Graham Greene

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Greene, Graham

Greene, Graham (Henry Graham Greene), 1904–91, English novelist and playwright. Although most of his works combine elements of the detective story, the spy thriller, and the psychological drama, his novels are essentially parables of the damned. Greene's heroes realize their sins and achieve salvation only through great pain and soul-searching agony. A Roman Catholic convert (1926), he was intensely concerned with the moral problems of humans in relation to God. Some of his 26 novels have been ranked as thrillers, and Greene himself called such works as Stamboul Train (1932; U.S. title, Orient Express) and The Ministry of Fear (1943) “entertainments” to distinguish them from his more serious efforts. His major works, which include Brighton Rock (1938), The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948), and The End of the Affair (1951), mark him as a novelist of high distinction.

Greene was a superb journalist, a sometime British spy, and a world traveler, often courting danger in various international wars and revolutions and participating in local high and low life in dozens of famous and obscure corners of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Many of his novels are set in locations with which he had personal experience, sites often of topical journalistic interest: The Quiet American (1955) a prescient account of early American involvement in Vietnam; Our Man in Havana (1958), set in Cuba; A Burnt-Out Case (1961), in the Belgian Congo just before its independence; The Comedians (1966), in François Duvalier's Haiti; and The Captain and the Enemy (1980), in Panama. His fine sense of comedy is displayed in the short-story collection May We Borrow Your Husband? (1967) and the novel Travels with My Aunt (1969). Greene also wrote several plays, including The Living Room (1953) and The Potting Shed (1957), both thinly disguised religious dramas, and The Complaisant Lover (1959), a witty and intelligent play about marriage and infidelity. He also is noted for his essays, travel books, film criticism, and film scripts, including the mystery melodrama The Third Man (1950).


See his autobiographies (1971, 1980) and his posthumously published A World of My Own: A Dream Diary (1995); S. Hazzard, Greene on Capri: A Memoir (2000); R. Greene, ed., Graham Greene: A Life in Letters (2008); biographies by M. Shelden (1994) and N. Sherry (3 vol., 1989–2004); studies by H. J. Donaghy (1983), A. A. De Vitis (1986), and J. Meyers, ed. (1990).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Greene, Graham


Born Oct. 2, 1904. in London. English author.

Greene studied at Oxford University. His novels are permeated with meditations on people who have been maimed by social conditions (England Made Me, 1935). The sincere nobility of his heroes contrasts with the heartlessness of adherents of morals and religion (The Power and the Glory, 1940; The Heart of the Matter, 1948. Russian translation. 1960). In The Quiet American (1955, Russian translation 1959), which is set in Vietnam, and Our Man in Havana (1958, Russian translation. 1959) Greene exposes US imperialist policies. The Comedians (1966, Russian translation, 1966) is filled with an angry condemnation of the fascist dictatorship in Haiti. In A Burnt-out Case (1961, Russian translation, 1964), Greene showed the self-sacrifice of the staff of a hospital for lepers. Greene visited the USSR in 1957 and 1960.


Works, vols. 1–4. London, 1939–55.
Collected Essays. London, 1969.
Travels With My Aunt. London, 1969. In Russian translation:Puteshestvie bez karty. Moscow, 1961.


Palievskii, P. “Fantomy.” Novyi mir, 1962, no. 6.
Ivasheva, V. V. “Grem Grin.” In her Angliiskaia literatura:XXvek. Moscow, 1967.
De Vitis, A. G. Greene. New York, 1964. (Contains a bibliography.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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According to Hull, British writer Graham Greenes unplanned visit to Havana inspired him "to resurrect a decade-old outline for an espionage story." Hull's book has a greater scope than the title might suggest, tracing the historical context of the tensions between East and West, love, capitalism, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, inter alia.
Combining biography, history, and politics, "Our Man Down in Havana: The Story Behind Graham Greene's Cold War Spy Novel" by Christopher Hull, PhD, (who is the Senior Lecturer in Spanish & Latin American Studies at the University of Chester, England) investigates the real story behind Greene's fictional one.
El substrato teologico en la obra de Graham Greene. Madrid: n.p.
(7) Bergonzi writes that "the tone and attitude to religion in A Burnt-Out Case are wholly different, so much so that Evelyn Waugh assumed with some distress that it indicated a loss of faith on Greene's part, an assumption that Greene denied strongly" ("Graham Greene at Eighty" 777).
Tickets for the twocourse lunch with Rosie Goodwin are PS10.95, while tickets for the two-course supper at An Evening with Our Man In Havana: A Feast Of Graham Greene are PS18.95.
In establishing conclusively the primacy of Roman Catholicism in Greene's intellectual and imaginative vision, Graham Greene: Fictions, Faith and Authorship provides clarity and direction for future critics.
Although The Man Within My Head centers on Graham Greene, Iyer is largely uninterested in the biographical details of Greene's life, which, the critics agreed, makes the book difficult to classify: "part memoir, part travelogue, part ...
He settled in Greece in the 1960s and became renowned as a travel writer, once described as a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene.
Summary: Graham Greene's 1938 novel Brighton Rock has been made into a film for a second time.
Graham Greene's brilliant 1938 study of a murderous boy gangster receives ineffectual screen treatment in this 1964-set version of "Brighton Rock." Despite its vibrant evocation of the English seaside town where Greene set his tale of reckless youth, sexual dysfunction and what he called "the appalling strangeness of God's mercy," writer-director Rowan Joffe's first feature never shakes off the feel of a telepic with above-average production values, and its unsteady lead performances and often garish stylistic touches make a muddle of the source material's psychological acuity.