Charlie Rose had "A Conversation with Harold Pinter" on The Charlie Rose Show, filmed at the Old Vic, in London, and broadcast on television in the United States on PBS. In this interview they discussed highlights of his career and the politics of his life and work. They debated his ongoing opposition to the Iraq War, with Rose challenging some of Pinter's views about the United States. They also discussed some of his other public protests and positions in public controversies, such as that involving the New York Theatre Workshop's cancellation of their production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie, which Pinter views as an act of cowardice amounting to self-censorship.

Retrospective perspective on political aspects of his own work
Since the mid-eighties, Pinter has described his earlier plays retrospectively from the perspective of the politics of power and the dynamics of oppression. He expressed such a retrospective perspective on his work recently, for example, when he participated in "Meet the Author" with Ramona Koval, at the Edinburgh Book Festival, in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the evening of 25 August 2006. It was his first public appearance in Britain since he won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature and his near-death experience in hospital in the first week of December 2005, which had prevented him from traveling to Stockholm and giving his Nobel Lecture in person. Pinter described in moving terms how he felt while almost dying (as if he were "drowning"). After reading an interrogation scene from The Birthday Party, he provided a rare "explanation" of his work (McDowell). He "wanted to say that Goldberg and McCann represented the forces in society who wanted to snuff out dissent, to stifle Stanley's voice, to silence him," and that in 1958 "One thing [the critics who almost unanimously hated the play] got wrong … was the whole history of stifling, suffocating and destroying dissent. Not too long before, the Gestapo had represented order, discipline, family life, obligation — and anyone who disagreed with that was in trouble" (Qtd. in McDowell).

In both his writing and his public speaking, as McDowell observes,

Pinter's precision of language is immensely political. Twist words like "democracy" and "freedom", as he believes Blair and Bush have done over Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of people die.

Earlier this year [March 2006], when he was presented with the European Theatre Prize in Turin, Pinter said he intended to spend the rest of his life railing against the United States. Surely, asked chair Ramona Koval, [at the Edinburgh Book Festival that August], he was doomed to fail?

"Oh yes — me against the United States!" he said, laughing along with the audience at the absurdity, before adding: "But I can't stop reacting to what is done in our name, and what is being done in the name of freedom and democracy is disgusting."

See main article: Honors and awards to Harold Pinter

See main article: Harold Pinter and academia

An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, Pinter was appointed CBE in 1966 and became a Companion of Honour in 2002 (having previously declined a knighthood in 1996). In 1995 and 1996 he accepted the David Cohen Prize for Literature, in recognition of a lifetime's achievement in literature, and the Laurence Olivier Special Award for a lifetime's achievement in the theatre, respectively. In 1997 he became a BAFTA Fellow. He received the World Leaders Award for "Creative Genius", as the subject of a week-long "Homage" in Toronto, in October 2001. A few years later, in 2004, he received the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry—"in recognition of Pinter's lifelong contribution to literature, 'and specifically for his collection of poetry entitled War, published in 2003' " (Wilfred Owen Association Newsletter). In March 2006 he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize, in recognition of lifetime achievements pertaining to drama and theater ("Letter of Motivation"). In conjunction with that award, from 10 March to 14 March 2006, Michael Billington coordinated an international conference on "Pinter: Passion, Poetry and Politics", including scholars and critics from Europe and the Americas (Harold Pinter 427–28).

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2005
On 13 October 2005 the Swedish Academy announced that it had decided to award the Nobel Prize in Literature for that year to "Harold Pinter … Who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms" (press release).

When interviewed about his reaction to the Nobel Prize announcement by Billington, Pinter joked: "I was told today that one of the Sky channels said this morning that 'Harold Pinter is dead[.'] Then they changed their mind and said, 'No, he's won the Nobel prize.' So I've risen from the dead" (Billington, " 'They said' ").

Nobel Week, including the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony in Stockholm and related events throughout Scandinavia, began in the first few days of December 2005. Due to medical concerns about his health, Pinter and his family could not attend the Awards Ceremony and related events of Nobel Week. After the Academy notified him of his award, he had arranged for his publisher (Stephen Page of Faber and Faber) to accept his Nobel Diploma and Nobel Medal at the Awards Ceremony scheduled for 10 December, but he had still planned to travel to Stockholm, to present his lecture in person a few days earlier (Honigsbaum). In November, however, he was hospitalized for an infection that nearly killed him, and his doctor barred such travel.

While still hospitalized, Pinter went to a Channel 4 studio to videotape his Nobel Lecture: "Art, Truth & Politics", which was projected on three large screens at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on the evening of 7 December 2005 (Lyall, "Playwright Takes a Prize and a Jab at U.S." and "Still Pinteresque").

Simultaneously transmitted on Channel 4 in the UK that evening, the 46-minute television broadcast was introduced by friend and fellow playwright David Hare. Subsequently, the full text and streaming video formats were posted for the public on the Nobel Prize and Swedish Academy official websites. In these formats Pinter's Nobel Lecture has been widely watched, cited, quoted, and distributed by print and online media and the source of much commentary and debate.

As a result of his Nobel Prize and his controversial Nobel Lecture, interest in Pinter's life and work have surged. They have led to new revivals of his plays, to the updating of Billington's biography (Billington, "We Are Catching Up"; Harold Pinter), and to new editions of Pinter's works (The Essential Pinter and The Dwarfs by Grove Press and a box set of The Birthday Party, No Man's Land, Mountain Language, and Celebration by Faber and Faber).

DVD and VHS video recordings of Pinter's Nobel Lecture (without Hare's introduction) are produced and distributed by Illuminations.

Légion d'honneur
On 18 January 2007 BBC News announced that French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin presented Harold Pinter with one of his country's highest awards, the Légion d'honneur … at a ceremony at the French embassy in London, shortly after holding talks with Tony Blair." Prime Minister de Villepin "praised Mr Pinter's poem American Football (1991)," saying: " 'With its violence and its cruelty, it is for me one of the most accurate images of war, one of the most telling metaphors of the temptation of imperialism and violence.' " "In return," Pinter "praised France for its opposition to the war in Iraq."According to the BBC's Lawrence Pollard, "the award for the great playwright underlines how much Mr Pinter is admired in countries like France as a model of the uncompromising radical intellectual."M. de Villepin concluded: "The poet stands still and observes what doesn’t deserve other men’s attention. Poetry teaches us how to live and you, Harold Pinter, teach us how to live."

