A Study in Greene: Graham Greene and the Art of the Novel

A Study in Greene: Graham Greene and the Art of the Novel

A Study in Greene: Graham Greene and the Art of the Novel

A Study in Greene: Graham Greene and the Art of the Novel

Excerpt

I have been reading Graham Greene all my adult life—I still have the original edition of The End of the Affair that I bought when it appeared in 1951—and have been writing about him for many years. Some time ago I realized that I had accumulated enough essays and reviews on him and his work to make into a short book. When I went over this material, though, it was evident that it would need more attention for anything coherent to be made of it, and I was disinclined to make the effort; as much as anything because I realized that I had never properly made up my mind about aspects of Greene. Then I was provoked by the publications and discussions that marked the centenary of his birth in 2004. I disagreed with much of what was said, but it was a creative disagreement that gave me some fresh ideas and led me to write the present study, which is a new (and, I hope, original) work, though some of it draws on previously published writing. A lot of the centenary material was of a promotional kind, even if it appeared as literary journalism, acclaiming Greene as a great British novelist and a national asset, who had achieved a global reputation (and there are not many modern English writers of whom that can be said). This praise was echoed by some of Greene's co-religionists, who, after swallowing hard, acclaimed him as a great Catholic novelist.

The most substantial publication of the year was the third and final volume of Norman Sherry's huge biography of Greene, of which the first volume had come out in 1989. Since Greene's . . .

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