Harold Pinter: The Theatre of Power

Overview

The latest volume in the Michigan Modern Dramatists series offers an authoritative but accessible look at Harold Pinter, one of the greatest and most influential postwar British playwrights and author of classic works such as The Birthday Party and The Homecoming. Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 for his remarkable body of work and plays that "uncover the precipice under everyday prattle and force entry into oppression's closed rooms."

Harold Pinter: The...

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Overview

The latest volume in the Michigan Modern Dramatists series offers an authoritative but accessible look at Harold Pinter, one of the greatest and most influential postwar British playwrights and author of classic works such as The Birthday Party and The Homecoming. Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 for his remarkable body of work and plays that "uncover the precipice under everyday prattle and force entry into oppression's closed rooms."

Harold Pinter: The Theatre of Power focuses on the playwright's continuously innovative experiments in theatrical form while tracing the recurrence of a consistent set of ethical and epistemological concerns. Exploring important plays from across this prolific writer’s career, author Robert Gordon argues that the motivating force in almost all of Pinter's drama is the ceaseless desire for power, represented in his work as a compulsive drive to achieve or maintain dominance---whether it be the struggle to defend one's own territory from intruders, the father's battle with his sons to assert his patriarchal position in the family, the manipulation of erotic feelings in the gender warfare that motivates sexual relationships, the abuse of brute force by dictatorships and democracies, or simply the masculine obsession to dominate. Gordon demonstrates the adventurousness of Pinter's experimentation with form while at the same time exposing the ethical, epistemological, and aesthetic preoccupations that have persisted with remarkable consistency throughout his career.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
"[Gordon's book] is an enlightening examination of Pinter's obsession with power in both the personal and political spheres, from the intimate struggles for power in parent-child and marital relationships to the oppressive force of dictatorships."
---Times Literary Supplement
Comparative Drama - William Hutchings

"Gordon's Harold Pinter: The Theater of Power ... is both a deft homage and a useful guidebook to Pinter's now-complete oeuvre, written by an eminently authoritative, unabashed admirer of the plays."
---Comparative Drama
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472071241
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2012
  • Series: Michigan Modern Dramatists
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Gordon is Professor of Drama and Director of the Pinter Centre for Research in Writing and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London. His other books include The Purpose of Playing: Modern Acting Theories in Perspective.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Understanding Pinter's Drama 1

Chapter 1 Territorial Imperatives: The Room 12

Chapter 2 Questions of Authority: The Dumb Waiter, The Birthday Party 25

Chapter 3 Questions of Identity: The Caretaker 49

Chapter 4 Family Voices: The Homecoming 69

Chapter 5 New Conceptions of Gender and Memory: Landscape, Old Times 89

Chapter 6 Ghost Lives: No Man's Land 107

Chapter 7 "The Art of Taking Away": Betrayal 124

Chapter 8 States of Catatonia: Family Voices, A Kind of Alaska, Moonlight 142

Chapter 9 The New World Order: One for the Road, Mountain Language, Party Time 162

Chapter 10 A Postmodern Aesthetics of Power: Ashes to Ashes, Celebration 181

Chronology 195

Notes 197

Bibliography 209

Index 213

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