Pinter and academia

As Merritt observes, some academic scholars and critics challenge the validity of Pinter's critiques of what he terms "the modes of thinking of those in power" (Pinter in Play 171–89; 180) or dissent from his retrospective viewpoints on his own work (Begley; Karwowski; and Quigley). In his personal political history,

Pinter's own "political act" of conscientious objection resulted from being "terribly disturbed as a young man by the Cold War. And McCarthyism. . . . A profound hypocrisy. 'They' the monsters, 'we' the good. In 1948 the Russian suppression of Eastern Europe was an obvious and brutal fact, but I felt very strongly then and feel as strongly now [1985] that we have an obligation to subject our own actions and attitudes to an equivalent critical and moral scrutiny." (Merritt, Pinter in Play 178)

Scholars who have studied the evolution of Pinter's life and work over the course of his career agree that Pinter's analyses and dramatizations of power relations reflect such a "critical and moral scrutiny" astutely.

Pinter's aversion to any censorship by "the authorities" is epitomized in Petey's line at the end of The Birthday Party. As the broken-down and reconstituted Stanley is being carted off by the figures of authority Goldberg and McCann, Petey calls out after him, "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do!" "I've lived that line all my damn life. Never more than now," he told Gussow in 1988 (Qtd. in Merritt, Pinter in Play 179). Pinter's ongoing opposition to "the modes of thinking of those in power"––the "brick wall" of the "minds" perpetuating the "status quo" (180)––infuses the "vast political pessimism" that some academic critics may perceive in his artistic work (Grimes 220), its "drowning landscape" of harsh contemporary realities, with some residual "hope for restoring the dignity of man" (Pinter, Art, Truth & Politics 9, 24).

As Pinter's longtime friends and colleagues director David Jones and actor Henry Woolf often remind serious-minded scholars and dramatic critics, Pinter is also a "great comic writer" (Coppa); but, as Pinter said of The Caretaker, his work is only "funny, up to a point" (Qtd. in Jones; cf. Woolf, Merritt, "Talking about Pinter").

The Harold Pinter Archive in the British Library
The British Library (BL) announced publicly, on 11 December 2007, that it has purchased Harold Pinter's literary archive, augmenting its current "Harold Pinter Archive" of 80 boxes ("Loan 110 A").It now comprises "over one hundred and fifty boxes of manuscripts, scrapbooks, letters, photographs, programmes, and emails," constituting "an invaluable resource for researchers and scholars of Pinter's work for stage, cinema, and poetry."Among its "highlights" are "an exceedingly perceptive and enormously affectionate run of letters from Samuel Beckett; letters and hand-written manuscripts revealing Pinter's close collaboration with director Joseph Losey; a charming and highly amusing exchange of letters with Philip Larkin; and a draft of Pinter's unpublished autobiographical memoir of his youth, 'The Queen of all the Fairies'," as well as especially-poignant letters from Pinter's "inspirational" Hackney Downs School English teacher and friend, Joseph Brearley.

According to the official BL press release, citing its head of Modern Literary Manuscripts, Jamie Andrews, the "extensive collection of correspondence" of "over 12,000 letters" in its expanded Pinter Archive "encompasses the personal, professional and political aspects of the legendary writer, whose career has covered directing, acting, screenwriting, poetry and journalism, as well as his original work for the theatre" and documents Pinter's "key role in post-War theatre and film ... through his extensive correspondence with [other] leading playwrights and literary figures such as Simon Gray, David Hare, David Mamet, Arthur Miller, John Osborne, and [Sir] Tom Stoppard, as well as actors and directors including Sir John Gielgud [corrected] and Sir Peter Hall."This collection also "documents all international performances of Pinter's plays, as well as exchanges with academics that highlight Pinter's engagement with the global scholarly community. There is also extensive material relating to Pinter's commitment to human rights, covering his journalism, poetry and direct action."The BL expects to catalogue the whole Archive by "the end of 2008."

From 10 January through 13 April 2008, the British Library is exhibiting a "small temporary display, 'His Own Domain: Harold Pinter, A Life in Theatre', featuring a range of unique manuscripts, letters, photographs, and sound recordings from the archive charting Pinter's life in the theatre as an actor, director, and writer of some of the most significant and celebrated plays of the twentieth-century."


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Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys, FRS (23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament, who is now most famous for his diary. Although Pepys had no maritime experience, he rose by patronage, hard work and his talent for administration to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under King James II. His influence was important in the early development of the British Civil Service.[citation needed]

The detailed private diary that he kept during 1660–1669 was first published in the nineteenth century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London.

His surname is usually pronounced /ˈpiːps/ (same as the English word peeps), although at the time it could have been pronounced either "peeps", "peps", or "peppis".

Pepys was born in London on 23 February 1633, the second son of John Pepys (1601–1680), a tailor, and Margaret Pepys née Kite (d. 1667), daughter of a Whitechapel butcher. Samuel Pepys was baptised at St Bride's Church on 3 March. His father's first cousin, Richard Pepys, was elected M.P. for Sudbury in 1640, and appointed Baron of the Exchequer on 30 May 1654, and Chief Justice of Ireland, on 25 September 1655. In about 1644 Pepys attended Huntingdon Grammar School, before being educated at St Paul's School, London, circa 1646–1650. Samuel Pepys attended the execution of Charles I, in 1649.[1] In 1651, he entered Magdalene College, Cambridge, taking his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1654. Sometime later that year, or in early 1655, he entered the household of another of his father's cousins, Sir Edward Montagu, who would later be made 1st Earl of Sandwich. In the same year, he married the fourteen-year-old Elisabeth Marchant de St Michel, a descendant of French Huguenot immigrants, first in a religious ceremony, on 10 October 1655, and later in a civil ceremony, on 1 December 1655, at St Margaret's, Westminster because religious ceremonies were not legally recognised under the Interregnum. The couple regularly celebrated the anniversary of the former date. On 26 March 1658 Pepys had a "bladder stone" removed in a dangerous, painful operation, the successful outcome of which he celebrated for several years. In mid-1658 Pepys moved to Axe Yard near the modern Downing Street, and worked as a teller in the exchequer under George Downing.

A short letter from Samuel Pepys to John Evelyn at the latter's home in Deptford, written by Pepys on 16 October 1665 and referring to 'prisoners' and 'sick men' during the Second Dutch WarOn 1 January 1660, Pepys began to keep a diary. In April and May of that year, he accompanied Montagu's fleet to The Netherlands to bring Charles II back from exile. In June, the position of Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board was procured for Pepys, following the rise in fortunes of his patron, Montagu; the position was secured on 13 July. As secretary to the board, Pepys was entitled to a £350 annual salary plus the various gratuities and benefits that came with the job: he rejected an offer of £1000 for the position from a rival, and moved to official accommodation in Seething Lane in the City of London soon afterwards.

