My research offers an analysis of a selection of Harold Pinter’s plays and poetry from 1958 until 2000, in relation to the notion of ‘mental disintegration,’ as evidenced between several characters and to explore the relationship between the themes of power and agency and his later political activism.
The study includes the social and cultural background of the 1950’s in which Pinter commenced his professional writing, through to the ‘swinging 1960’s and his slow but developing career.
Pinter’s Jewish heritage, despite his faith lapsing, played a role in his work, as he felt the pain of persecution growing up and there is evidence of differing types of persecution and mental disintegration within his work, some of which he would have suffered himself.
The study aims to closely link Pinter’s history and past with regard to the fact that he was a victim of persecution, to his professional work through the form of selected characters, who are victims of ‘mental disintegration’, perpetuated by others in the plays selected.
The research considers the relationship between the ‘mental disintegration’ and themes of power and agency which are evident within Pinter’s work.
From 1984 onwards, after a short fallow period, Pinter adopted a different style, which was overtly political, where it will be argued that Pinter’s worldwide reputation now provided the greatest platform for his political activism.
In undertaking the research, the study can draw from methodology based upon the work of Freud and Jung to engage with notions of authority and power.
My research charts Pinter’s professional journey where he is simply castigated and heavily lambasted by the critics early in his career to the point when he is one of the world’s most revered playwrights, but also seeks to find solutions from different sources as to the meaning of several texts with reference to mental disintegration and the ensuing political activism towards the end of his career. The period between the 1950s through the important 1960s and the overt shift in the 1980s demonstrate how profound these periods were not just in relation to what was happening politically in the world, but for his professional work too.
Ultimately, this study demonstrates how important the relationships are between power, mental disintegration and political activism, through the vehicle of literature.
Bachelor, For Services to Education (Honoris causa), Roehampton University
1 Jun 2017
Award Date: 1 Jun 2017
Master, School Improvement & Effectiveness, University of Sussex
1 Oct 1996 → 1 Jun 1998
Award Date: 1 Jun 1998
Bachelor, English; History of Art, The Open University
1 Oct 1980 → 30 Jun 1983
Award Date: 30 Jun 1983
1 Jul 2017
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