2008_12_hpinter.jpgHarold Pinter, the influential British playwright whose works earned him a Nobel Prize in 2005, died in London at age 78. He had been suffering from cancer of the esophagus since 2002. The NY Times writes his "gifts for finding the ominous in the everyday and the noise within silence made him the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation." His most famous plays include The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, The Servant and Betrayal, and the Times of London explained his work "introduced a new word to the English language – Pinteresque – to convey an atmospheric silence." (More about Pinteresque, the adjective, here.) Kenneth Tynan once wrote, "Mr. Pinter is a superb manipulator of language, which he sees not as a bridge that brings people together but as a barrier that keeps them apart. Ideas and emotions, in the larger sense, are not his province; he plays with words, and he plays on our nerves, and it is thus that he grips us."