Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Pinter. Huh. I tell people that I don't like theater, that the only playwrights whose work I'll go see are Shakespeare and Beckett, but, as the tramp says in "The Caretaker", "I used to go there quite a bit. (pause) (pause) (long pause). Oh, years ago now...." Harold Pinter was a great favorite of mine at one time, but you could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard he'd been awarded the Nobel Prize this year. You'd have to say that it is an eccentric choice, I think. Pinter's innovation was not so much in the use of language as in the incorporation of silence-- perhaps a trope he acquired from Beckett and applied in a more realistic setting. I think one of the criteria I'd use if I were picking Nobel laureates would be to ask, "Is this writer one of the best out there who hasn't been honored?" (This works for the Baseball Hall of Fame, too.) I don't know that I'd put Pinter on that list. Although his influence certainly can't be denied, the parade had probably already passed him by twenty five years ago.

Still, he is a major figure, and at least I've read him, which is more than I can say about a lot of the people who win this peculiar award.

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