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Graham Greene

Biography

Graham Greene has himself called his fictions entertainments. In other words, he did not believe that his work should be taken too seriously. Many critics have tried to prove him wrong by pointing out how wonderful his work is. Frankly, I have to disagree with Greene. He is a very fine writer. He does tell a good, entertaining story. Sometimes, when he tries to be serious – The Power and the Glory (US: The Labyrinthine Ways) comes to mind – he tends to fall on his face. But, in many of his novels, he shows that he was one of the pre-eminent serious English novelists of the twentieth century. He has written two great twentieth century love stories in The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. In The Quiet American, he brilliantly showed the insidious nature of the United States’ idea of freedom, which would give us Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq 1 and 2, Dick Cheney and the subversion of numerous countries around the world. He wrote about the international (as opposed to national) high financier (England Made Me) before it was a generalised topic and he wrote about it very intelligently. He wrote good vs evil stories that worked and did not sound religious. He wrote stories about guilt that worked and did not sound religious. He wrote about alienation and people struggling to cope out of their environment. When Golding won the Nobel Prize, many suggested that Greene should have won it. They were, of course, right. Yes, his books were entertainments but they were also great works.

Graham Greene was born in Berkhamsted in 1904. His father was headmaster of Berkhamsted School, which Greene attended before going to Oxford. He was mercilessly teased at Berkhamsted as his father was headmaster and nearly committed suicide on more than one occasion. He started writing while at Oxford and published his first work – a poetry collection – in his last year there. After Oxford, he went to work as a journalist (for The Times ) and converted to Catholicism. The following year he married Vivien Dayrell-Browning and, two years later, his first novel was published to critical acclaim. Though his next two books did not do well, he had huge success with Stamboul Train (US: The Orient Express) . As well as writing books, he also started reviewing films, where he had a successful career. He also started travelling and used his travels as a basis for both his novels and travel books.

In 1941 he joined the Secret Intelligence Service and was sent to Sierra Leone. In 1943 he transferred to Counter Intelligence, Portugal, where his boss was Kim Philby, who became his good friend. After the War, he collaborated with Carol Reed on The Third Man. He continued to travel extensively and lived abroad. He separated from his wife in 1948. He died in Vevey, Switzerland in 1991.

Books about Graham Greene

Leopoldo Duran: Graham Greene: Friend and Brother
Richard Greene (ed.): Graham Greene: A Life in Letters
Anthony Mockler: Graham Greene: Three Lives
Peter Mudford: Graham Greene
Michael Shelden: Graham Greene: The Man Within
Michael Shelden: Graham Greene: The Enemy Within
Norman Sherry: The Life of Graham Greene
W J West: The Quest for Graham Greene

Other links

Graham Greene
Graham Greene
Graham Greene
Graham Greene
Shades of Greene
Graham Greene, The Major Novels: A Centenary
The Graham Greene Birthplace Trust
Featured Author: Graham Greene
Graham Greene Reviews (lots of links to reviews and other Greene-related sites)
Graham Greene & Achill Island
Graham Greene finds no Swiss cuckoo clocks
Unfinished Graham Greene murder mystery novel discovered
Graham Greene’s Vatican Dossier
Graham Greene: Doubter Par Excellence
The Literary and Political Catholicism of Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh
‘Altogether Adverse’ (on the Holy See’s denunciation of The Power and the Glory (US: The Labyrinthine Ways))
Interview
Interview

Bibliography

1925 Babbling April
1929 The Man Within
1930 The Name of Action
1932 Rumour At Nightfall
1932 Stamboul Train (US: The Orient Express)
1934 It’s a Battlefield
1935 England Made Me (US: The Shipwrecked)
1935 The Bear Fell Free
1936 A Gun for Sale (US: This Gun For Hire)
1936 Journey without Maps
1938 Brighton Rock
1939 The Confidential Agent
1939 The Lawless Roads (US: Another Mexico)
1940 The Power and the Glory (US: The Labyrinthine Ways)
1942 British Dramatists
1943 The Ministry of Fear
1946 The Little Train
1948 The Heart of the Matter
1948 Why Do I Write: An Exchange of Views between Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene and V. S. Pritchett
1949 After Two Years
1950 A Sense of Reality: A Collection of Short Stories
1950 The Little Fire Engine
1950 The Third Man
1951 The End of the Affair
1951 For Christmas
1952 The Little Horse Bus
1954 Twenty-One Stories
1955 Loser Takes All
1955 Nineteen Stories: Passion, Suspense and Violence
1955 The Quiet American
1958 Our Man in Havana
1960 A Burnt-Out Case
1961 In Search of a Character: Two African Journals
1966 The Comedians
1967 May We Borrow Your Husband?: And Other Comedies of the Sexual Life
1969 Collected Essays
1969 Travels with My Aunt
1971 A Sort of Life
1972 Pleasure Dome: The Collected Film Criticism 1935-40
1973 The Honorary Consul
1975 The Return Of A. J. Raffles
1977 Selected Works
1978 The Human Factor
1980 Doctor Fischer of Geneva: or The Bomb Party
1980 Ways of Escape
1982 Monsignor Quixote
1984 Getting to Know the General
1985 The Tenth Man
1987 Collected Short Stories
1988 The Captain and the Enemy
1990 The Last Word: And Other Stories
1990 Reflections 1923-88
2002 The Collected Plays
2005 No Man’s Land