Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the writer Graham Greene. For the Canadian actor, see Graham Greene (actor).
Life and work
He was born Henry Graham Greene in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, where his father was headmaster of Berkhamsted School, which he attended. He went on to Balliol College, Oxford, and his first work (a volume of poetry) was published in 1925, while he was an undergraduate. In his autobiography, he gives many details of his difficult childhood. After graduation, he took up a career in journalism. He became a Catholic in 1926, due to his love story with the Catholic convert Vivien Daryell-Browning, whom he married in 1927. Amongst other things, he was a film critic, until he caused the shutdown of the magazine for which he worked by getting it involved in a libel action as a result of a comment he made about Shirley Temple.
His novels are written in a contemporary realistic style, often featuring characters troubled by self-doubt and living in seedy or rootless circumstances. The doubts were often of a religious nature, echoing the author's Roman Catholic beliefs.
Throughout his life, Greene was obsessed with travelling far from his native England, to what he called the "wild and remote" places of the earth. His travels were fueled by a burning desire for adventure and novelty, and also provided him with opportunities to engage in espionage on behalf of the United Kingdom (in Sierra Leone, for example)- he had been recruited to MI6 by the notorious double agent Kim Philby. He reworked the colorful and exciting characters and places he encountered into the fabric of his novels.
Greene's books were originally divided into thrillers, mystery/suspense books that he himself cast as "entertainments" but which often included a notable philosophical edge, and the high literary books such as The Power and the Glory, on which his reputation was thought to be based. As his career lengthened, however, Greene and his readers both found the "entertainments" to be of nearly as high a value as the literary efforts, and Greene's later efforts such as The Human Factor , The Comedians , Our Man in Havana and The Quiet American combine these modes into works of remarkable insight and compression.
October 2004 saw the publication of the third and final volume of The Life of Graham Greene by Norman Sherry, Greene's official biographer. The writing of this biography created a story in itself in that Sherry followed in Greene's footsteps, even coming down with diseases that Greene had come down with in the same place. Sherry's work reveals that Greene, a sometime spy in his younger days, continued to submit reports to British intelligence until the end of his life. This has led scholars and Greene's reading public to entertain the provocative question, "Was Greene a novelist who was also a spy, or was his lifelong literary career the perfect cover?"
- Babbling April 1925
- The Man Within 1929
- The Name of Action 1930
- Rumour at Nightfall 1932
- Stamboul Train 1932
- It's a Battlefield 1934
- England Made Me 1935
- A Gun for Sale 1936
- Brighton Rock 1938
- The Confidential Agent 1939
- The Power and the Glory 1940
- The Ministry of Fear 1943
- The Heart of the Matter 1948
- The Third Man 1950 for a film by Carol Reed)
- The End of the Affair 1951
- The Quiet American 1955
- Loser Takes All 1955
- Our Man in Havana 1958
- A Burnt-Out Case 1960
- The Comedians 1965
- Travels with My Aunt 1969
- The Honorary Consul 1973
- The Human Factor 1978
- Doctor Fischer of Geneva 1980
- Monsignor Quixote 1982
- The Tenth Man 1985
- The Captain and the Enemy 1988
- A Sort of Life 1971 (autobiography)
- Ways of Escape 1980 (autobiography)
- A World of My Own 1992 (dream diary, posthumously published)
- The Living Room 1953
- The Potting Shed 1957
- The Complaisant Lover 1959
- Carving a Statue 1964
- The Return of A.J.Raffles 1975
- The Great Jowett 1981
- Yes and No 1983
- For Whom the Bell Chimes 1983
- Introduction to My Silent War, by Kim Philby, 1968, British Intelligence traitor, mole for Soviets
- Sherry, Norman (1989-2004), The life of Graham Greene: vol. 1 1904-1939 (ISBN 0224026542), vol. 2 1939-1955 (ISBN 0224027727), vol. 3 1955-1991 (ISBN 0670031429).
- Greeneland: the world of Graham Greene
- A Review of Graham Greene's "Lawless Roads"
- The Graham Greene Birthplace Trust
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