Divided between a flat in London’s Belgravia and a flat in Chelsea, the play focuses on two couples, James and his wife, Stella, and Bill and his friend, Harry. Stella returns from her dress collection in Leeds to tell James that she has been unfaithful. James confronts Bill, pressing for the truth, already determined to believe the worst. Bill confesses that he and Stella had only talked about spending the night together. It had amused him to perpetuate Stella's story to hurt Harry. Is this the truth? Stella is silent. The television version was first produced in 1961 by Associated-Rediffusion.
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Date of Composition: 1961
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In The Collection Pinter establishes a narrative event where Bill and Stella may or may not have slept together in a hotel in Leeds. There is no indication or clue as to any location for Pinter's Leeds hotel.
The location of Bill and Harry's house in The Collection. James and Stella live in nearby (an less up-market in 1960s Britain) Chelsea.
Pinter moved here with his wife and son in the summer of 1960, following the success of The Caretaker. They lived here until 1963.
Published in The Collection and The Lover [also The Examination]. Second edition published 23/7/64, paperback edition published 17/3/66.
Published in The Collection and The Lover
The summary of the play is taken and adapted from Samuel French Publisher's website.