We, by a love so much refined
We know not ourselves what it is,
Care less eyes, hands, and lips to miss.
-John Donne, “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”
“People go on loving God, don't they, all their lives without seeing Him?”
-Sarah, in The End of the Affair
In the letter to his publisher A.S. Frere which serves as a preface to The Comedians, Graham Greene wrote: “I want to make it clear that the narrator of this tale, though his name is Brown, is not Greene. Many readers assume-I know it from experience-that an 'I' is always the author. So in my time I have been considered the murderer of a friend, the jealous lover of a civil servant's wife, and an obsessive player at roulette. I don't wish to add to my chameleon-nature the characteristics belonging to the cuckolder of a South American diplomat, a possibly illegitimate birth and an education by the Jesuits” (5).
Whether cautioning the reader that Brown is not Greene, or asserting that the “Greeneland” so often discussed by critics is an observed world and not a landscape of the mind, or insisting that he was not a “Catholic writer” but a writer who happened to be Catholic, Greene could hardly have been more emphatic about the distinction between the writer's own