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PINERO (PINHEIROS), ARTHUR WING:

English dramatist; born in London May 24, 1855; eldest son of John Daniel Pinero. He is descended from a Sephardic family. As a boy Pinero was articled to a firm of solicitors; and while in their office he absorbed much of that knowledge of human nature and human emotions which has made his productions famous.

The law, however, had few attractions for him, and in 1874 he joined the company of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, being engaged as "general utility man." Two years later he went to the Lyceum, London, where he gained invaluable experience in stagecraft under (Sir) Henry Irving. As an actor Pinero was not successful, and he soon turned his thoughts to play-writing. In 1877 he wrote in a single afternoon "Two Hundred a Year," which was produced at the Globe Theatre with some measure of success. Soon afterward "The Money Spinners," written with almost equal rapidity, was produced at the St. James's by John Hare and the Kendalls and made a great hit (1880). He then produced in ten days "Lords and Commons," following it with "The Magistrate," which made Pinero famous and established his reputation on a firm foundation.

His literary activity has been remarkable and unflagging; and "The Schoolmistress," "The Squire," "Dandy Dick" (written in three weeks), "The Rocket," and "The Hobby Horse" appeared successively at short intervals. Then came his first real success, "Sweet Lavender," a play redolent with pathos and sweetness. Subsequently the influence of Ibsen began to make itself felt in Pinero's work, after he had written "The Profligate," "The Weaker Sex," "The Cabinet Minister," "The Times," "The Amazons," and "Lady Bountiful." "The Second Mrs. Tanqueray" was distinctly in Ibsen's manner; it was succeeded by "The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith," followed, in the same style, by "The Benefit of the Doubt" and "The Princess and the Butterfly."

In 1898 Pinero, reverting to his earlier models, produced "Trelawny of the Wells." He returned to the problem play in "The Gay Lord Quex" (1899), followed by "Iris" (1901) and "Letty" (1903), of the same class.

Bibliography:
  • The Critic, xxxvii. 117;
  • Cassell's Magazine, xxviii. 354;
  • Pall Mall Magazine, July, 1900, p. 331;
  • Who's Who, 1904.
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