BORN: October 2, 1904, Berkhamsted, England
DIED: April 3, 1991, Vevey, Switzerland
IDENTIFICATION: Twentieth-century English prose writer best known for novels that combine elements of the detective or spy story with the complexities of moral struggle. Many of his novels and stories have been made into films, for some of which Greene himself wrote the screenplays.
SIGNIFICANCE: Called by some a Catholic novelist because he often clothes the struggles of his protagonists in Catholic imagery, Greene writes of people who grapple with the dark side of their consciousness and the bleakness of modern life. Nearly defeated by their divided selves, they manage to hold on to their belief in the necessity of both love and faith. Popular for more than 50 years, Greenes work, from Brighton Rock (1938) to The Captain and the Enemy (1988), has also been regarded seriously by literary critics.