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

By Bernard Bergonzi | Go to book overview

7
The Greene Man

GREENE liked putting the word 'man' in his titles: The Man Within, The Third Man, Our Man in Havana, The Tenth Man, No Man's Land. In this spirit Marie-Françoise Allain called her collection of interviews with him The Other Man and the first chapter 'The Secret Man'. I continue the tradition in the title of this chapter, which gestures towards Greene's interest in things that are green, and in persons named Green or Greene. Specifically, it recalls the Green Man, the pub in It's a Battlefield where Conder meets the policeman Patmore. Maurice Bendrix is the first of the clearly identifiable Greene Men, though there are hints of them in D. and Arthur Rowe and Henry Scobie. Indeed, Norman Sherry, who loses no opportunity to identify Greene and his characters, remarks exaggeratedly that Scobie 'is almost a clone of Greene himself'. Like many of Greene's characters, Scobie is deeply weary and longs for peace; but he lacks the world-weariness, the cynicism, the experience with women, and the sexual jealousy that belongs to the fully-formed Greene Man. I am indebted to Sherry for pointing me towards this concept, even though I deplore his readiness to reduce novels to the raw material of biography. He is specific and comprehensive in his identifications: 'Morin is Greene. Querry is Greene'. 'Greene is Bendrix; Greene is Brown … '. 'Plarr … is yet another of Greene's burnt-out cases'.1 Greene would not have liked any of this; he hotly contested Evelyn Waugh's assumption that Querry's spiritual

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vi
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Obsessions and Jokes 12
  • 2: Into the Thirties 22
  • 3: Entertainments 61
  • 4: Brighton 80
  • 5: Mexico 103
  • 6: A Catholic Novelist? 117
  • 7: The Greene Man 142
  • 8: Manic Interludes 167
  • 9: Last Words 174
  • Books by Graham Greene 190
  • Index 193
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