On the Navy Board, Pepys proved to be a more able and efficient worker than his superior colleagues: a fact that often annoyed Pepys, and provoked much harsh criticism in his Diary. Learning arithmetic from a private tutor, and using models of ships to make up for his lack of first-hand nautical experience, Pepys came to play a significant role in the board's activities. On 15 February 1662 Pepys became a younger brother of Trinity House, and on 30 April he received the freedom of Portsmouth. He joined the Tangier committee in August 1662, and became its treasurer in 1665. In 1663 he independently negotiated a £3000 contract for Norwegian masts, demonstrating the freedom of action that his superior abilities allowed. On 21 February 1665 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

St Olave's church, the Seething Lane entrancePepys lived, worked, and wrote his diary through a number of significant historical events, among them the Second Dutch War (1665–1667), the Great Plague of London of 1665, and the Great Fire of London (1666). On several occasions in 1667 and 1668, he appeared before a select committee of Parliament to defend the record of the Navy Board and to argue for sufficient funds to maintain the fleet.[2]

Throughout the period of the diary, his health, particularly his eyesight, suffered from the long hours he worked. At the end of May 1669, he reluctantly concluded that, for the sake of his eyes, he should completely stop writing and, from then on, only dictate to his clerks, which meant that he could no longer keep his diary.

He and his wife took a holiday to France and the Low Countries in June–October 1669; but, on their return, Elisabeth fell ill and died on 10 November 1669. Pepys erected a monument to her in the church of St Olave's, Hart Street, in London.

In 1673, he was promoted to Secretary to the Admiralty Commission and elected M.P. for Castle Rising, Norfolk. In 1676, he was elected as Master of Trinity House. At the beginning of 1679 Pepys was elected M.P. for Harwich. By May of that year, he was under attack from his political enemies. He resigned as Secretary to the Admiralty, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London on suspicion of treasonable correspondence with France. He was released in July, but proceedings against him were not dropped until June 1680.

York Stairs, built 1626, and the last intact watergate on the River Thames. It stands a few yards from Pepys's later home in York Buildings, Buckingham Street, and was regularly used by himIn 1683, he was sent to Tangier to assist Lord Dartmouth with the evacuation of the British colony. After six months' service, he travelled back through Spain, returning to England on 30 March 1684. In June 1684, once more in favour, he was appointed King's Secretary for the affairs of the Admiralty, a post that he retained after the death of Charles II (February 1685) and the accession of James II. From 1685 to 1688, he was active not only as Secretary for the Admiralty, but also as M.P. for Harwich. He was a loyal supporter of James II. When James fled the country at the end of 1688, Pepys's career also came to an end. In January 1689, he was defeated in the parliamentary election at Harwich; in February, one week after the accession of William and Mary, he resigned his secretaryship.

From May to July 1689, and again in June 1690, he was imprisoned on suspicion of Jacobitism, but no charges were ever successfully brought against him. After his release, he retired from public life, aged 57. Ten years later, in 1701, he moved out of London, to a house at Clapham, then in the country though now very much part of greater London, where he lived until his death, on 26 May 1703. He had no children and bequeathed his estate to his nephew, John Jackson.

[edit] Interests and achievements
As well as being one of the most important civil servants of his age, Pepys was a widely cultivated man, taking a learned interest in books, music, the theatre, and science. He served on a great many committees and public bodies.

He was M.P. for Castle Rising, Norfolk, and for Harwich. Although also elected M.P. for Sandwich, he immediately withdrew when his election was contested. Most of these constituencies had connections with his relative Sir Edward Montagu but, according to his most recent biographer, Claire Tomalin, Pepys' patron was the future James II.[3]
Also through Montagu, he was involved in the administration of the short-lived English colony at Tangier. He was appointed to the Tangier Committee in 1662, when the colony was first founded, and became Treasurer in 1665. He resigned in 1679 but, in 1683, went out as secretary to Lord Dartmouth's expedition to evacuate and abandon the colony.

The first edition of Newton's Principia, bearing Pepys' name.He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1665 and served as its President from 1 December 1684, to 30 November 1686. Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica was published during this period and its title-page bears Pepys' name.
He was admitted as a Younger Brother of Trinity House in 1662, and as an Elder Brother in 1672. He served as Master from 22 May 1676, to 26 August 1689.
In 1673 he was involved with the establishment of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ's Hospital, which was to train 40 boys annually in navigation, for the benefit of the Royal Navy and the British merchant navy. In 1675 he was appointed a Governor of Christ's Hospital, and for many years he took a close interest in its affairs. Among his papers are two detailed memoranda on the administration of the school. In 1699 after the successful conclusion of a seven-year campaign to get the master of the Mathematical School replaced by a man who knew more about the sea, he was rewarded for his service as a Governor by being made a Freeman of the City of London.
His contemporary and great friend John Evelyn remembered him as "universally beloved, hospitable, generous, learned in many things". Pepys's character is encapsulated in his Latin motto (which he borrowed from Cicero's De Republica vi.26) mens cujusque is est quisque, which can be translated as "Each man's mind is who he is" or, more poetically, "The mind is the man".

[edit] The Pepys Library
Pepys was a lifelong bibliophile and carefully nurtured his large collection of books, manuscripts, and prints. At his death, there were more than 3,000 volumes, including the diary, all carefully catalogued and indexed; they form one of the most important surviving 17th century private libraries. There are remarkable holdings of incunabula, manuscripts, and printed ballads. Pepys made detailed provisions in his will for the preservation of his book collection; and, when his nephew and heir, John Jackson, died, in 1723, it was transferred, intact, to the Pepys Library, a superb Georgian building standing in the grounds of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where it can still be seen. The bequest included all the original book cases and his elaborate instructions that "the placing as to heighth [sic] be strictly reviewed and, where found requiring it, more nicely adjusted".

[edit] The Diary
Among the most important items in the Library are the original bound manuscripts of Pepys's diary. Although it is clear from the content that they were written as a purely personal record of his life and not for publication, there are indications that Pepys actively took steps to preserve them. Apart from the fact that he wrote his diary out in fair copy from rough notes, he also had the loose pages bound into six volumes, catalogued them in his library with all his other books, and must have known that eventually someone would find them interesting.

The diary was written in one of the many standard forms of shorthand used in Pepys's time, in this case called Tachygraphy and devised by Thomas Shelton; but, by the time when the college took an interest in the diary, it was thought to be ciphered. The Reverend John Smith was engaged to transcribe the diaries into plain English; and he laboured at this task for three years, from 1819 to 1822, apparently unaware that a key to the shorthand system was stored in Pepys's library a few shelves above the diary volumes. Smith's transcription (which is also kept in the Pepys Library) was the basis for the first published edition of the diary, released in two volumes in 1825.

A second transcription, done with the benefit of the key, but often less accurately, was completed in 1875 by Mynors Bright, and published in 1875–1879.[4] Henry Wheatley, drawing on both his predecessors, produced a new edition in 1893–1899, revised in 1926, with extensive notes and an index. The complete and definitive edition, edited and transcribed by Robert Latham and William Matthews, was published in nine volumes, along with separate Companion and Index volumes, over the years 1970–1983. Various single-volume abridgements of this text are also available.

