Article Title

Time and Memory in Pinter's Proust Screenplay


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Those of us who have watched Pinter develop a personal style dramatizing the effects Time works on the shape of Memmory are not at all surprised by his attraction to Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu as raw material for cinematic adaptation. What is surprising, however, is his admission that he had read only Du Côté de Chez Swann, the first volume of the work, before he embarked on this project.1 For Pinter's theater has long been engaged in what we might be tempted to call a Proustian fascination with recapturing the past. On stage Pinter's characters habitually struggle to recreate a past which they say they can remember-a past which exists on stage in that hazy realm somewhere between imagination and reality. ''That imagining," the playwright has said with particular reference to Old Times, "is as true as real."2 How Pinter came to write the Proust screenplay and how he reworked Proust's grand design into a bold cinematic reduction offer us a new study in literary relationship, for the adaptation through condensation has important implications as it bears on Pinter's work as a whole.

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