Friday, April 07, 2006

Harold Pinter on characterisation

This is so good...

It's a strange moment, the moment of creating characters who up to that moment have had no existence. What follows is fitful, uncertain, even hallucinatory, although sometimes it can be an unstoppable avalanche. The author's position is an odd one. In a sense he is not welcomed by the characters. The characters resist him, they are not easy to live with, they are impossible to define. You certainly can't dictate to them. To a certain extent you play a never-ending game with them, cat and mouse, blind man's buff, hide and seek. But finally you find that you have people of flesh and blood on your hands, people with will and an individual sensibility of their own, made out of component parts you are unable to change, manipulate or distort.

The quote is from Pinter's acceptance speech for his 2005 Nobel prize for literature. Read the whole speech here. Amazing stuff. I was weaned onto modern literature in part with Pinter. Years later, and it's finally beginning to make sense to me. ;-)

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