Pepys recorded his daily life for almost ten years in breathtaking honesty; the women he pursued, his friends, his dealings, are all laid out. His diary reveals his jealousies, insecurities, trivial concerns, and his fractious relationship with his wife. It is an important account of London in the 1660s. Included are his personal account of the restoration of the monarchy, the Great Plague of London of 1665, the Great Fire of London (1666), and the arrival of the Dutch fleet and other events of the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–1667). The juxtaposition of his commentary on politics and national events, alongside the very personal, can be seen from the beginning. His opening paragraphs, written in January 1660, begin:

Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain but upon taking of cold. I lived in Axe yard, having my wife and servant Jane, and no more in family than us three. My wife, after the absence of her terms for seven weeks, gave me hopes of her being with child, but on the last day of the year she hath them again.
The condition of the State was thus. Viz. the Rump, after being disturbed by my Lord Lambert, was lately returned to sit again. The officers of the army all forced to yield. Lawson lie[s] still in the River and Monke is with his army in Scotland. Only my Lord Lambert is not yet come in to the Parliament; nor is it expected that he will, without being forced to it.
His job required that he meet with many people to dispense monies and make contracts. He often laments over how he "lost his labour" having gone to some appointment at a coffee house or tavern, there to discover that the person he was seeking was not within. This was a constant frustration to Pepys.

The diary similarly gives a detailed account of Pepys's personal life. He liked wine and plays, and the company of other people. He also spent a great deal of time evaluating his fortune and his place in the world. He was always curious and often acted on that curiosity, as he acted upon almost all his impulses.

He was passionately interested in music; and he composed, sang, and played, for pleasure. He taught his wife to sing, and paid for dancing lessons for her (although these stopped when he became jealous of the dancing master).

Periodically he would resolve to devote more time to hard work instead of leisure. For example, in his entry for New Year's Eve, 1661, he writes: "I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine ...". The following months reveal his lapses to the reader; by 17 February, it is recorded, "[H]ere I drank wine upon necessity, being ill for the want of it." Propriety did not prevent him from engaging in a number of extra-marital liaisons with various women: these were chronicled in his diary, often in some detail, and generally using a cocktail of languages (English, French and Portuguese) when relating the intimate details. The most dramatic of these encounters was with Deborah Willet, a young woman engaged as a companion for Elisabeth Pepys. On 25 October 1668 Pepys was surprised by his wife whilst embracing Deborah Willet: he writes that his wife "coming up suddenly, did find me imbracing the girl con my hand sub su coats; and endeed I was with my main in her cunny. I was at a wonderful loss upon it and the girl also....". Following this event, he was characteristically filled with remorse but (equally characteristically) this did not prevent his continuing to pursue Willet when she had been dismissed from the Pepys household.[5]

Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys recorded the last entry in his diary on 31 May 1669.[6]

[edit] Disease of the stone
From a young age, Pepys suffered from stones in his urinary tract (a condition from which his mother also suffered) and was almost never without pain, as well as other symptoms, including blood in the urine. By the time of his marriage, the condition was very severe and probably had a serious effect on his ability to engage in sexual intercourse.

In 1657, Pepys took the brave decision to undertake surgery: this cannot have been an easy option, because the operation was known to be especially painful and hazardous. Nevertheless, Pepys consulted Thomas Hollier, the surgeon; and, on 26 March 1658, the operation took place in a bedroom at the house of Pepys's cousin, Jane Turner.

The procedure, described by Pepys as being "cut of the stone", was conducted without the use of anaesthetics or antiseptics, and involved restraining the patient with ropes and four strong men; the surgeon then made an incision along the perineum (between the scrotum and the anus), about three inches (8 cm) long and deep enough to cut into the bladder. The stone was removed through this opening with pincers, which came from below, and which were assisted, from above, by a tool that had been inserted into the bladder through the penis. A detailed description of the procedure can be found in Claire Tomalin's biography, referenced below.

Pepys' stone was successfully removed and was described as being the size of a tennis ball (presumably a real tennis ball which is slightly smaller than a modern lawn tennis ball, but still an unusually large stone). However, he made a good recovery and resolved to hold a celebration on every anniversary of the operation. On Monday 26 March 1660, he wrote, in his diary,

This day it is two years since it pleased God that I was cut of the stone at Mrs. Turner's in Salisbury Court. And did resolve while I live to keep it a festival, as I did the last year at my house, and for ever to have Mrs. Turner and her company with me.
However, there were long-term effects from the operation. It has been speculated that the operation may have left him sterile; but there is no direct evidence for this, as he was childless before the operation. There are references in the Diary to pains in his bladder, whenever he caught cold; and the wound from the operation seems to have caused him problems in later life. In April 1700, Pepys wrote, to his nephew Jackson,

It has been my calamity for much the greatest part of this time to have been kept bedrid, under an evil so rarely known as to have had it matter of universal surprise and with little less general opinion of its dangerousness; namely, that the cicatrice of a wound occasioned upon my cutting of the stone, without hearing anything of it in all this time, should[,] after more than 40 years' perfect cure, break out again.
After Pepys' death, the post-mortem examination showed that his left kidney was completely ulcerated; seven stones, weighing four and a half ounces (130 g), also were found. His bladder was gangrenous, and the old wound was broken open again.

[edit] Pepysiana
The phantom Pepys Island, alleged to be near South Georgia, was named after him in 1684, being first discovered during his tenure at the Admiralty.
Among his colleagues at the Navy Office was Admiral Sir William Penn, father of the William Penn who founded the Pennsylvania colony in what would become the United States. Pepys recorded his absolute dislike of him regularly in his diary.
The refectory building at the British Civil Service College has been named in his honour.
There is a probability problem, called the "Newton–Pepys Problem", that arose out of correspondence between Newton and Pepys about whether one was more likely to roll a six with six dice or two sixes with twelve dice.[7]
In December 2003 a weblog run by Phil Gyford that serialises the diary won an award in The Guardian's Best of British Blogs, in the specialist-blog category.[8]
Pepys appears as a minor character in Neal Stephenson's trilogy The Baroque Cycle.
Pepys is a character in the film Stage Beauty. In a scene with the female lead Maria he is asked by her why he is taking notes. He admits that this taking of notes is a particular pleasure he would want to miss.
A housing estate along the River Thames in Deptford bears his name.
A house in Addey and Stanhope School, Deptford, England, is named after Pepys.
In the PC game Giants: Citizen Kabuto, the character Borjoyzee is seen reading the Diaries.
The Goon Show episode titled "The Flea" was loosely based upon Pepys, with Seagoon appearing as Pepys himself, regularly writing in his diary.
Benny Hill wrote and performed a song, 'Pepys' Diary', purportedly recounting Pepys' adventures.

