I suggested earlier in this study that a necessary development in Graham Greene's first-phase novels had been an increase in the apparent distance between author and protagonist that enabled Greene to achieve mastery in rendering a world that had an adequately solid existence outside his own mind. A corresponding necessity in the second phase was to bring the writer himself back into that world so that both his presence within it and his artistic responses to it could become part of his subject.
The second-phase novels from The Confidential Agent to A Burnt-Out Case had in varying degrees blurred the distinctions between the writer and his protagonist, and the four novels discussed here as “portraits of the artist” had treated thematically the problematic relationship of the writer to subjects and audiences, the moral costs of artistic objectivity or detachment, and the lingering, persistent evidence of misgivings about the ability to give truthful expression-whether in Bendrix's novels, Querry's churches, or Brown's fevered fantasies-to the human personality. Taken as serious meditations upon personal and professional crises, these novels suggest an impressive measure of self-scrutiny transmuted successfully into art. Many of their concerns can be heard in a minor key in Travels with My Aunt. For example, Henry Pulling remarks tellingly that he has read, in a book on Dickens, “that an author must not be attached to his characters, he must treat them without mercy. In the act of creation there is always, it seems, an awful selfishness. So Dickens's wife and mistress had to suffer so that Dickens