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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).
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.
WORKSWorks, vols. 1–4. London, 1939–55.
Collected Essays. London, 1969.
Travels With My Aunt. London, 1969. In Russian translation:Puteshestvie bez karty. Moscow, 1961.
REFERENCESPalievskii, 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.)
E. V. KORNILOV