[edit] References

[edit] The Diary
The complete and definitive edition of Pepys's diary by Robert Latham and William Matthews was published by Bell & Hyman, London, in 1970–1983. The Introduction in volume I provides a scholarly but readable account of "The Diarist", "The Diary" ("The Manuscript", "The Shorthand", and "The Text"), "History of Previous Editions", "The Diary as Literature", and "The Diary as History". The Companion provides a long series of detailed essays about Pepys and his world.

Volume I. Introduction and 1660. ISBN 0-7135-1551-1
Volume II. 1661. ISBN 0-7135-1552-X
Volume III. 1662. ISBN 0-7135-1553-8
Volume IV. 1663. ISBN 0-7135-1554-6
Volume V. 1664. ISBN 0-7135-1555-4
Volume VI. 1665. ISBN 0-7135-1556-2
Volume VII. 1666. ISBN 0-7135-1557-0
Volume VIII. 1667. ISBN 0-7135-1558-9
Volume IX. 1668–9. ISBN 0-7135-1559-7
Volume X. Companion. ISBN 0-7135-1993-2
Volume XI. Index. ISBN 0-7135-1994-0

[edit] Biographical studies
There are several detailed studies of Pepys' life available. Arthur Bryant published his three-volume study in 1933–1938, long before the definitive edition of the diary, but, thanks to Bryant's lively style, it is still of interest. In 1974 Richard Ollard produced a new biography that drew on Latham's and Matthew's work on the text, and benefited from the author's deep knowledge of Restoration politics. The most recent general study is by Claire Tomalin. Her book won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year award, and the judges called it a "rich, thoughtful and deeply satisfying" account that "unearth[s] a wealth of material about the uncharted life of Samuel Pepys".

Bryant, Arthur (1933). Samuel Pepys (I: The man in the making. II: The years of peril. III: The saviour of the navy), Revised 1948. Reprinted 1934, 1961, etc., Cambridge: University Press. LCC DA447.P4 B8.
Ollard, Richard (1984). Pepys : a biography, First published 1974, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-281466-4.
Tomalin, Claire (2002). Samuel Pepys : the unequalled self. London: Viking. ISBN 0-670-88568-1.

[edit] Editions of letters and other publications by Pepys
Pepys, Samuel (2004). in C. S. Knighton (ed).: Pepys's later diaries. Stroud: Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-3656-8.
Pepys, Samuel (2005). in Guy de la Bedoyere (ed).: Particular friends : the correspondence of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, 2nd edition, Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 1-84383-134-1.
Pepys, Samuel (2006). in Guy de la Bedoyere (ed).: The letters of Samuel Pepys, 1656-1703. Woodbridge: Boydell. ISBN 1-84383-197-X.

[edit] Web references
Seal, Jeremy (2003). The Wreck Detectives: Stirling Castle. Channel 4. Retrieved on 2006-06-06. (Some historical background on Pepys and the Royal Navy).

[edit] Notes
^ C. S. Knighton, ‘Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004)
^ Samuel Pepys and the building of the British navy Channel 4 Weck Detectives
^ Guardian article Can you trust Wikipedia?, 24 October 2005
^ Samuel Pepys Diary
^ Mystery of Pepys' affair solved BBC News 24 14 October 2006
^ Diary of Samuel Pepys — Complete by Samuel Pepys Project Gutenberg
^ Eric W. Weisstein. Newton-Pepys Problem. From MathWorld—A Wolfram Web Resource
^ Pepys' blog wins an award

[edit] See also
Samuel Sewall, often called the "American Pepys".

Hesketh Pearson

Edward Hesketh Gibbons Pearson (February 20, 1887 - April 9, 1964) was an English actor, theatre director and writer. He is known mainly for his popular biographies; they made him the leading British biographer of his time, in terms of commercial success.

He was a great-great-great nephew of Francis Galton, whom he described in Modern Men and Mummers.

He was born in Hawford, Claines Worcestershire, to a family with a large number of members in Holy Orders.

After the family moved to Bedford in 1896, he was educated at Orkney House School for five years, a period he later described as the only unhappy episode in his life, for the compulsive flogging beloved of its headmaster. At 14, he was sent to Bedford Grammar School, where he proved an indifferent student. Rebelling against his father's desire that he study classics in order to prepare himself for a career in Holy Orders, on graduation he entered commerce, but happily accepted his dismissal as a troublemaker when he inherited £1,000 from a deceased aunt. He employed the funds to travel widely, and on his return joined his brother's car business.

Conservative by temperament, he was a passionate reader of Shakespeare's plays, and a frequent theatre-goer. When his brother's business faced bankruptcy, he applied for a job with Herbert Beerbohm Tree, and began acting with that theatrical entrepreneur's company in 1911. A year later, he married Gladys Gardner, one of the company's actresses.

At the outbreak of World War I, Pearson enlisted immediately in the British Army but was soon invalided out when it was discovered that he suffered from tuberculosis. He volunteered for the Army Service Corps and was sent to Mesopotamia, whose climate was conducive to treatment for tuberculosis. He recovered from that malady while there, but contracted several other diseases, septic sores, dysentry and malaria and was close to death on three occasions. he attributed his survival to his practice of reciting long passages of Shakespeare while critically ill. He distinguished himself under fire, and on one occasion received a severe headwound from shrapnel. He was subsequently awarded the Military Cross. He returned to the stage after it was over, and in 1921, met Hugh Kingsmill, and encounter which, thanks to Kingsmill's charismatic friendship and influence, changed his life.[1]

In 1926 the anonymously-published Whispering Gallery, purporting to be diary pages from leading political figures, caused him to be prosecuted for attempted fraud. He won the case.

He was a close friend and collaborator of Hugh Kingsmill and of Malcolm Muggeridge; Richard Ingrams' later biography of Malcolm Muggeridge [Muggeridge: The Biography ISBN 0-00-255610-3] claims Pearson had an affair with Kitty Muggeridge, at the beginning of the 1940s, when Malcolm was in Washington D.C..

