The Pinter elite and the elite Pinter

Hudson, James (2018) The Pinter elite and the elite Pinter. In: Staging Pinter: Networks, Collaborators, Legacies, 6-7 April 2018, University of Birmingham.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


On 27 October 2017 a letter that Harold Pinter had written to Tom Stoppard in 2001 went ‘viral’ on Twitter, with Pinter’s rebuff that he would ‘rather die’ than attend a fundraising dinner at a ‘top London restaurant’ attracting over 18,000 ‘likes’. Though many clearly identified with his characteristic frankness, Pinter’s great success nevertheless did afford him access to privilege, the amplification of his voice and the opportunity to breathe rarefied social air; it is unlikely that his description of having lunch at Buckingham Palace, as recounted to Mel Gussow, would have resonated as strongly on twitter. In a world where recent ‘populist’ electoral successes in the UK and US have been claimed by Left and Right alike as blows struck against remote and unaccountable elites, this paper asks what Pinter’s plays can tell us about elite behaviour and society. With the representation of class dynamics in Pinter’s theatrical oeuvre a gradual abandonment of lower-class scenarios for milieus of comfortable affluence, this paper analyses the political, artistic and academic elites of Pinter’s Betrayal, Party Time, No Man’s Land and The Homecoming to examine how notions of legitimation and authority traverse lines associated with class, professional merit and social prestige, and speculating as to what extent these depictions are suggestive of Pinter’s ambivalence about his own elite status.

Keywords:Harold Pinter, Elites, Bourdieu, neo-liberalism
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
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ID Code:31594
Deposited On:10 Apr 2018 08:11

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