8 Pages

Harold Pinter in New York

Back in November 1961, T. S. Eliot appeared at what was then called the "Lexington Avenue Y." He was the reigning laureate of contemporary letters, an artist secure of his place in literary history--a longtime master of his art and, on this night, of his audience. He confessed early faux pas ("Criticizing Milton as I did was just symptomatic of a young man hiding behind his typewriter") and recited The Waste Land. The audience was entirely forgiving of what he called his "youthful indiscretions" and utterly appreciative of his exalted presence and the fact that he was sharing his life with them.