[edit] References
^ Richard Ingrams, God's Apology,1977 chapter 3
^ Many of the biographical works obtained from a copy of Charles II published by Heinemann in the UK in 1960

[edit] Works
Modern Men And Mummers (1921) which desctibes encounters with Francis Galton (whose great-great-great nephew he was)
A Persian Critic (1923)
The Whispering Gallery: Leaves from a Diplomat's Diary (1926) fictional diary, published as an anonymous hoax
Iron Rations (1928) stories
Doctor Darwin (1930) on Erasmus Darwin
Ventilations: Being Biographical Asides (1930)
The Fool of Love. A Life of William Hazlitt (1934)
The Smith of Smiths, Being The Life, Wit and Humour of Sydney Smith (1934)
Common Misquotations (1934) editor
Gilbert and Sullivan: A Biography (1935)
The Swan of Lichfield being a selection from the correspondence of Anna Seward (1936) editor
Labby: The Life and Character of Henry Labouchere (1936)
Tom Paine. Friend of Mankind: a Biography (1937)
Thinking It Over (1938)
Skye High: The Record of a Tour through Scotland in the Wake of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell (1938) with Hugh Kingsmill
This Blessed Plot (1942)
A Life of Shakespeare: With An Anthology of Shakespeare's Poetry (1942)
Bernard Shaw : His Life and Personality (1942) also G.B.S. A Full Length Portrait (US)
Conan Doyle: His Life and Art (1943)
Oscar Wilde, His Life and Wit (1946)
Talking of Dick Whittington (1947) with Hugh Kingsmill
The Hero of Delhi (1948) on John Nicholson
Dickens, his character, comedy, and career (1949)
G.B.S. A Postscript (1950)
The Last Actor-Managers (1950)
Essays of Oscar Wilde (1950) editor
Dizzy; the life and personality of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1951)
The Man Whistler (1952)- (J A McNeill - Whistler)
Walter Scott: His Life and Personality (1954)
Beerbohm Tree: His Life & Laughter (1956)
Gilbert: His Life and Strife (1957)- (W S Gilbert)
Johnson and Boswell: the Story of Their Lives (1958)
Merry Monarch, the Life and Likeness of Charles II (1960)
The Pilgrim Daughters (1961) Marrying Americans (US)
Lives of the Wits (1962)
Henry of Navarre (1963)
Hesketh Pearson, By Himself (1965) autobiography
Extraordinary People (1965) biographical essays
Charles II: His Life and Likeness
About Kingsmill (Co-author with Malcolm Muggeridge - regarding Hugh Kingsmill) [2]

[edit] References
Ingrams, Richard (1977) God's Apology: A Chronicle of Three Friends
Hunter, Ian (1987) Nothing to Repent : The Life of Hesketh Pearson
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesketh_Pearson"

Walter Pater

Life and works
Born in Stepney, England, Pater was the second son of Richard Glode Pater, a doctor, who had moved there in the early 1800s and practiced medicine among the poor. He died while Walter was an infant and the family moved to Enfield, where he attended Enfield Grammar School.

In 1853 Pater was sent to The King's School, Canterbury, where the beauty of the cathedral made an impression that would remain with him all his life. As a schoolboy he read John Ruskin's Modern Painters and was, for a while, attracted to the study of art, showing no signs of the literary taste which he was to develop. His progress was always gradual. He gained a school exhibition, however, with which he proceeded in 1858 to Queen’s College, Oxford.

His undergraduate life was unusually uneventful. He was a shy "reading man", making few friends. The scholar Benjamin Jowett was struck by Pater's potential and offered to give him private lessons. In his classes, however, Pater was a disappointment, taking only a second in literae humaniores in 1862. After graduating, he settled in Oxford and taught private pupils. As a boy he had cherished the idea of entering the Anglican Church, but at Oxford his faith in Christianity was shaken. By the time he took his degree, he thought of graduating as a Unitarian minister. However, in spite of his inclination towards the aesthetic, ritual elements of the church, he did not ultimately pursue ordination. Being offered a fellowship at Brasenose in 1864, he settled down into a university career.

However, it was not his intention to sink into academic torpor. As he began his career, Pater's sphere of interests widened rapidly; he became acutely interested in literature, and started to write articles and criticism. The first of these to be printed was a brief essay on Coleridge, contributed in 1866 to the Westminster Review. A few months later (January, 1867), his essay on Winckelmann, the first expression of his idealism, appeared in the same review.

In the following year his study of "Aesthetic Poetry" appeared in the Fortnightly Review, to be succeeded by essays on Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Pico della Mirandola and Michelangelo. These, with other similar studies, were collected in his Studies in the History of the Renaissance in 1873. Pater, now at the centre of a small but interesting circle in Oxford, gained respect in London and elsewhere, numbering the Pre-Raphaelites among his friends.

In 1874 he was turned down at the last moment by his erstwhile mentor Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol, for a previously-promised proctorship. The reason remained a mystery until recently, when records were found documenting an affair with a nineteen-year-old undergraduate, William Money Hardinge. Hardinge had attracted unfavorable attention as a result of his outspoken homosexuality and blasphemous verse, and was allowed to withdraw rather than be expelled.[1] Many of Pater's works focus on male love, either in a Platonic way or in a more physical way.[2]

He next became a candidate for the Slade Professorship of Poetry at Oxford University but soon withdrew from the competition in the wake of personal criticism, part of it spawned by W. H. Mallock in a satirical novel entitled The New Republic. In it, Pater is depicted as a stereotypically effeminate English aesthete.

Nevertheless, by the time his philosophical novel Marius the Epicurean appeared, he had gathered quite a following. This, his chief contribution to literature, was published early in 1885. In it Pater displays, with fullness and elaboration, his ideal of the aesthetic life, his cult of beauty as opposed to bare asceticism, and his theory of the stimulating effect of the pursuit of beauty as an ideal of its own. The principles of what would be known as the Aesthetic movement were partly traceable to Pater and his effect was particularly felt on one of the movement's leading proponents, Oscar Wilde, a former student of Pater at Oxford.

In 1887 he published Imaginary Portraits, a series of essays in philosophic fiction; in 1889, Appreciations, with an Essay on Style; in 1893, Plato and Platonism; and in 1894, The Child in the House. His Greek Studies and his Miscellaneous Studies were collected posthumously in 1895; his posthumous romance of Gaston de Latour appeared in 1896; and his essays from The Guardian were privately printed in 1897. A collected edition of Pater's works was issued in 1901.

Toward the end of his life, Pater exercised a growing and considerable influence. His mind, however, returned to the religious fervour of his youth. Those who knew him best believed that, had he lived longer, he would have resumed his youthful intention of taking holy orders.[citation needed] He died of rheumatic fever at the age of 55 and is buried at Holywell cemetery, Oxford.

Pater wrote with difficulty, fastidiously correcting his work. "I have known writers of every degree, but never one to whom the act of composition was such a travail and an agony as it was to Pater," wrote Edmund Gosse, who also described Pater's method of composition: "So conscious was he of the modifications and additions which would supervene that he always wrote on ruled paper, leaving each alternate line blank." [3] His literary style, serene and contemplative, suggested, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, a "vast attempt at impartiality." [4] The richness, depth, and acuity of his language was attuned to his philosophy of life. Idealists will find inspiration in his desire to "burn always with this hard, gemlike flame," and in his pursuit of the "highest quality" in "moments as they pass."

[edit] In literature
Pater appears as a minor character in Tom Stoppard's play The Invention of Love, along with several of his colleagues.

