Sweden British playwright Harold Pinter, who juxtaposed the brutal and the banal in such works as "The Caretaker" and "The Birthday Party" and made an art form out of spare language and unbearable silence, won the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday.
Pinter "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms," the Swedish Academy said. The chilling, understated style of his work even inspired an adjective all his own: Pinteresque.
"I feel quite overwhelmed," Pinter, 75, said outside his London home. "I had absolutely no idea."
He said he was "speechless" when told he had won, but added: "I have to stop being speechless when I get to Stockholm."
Starting with his breakthrough play, "The Caretaker," Pinter codified a style in the 1950s and '60s of verbal evasion and violence, menace both spoken and not. His influence has been felt throughout British literature, and across the ocean in the work of American playwrights Sam Shepard and David Mamet.
His other works include "The Room" and "The Dumb Waiter."