The Pursuit of Salvation: A Critical Guide to the Novels of Graham Greene

The Pursuit of Salvation: A Critical Guide to the Novels of Graham Greene

The Pursuit of Salvation: A Critical Guide to the Novels of Graham Greene

The Pursuit of Salvation: A Critical Guide to the Novels of Graham Greene

Synopsis

This study guide and critical analysis offers a thematic reading of Graham Greene as a writer in pursuit of salvation. Included is a literary chronology, extensive references to other critical studies, and a selected bibliography.

Excerpt

Near the end of The Other Man, a book-length interview published when he was approaching his eightieth birthday, Graham Greene expressed the startling thought that he was a failure. After publishing more than forty books, he still didn't think any of them were "very good," and his talent, he believed, hadn't actually reached the point of exceptional productivity. Was he perhaps asking too much of himself, or was he being too modest? No, Greene told his interviewer, he was merely being realistic. He was a "good enough writer," but he didn't belong "among the giants." Because Greene is by nature a highly controversial and paradoxical writer, his reputation will no doubt be debated by critics for many years to come. Based on my reading, however, I would say that he has certainly underestimated his achievement. When the literary history of our age is finally written, Greene is bound to figure prominently for at least two reasons. One is that his novels have led a counter-revolution against the modernist tradition which dominated fiction during the earlier part of the century. the other is that Greene has become the most eloquent voice of the anguished fears and hopes characterizing his time. It's the recognition of these factors, along with the awareness that he had established a distinctly personal world of fiction, which drew me to Greene, and eventually prompted this book.

While writing this book, I had valuable assistance and encouragement from some of my colleagues. Joseph Schwartz, the editor of Renascence, encouraged me to continue my research after publishing an early essay of mine on Greene. Charles Rose made several useful suggestions about how I might organize my discussion more effectively. Edwin T. Arnold helped me to smooth over certain rough spots in the manuscript. Karen Carmean was very generous in her willingness to debate the most difficult questions about Greene and then to go over the manuscript with a critical eye. For all this help, I am very grateful.

I am also thankful to the following publishers for granting . . .

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