[edit] References
^ Inman, Billie Andrew, "Estrangement and Connection: Walter Pater, Benjamin Jowett, and William M. Hardinge", Pater in the 1990s, . Retrieved on 2007-11-27
^ Eribon, Didier & Lucey, Michael (transl.) (2004), Insult and the Making of the Gay Self, Duke University Press, p. 159-79, ISBN 0822333716
^ Edmund Gosse, "Walter Pater: A Portrait" (September 1894), from Critical Kit-Kats (1896)
^ G.K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature (1913), Ch. 1

Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC (March 18, 1893 – November 4, 1918) was a British poet and soldier, regarded by many as the leading poet of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trench and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and sat in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the confidently patriotic verse written earlier by war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Some of his best-known works—most of which were published posthumously—include Dulce Et Decorum Est, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Futility, and Strange Meeting. His preface intended for a book of poems to be published in 1919 contains numerous well-known phrases, especially 'War, and the pity of War', and 'the Poetry is in the pity'.

He is perhaps just as well-known for having been killed in action at the Sambre-Oise Canal just a week before the war ended, causing news of his death to reach home as the town's church bells declared peace.

Early life
Owen was born the eldest of four children at Plas Wilmot, a house near Oswestry in Shropshire on 18 March 1893 of mixed English and Welsh ancestry. At that time, his parents, Thomas and Susan Owen, lived in a comfortable house owned by his grandfather, but, on his death in 1897, the family was forced to move to lodgings in the back streets of Birkenhead. He was educated at the Birkenhead Institute and at Shrewsbury Technical School, and discovered his vocation in 1903 or 1904 during a holiday spent in Cheshire. Owen was raised as an Anglican of the evangelical school. His early influences included John Keats, and, as with many other writers of the time, the Bible.

Shortly after leaving school in 1911, Owen passed the matriculation exam for the University of London, but not with the first-class honours needed for a scholarship (his studies suffered as Owen mourned the loss of his uncle and role model, Edgar Hilton, to a hunting accident). In return for free lodging and some tuition for the entrance exam, Owen worked as lay assistant to the Vicar of Dunsden and as a pupil-teacher at Wyle Cop School. He then attended botany and—later, at the urging of the head of the English Department—free Old English classes at University College, Reading (now the University of Reading), and later failed to win a scholarship she also urged him to sit there. Prior to the outbreak of World War I, he worked as a private tutor teaching English and French at the Berlitz School of Languages in Bordeaux, France.

[edit] War service
On 21 October 1915, he enlisted in the Artists' Rifles. For the next seven months, he trained at Hare Hall Camp in Essex. In January 1917 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant with The Manchester Regiment. Owen started the war as a cheerful and optimistic man, but he soon changed forever. After traumatic experiences, which included leading his platoon into battle and getting trapped for three days in a shell-hole, Owen was diagnosed as suffering from shell shock and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh for treatment. It was whilst recuperating at Craiglockhart that he was to meet fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon, an encounter which was to transform Owen's life.

After a period of convalescence in Scotland, he returned to light regimental duties. In March 1918, he was posted to the Northern Command Depot at Ripon. [2] A number of poems were composed in Ripon, including "Futility" and "Strange Meeting". His 25th birthday was spent quietly in Ripon Cathedral.

After returning to the front, Owen led units of the Second Manchesters on 1 October 1918 to storm a number of enemy strongpoints near the village of Joncourt. He was killed in action on 4 November 1918, only one week before the end of the war. For his courage and leadership in the Joncourt action, he was posthumously awarded the Military Cross.

[edit] Poetry
Owen is regarded by some as the leading poet of the First World War, known for his war poetry on the horrors of trench and gas warfare. His great friend, the contemporary poet Siegfried Sassoon had a profound effect on Owen's poetic voice, and Owen's most famous poems (Dulce et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth) show direct results of Sassoon's influence. Manuscript copies of the poems survive, annotated in Sassoon's handwriting. Owen's poetry would eventually be more widely acclaimed than that of his mentor. While his use of pararhyme, with its heavy reliance on consonance, was both innovative and, in some of his works, quite brilliant, he was not the only poet at the time to utilize these particular techniques. He was, however, one of the first to experiment with it extensively.

As for his poetry itself, it underwent significant changes in 1917. As a part of his therapy at Craiglockhart, Owen's doctor, Arthur Brock, encouraged Owen to translate his experiences, specifically the experiences he relived in his dreams, into poetry. Sassoon, who was becoming influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis, aided him here, showing Owen through example what poetry could do. Sassoon's use of satire influenced Owen, who tried his hand at writing "in Sassoon's style." Further, the content of Owen's verse was undeniably changed by his work with Sassoon. Sassoon's emphasis on realism and 'writing from experience' was not exactly unheard of to Owen, but it was not a style of which he had previously made use--his earlier body of work consists primarily of light-hearted sonnets. Sassoon himself contributed to this growth in Owen by his strong promotion of Owen's poetry, both before and after Owen's death: Sassoon was one of Owen's first editors. Nevertheless, Owen's poetry is quite distinctive, and he is generally considered a greater poet than Sassoon.

Thousands of poems were published during the war, but very few of them had the benefit of such strong patronage, and it is as a result of Sassoon's influence, as well as support from Edith Sitwell and the editing of his poems into a new anthology in 1931 by Edmund Blunden that ensured his popularity, coupled with a revival of interest in his poetry in the 1960s which plucked him out of a relatively exclusive readership into the public eye.

Though he had plans for a volume of verse, for which he had written a "Preface," few realize that he never saw his own work published, apart from those poems he included in The Hydra, the magazine he edited at the Craiglockhart War Hospital.

[edit] Relationship with Sassoon
Owen held Sassoon in an esteem not far from hero-worship, remarking to his mother about Sassoon that he was "not worthy to light his pipe". Wilfred Owen was devastated by Sassoon's decision to return to the front, though he left Craiglockhart before Sassoon did. He was stationed in Scarborough on home-duty for several months, during which time he associated with members of the artistic circle into which Sassoon had introduced him, including Robert Ross and Robert Graves. He also met H. G. Wells and Arnold Bennett and it was during this period he developed the stylistic voice for which he is now recognised.

Robert Graves[1] and Sacheverell Sitwell[2] (who also personally knew him) have stated Owen was homosexual, and homoeroticism is a central element in much of Owen's poetry.[3][4][5][6] Through Sassoon, Owen was introduced to a sophisticated homosexual literary circle which included Oscar Wilde's friend Robbie Ross, writer and poet Osbert Sitwell, and C. K. Scott-Moncrieff, the translator of Proust. This contact broadened Owen's outlook, and increased his confidence in incorporating homoerotic elements into his work.[7][8]

The account of Owen's sexual development has been somewhat obscured because his brother, Harold Owen, removed what he considered discreditable passages in Owen's letters and diaries after the death of their mother.[9] Owen also requested that his mother burn a sack of his personal papers in the event of his death, which she faithfully did.

