Source AP ©

Harold Pinter's archive obtained by British Library

The archives of the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, including his correspondence with leading figures in theater and literature, have been acquired by the British Library, the institution announced Tuesday.

The library paid 1.1 million pounds (EUR1.5 million US$2.24 million) for the archive, which includes Pinter's collection of play scripts which has been on loan to the library since 1993.

The archive includes more than 150 boxes of manuscripts, scrapbooks, letters, photographs, programs and e-mails, and a draft of "The Queen of all the Fairies," an unpublished memoir of Pinter's youth, the library said.

"It is thrilling for the British Library to have acquired the archive of our greatest living playwright," said Jamie Andrews, head of the British Library's modern literary manuscripts collection.

"This is a wonderful collection that sheds new light on each stage of Harold Pinter's unparalleled career over the past 50 years, and we look forward to making the material accessible to researchers, and to playing our part in celebrating his life and work."

Among the highlights of the archive, the library said, are "an exceedingly perceptive and enormously affectionate run of letters from Samuel Beckett," letters and manuscripts from Pinter's work with director Joseph Losey, and correspondence with poet Philip Larkin.

A selection from the archive will be on display at the Library from Jan. 11 to April 13.

Pinter, 77, who is as well known for his strong political views as for his plays, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005.

A native of London, Pinter first gained attention as a writer with "The Birthday Party" (1957), in which the intruders Goldberg and McCann enter the retreat of Stanley, a young man who is hiding from childhood guilt.

The play established Pinter's dark style in which conversation - marked by long pauses - becomes an emotional battleground.

"The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear," Pinter has said.

"It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smokescreen which keeps the other in its true place."