[edit] Death
In July 1918, Owen returned to active service in France, although he might have stayed on home-duty indefinitely. His decision was almost wholly the result of Sassoon's being sent back to England. Sassoon, who had been shot in the head in a so-called friendly fire incident, was put on sick-leave for the remaining duration of the war. Owen saw it as his patriotic duty to take Sassoon's place at the front, that the horrific realities of the war might continue to be told. Sassoon was violently opposed to the idea of Owen returning to the trenches, threatening to "stab [him] in the leg" if he tried it. Aware of his attitude, Owen did not inform him of his action until he was once again in France.

Owen was killed in action on 4 November 1918 during the crossing of the Sambre-Oise Canal, exactly one week (almost to the hour) before the signing of the Armistice and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant the day after his death. His mother received the telegram informing her of his death on Armistice Day, as the church bells were ringing out in celebration. He is buried at Ors Communal Cemetery.[10] There are memorials to Wilfred Owen at Gailly, [11] Ors,[12] Oswestry,[13] and Shrewsbury.[14]

There is also a small museum dedicated to Owen and his close friend Sassoon at the Craiglockhart War Hospital, now a Napier University building.

[edit] Literary output
Only five of Owen's poems had been published before his death, one of which was in fragmentary form. His best known poems include Anthem for Doomed Youth, Dulce Et Decorum Est, The Parable of the Old Man and the Young, and Strange Meeting. Some of his poems feature in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem.

Owen's full unexpurgated opus is in the academic two-volume work The Complete Poems and Fragments (1994) by Jon Stallworthy. Many of his poems have never been published in popular form.

In 1975 Mrs. Harold Owen, Wilfred's sister-in-law, donated all of the manuscripts, photographs and letters which her late husband had owned to the University of Oxford's English Faculty Library. As well as the personal artifacts this also includes all of Wilfred's personal library and an almost complete set of The Hydra—the magazine of Craiglockhart War Hospital. These can be accessed by any member of the public on application in advance to the English Faculty librarian.

The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin holds a large collection of Wilfred Owen's family correspondence.

[edit] References in popular culture
Though centered primarily on Sassoon and his doctor W. H. R. Rivers, Pat Barker's 1991 historical novel Regeneration describes the meeting and relationship between Sassoon and Owen, acknowledging truthfully, from Sassoon's perspective, that the meeting had a profoundly significant effect on Owen. Owen's treatment with his own doctor, Arthur Brock, is also touched upon briefly. Owen's death is described in the third book of Barker's Regeneration trilogy, The Ghost Road.
The play Not About Heroes by Stephen MacDonald takes as it subject matter the friendship between Owen and Sassoon, and begins with their meeting at Craiglockhart during World War I.
Owen is the assumed narrator of the song "Owen's Lament" by Australian band Augie March.
The first verse of "Anthem for Doomed Youth" is recited by Bruce Dickinson as an introduction to the live performance of "Paschendale" on the Iron Maiden live album Death on the Road.
Susan Hill's novel Strange Meeting takes its name from a poem by Owen of the same name.
The Damned released a single called In Dulce Decorum, which was inspired by Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est".
The title of Sarah McLachlan's album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy is taken from a line in Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est." ("Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling").
Razorlight have a song named Wilfred Owen.
The band 10,000 Maniacs recorded the poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" as a song called "The Latin One" on their 1983 album "Secrets of the I Ching".
The rap group Jedi Mind Tricks samples a reading of "Greater Love" at the end of their song "Muerte" from their 2000 album Violent by Design. Their 2003 album Visions of Gandhi contains an interlude called "Pity of War" which includes quotes from Wilfred Owen.
In David Hare's play "The Vertical Hour" (2006), the character Oliver (played by Bill Nighy on Broadway), extols Wilfred Owen as one of the few legitimate sources of British patriotism. The Sex Pistols is another.
In Kasabian's video for "Empire" the quote "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" is used in the final shot.
The title of a song by the Australian band TISM on their 1991 EP Gentlemen, Start Your Egos was "Gas! Gas! An Ecstasy Of Fumbling", referring to "Dulce et Decorum Est". It is about a man trying to gas himself and a woman to death in a car, saying of the smell, "Don't worry, baby, it must be the area". It contains the chorus, "C'mon baby let me drive you home, I'm as sensitive as Wilfred Owen".
Wilfred Owen was mentioned in the Marvel Comics event: Civil War.
Wilfred Owen was mentioned in The History Boys by Rudge when he said: "I did all the other stuff like Stalin was a sweetie and Wilfred Owen was a wuss. "
An excerpt from Owen's poem "The Next War" was used in a Halo 3 promotional video that aired on September 14th 2007 as part of Bungie's "Believe" ad campaign.
Benjamin Britten incorporated nine Owen poems into his War Requiem, opus 66, along with words from the Latin Mass for the Dead (Missa pro Defunctis). The Requiem was commissioned for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral, and first performed there on 30 May 1962. The work was recorded in 1963 by Decca, featuring Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Britten, The Bach Choir, the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Highgate School Choir, Simon Preston, organist, and the Melos Ensemble. ````Rood Andersson, 24 December 2007

[edit] References
^ Graves, Robert Goodbye To All That: An Autobiography, NY 1929 ("Owen was an idealistic homosexual"); 1st ed only: quote subsequently excised. See: Cohen, Joseph Conspiracy of Silence,New York Review of Books, Vol22 No19 [1]
^ Hibbard,Dominic, The Truth Untoldp513
^ Hibberd, Dominic. Wilfred Owen, The Truth Untold (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2002) ISBN 0460879219 pxxii
^ Fussell, Paul.The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford University Press, 2000) ISBN 0195133315 p286
^ Owen, Wilfred. The Complete Poems and Fragments, by Wilfred Owen; edited by Jon Stallworthy (W. W. Norton, 1984) ISBN 0-393-01830-X)
^ Caesar, Adrian. Taking It Like a Man: Suffering, Sexuality and the War Poets (Manchester University Press, 1993) ISBN 0719038340 pp1-256
^ Hibberd, ibid. p337,375
^ Hoare, Philip. Oscar Wilde's Last Stand: decadence, conspiracy, and the most outrageous trial of the century(Arcade Publishing,1998) ISBN 1559704233 p24
^ Hibberd, ibid, p20
^ Wilfred Owen's grave
^ http://www.1914-18.co.uk/owen/pictures/doveatgailly.JPG
^ http://www.1914-18.co.uk/owen/pictures/wfa%20memorial%20large.JPG
^ http://www.1914-18.co.uk/owen/pictures/oswestry%20memorial%20text.JPG
^ http://www.1914-18.co.uk/owen/pictures/Shrewsbury%20memorial.JPG
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Wilfred OwenMeredith Martin, "Therapeutic Measures: The Hydra and Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital" in Modernism/Modernity 14.1 (January 2007), 35-54.
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