Graham Greene

Greeneland

The life and bibliography of Graham Greene….

Graham Greene (1904-1991) was an English novelist who became one of the 20th centuries literary greats with classic books such as Brighton Rock, The Heart of the  Matter, The Quiet American, The End of the Affair and The Power and The Glory to name but a few. An author who saw his work twice short-listed for the Nobel Prize for Literature and eight of his books turned into films.

He lead a remarkable life, lived and loved, battled his demons and grappled with his convictions throughout his writing. He travelled widely and often, he dabbled in the workings of British Intelligence, became a close friend of Kim Philby and played a small role in helping Castro’s revolutionaries in the final stages of their overthrow of the Batista regime in Cuba. He met the Pope, travelled to leper colonies in the Congo, reported on French rule in Vietnam in the 1950s, smoked opium and frequented brothels. He tormented those he felt deserving of it regardless of the potential risk and was happy to tell the world what he thought of them.

Religion played a huge role in Greene’s life, his two great tormentors were women and the Catholic Church and his fear of one cancelling out the other. These two elements provided Greene with the ammunition to write some of the great books of our time and the root of so many of his plots. But it was his writings on the Catholic Church which would heap both praise and criticism in equal measure. Greene had more than his share of critics, particularly amongst the literary elite and most especially from those who resisted criticism of their Catholic beliefs on any terms. Greene’s ability as a writer has long divided opinion but his success over six decades cannot be questioned along with his openness about male emotions which were rarely spoken of in Greene’s era. Here was a man who wrote with his heart on his sleeve, spoke about his depression and multiple suicide attempts and brought attention to the ties which bind when religion, love and sex attempt to coexist. Greene’s own fragility could be felt across the pages, he created contemptible downtrodden characters which were usually victims of a higher power in order to rail against his own personal bête noir’s, be it religion, capitalism or politics.

There are so many facets to Greene’s life story and over time I shall be looking at key moments which shaped his character and more especially, his novels. These shall feature as separate posts which are linked below and within the Graham Greene category whilst book and film reviews will accompany the bibliography below. Please click on highlighted titles for more information. Greene’s reach was far and wide and his contribution to 20th century literature is immense, his writings on Indochina, Africa and Latin America offer an invaluable insight into what would follow, particularly in Vietnam following the collapse of French rule. His reach affected fellow writers and artists such as John Le Carré, Norman Douglas and Paul Hogarth who struck up close friendships with Greene. Hogarth’s artwork for the Penguin editions of Greene’s books were outstanding and more information on these can be found below.

Greene saw his work make it to the big screen with both The Quiet American and Brighton Rock enjoying remakes decades apart, he clearly had ambitions in this genre and divided his work between what he considered ‘entertainments’ and those novels he did not intend for cinematic treatment. He played an integral role in the creation of film noir particularly with the classic The Third Man which Greene’s depiction of the dark shadows of the streets in Vienna where mysterious characters lurked in doorways gave the film its wonderful edge. His three films with the director Carol Reed have stood the test of time and it would be interesting to know what Alfred Hitchcock would have done with Our Man in Havana had Greene not disliked him so much and blocked his attempt to make the film. Greene enjoyed crime films and whilst his 1936 novel A Gun for Sale was written as a novel rather than as one of his ‘entertainments’ it clearly suited the cinema better with Greene himself disparaging of the book.

Greene’s novels were reprinted many times by various publishers over the years and as many of these editions and their covers will be featured as possible. For anyone new to Greene’s work jump in at any point and immerse yourself in a world of love, contradiction, war, religion, power and comedy. Greene’s books had it all…

This page will be regularly updated so please bookmark for more reviews and information.

The Graham Greene Bibliography:

The Man Within (1929)

Stamboul Train (1932)

It’s a Battlefield (1934)

England Made Me (1935)

A Gun for Sale (1936)

Journey Without Maps (1936)

Brighton Rock (1938)

The Lawless Roads (1939)

The Confidential Agent (1939)

The Power and the Glory (1940)

The Ministry of Fear (1943)

The Heart of the Matter (1948)

The Third Man (1949)

The End of the Affair (1951)

Twenty-One Stories (1954)

Loser Takes All (1955)

The Quiet American (1955)

The Potting Shed (1956)

Our Man in Havana (1958)

A Burnt Out Case (1960)

In Search of a Character (1961)

The Comedians (1966)

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 Last Word (1990)

 

Films

The Future’s in the Air (1937)

The New Britain (1940)

21 Days (1940)

Brighton Rock (1947 & 2010)

The Fallen Idol (1948)

The Third Man (1949)

The Heart of the Matter (1953)

Loser Takes All (1956)

Saint Joan (1957)

The Quiet American (1958 & 2002)

Our Man in Havana (1959)

The Comedians (1967)

 

Autobiography

A Sort of Life (1971)

Ways of Escape (1980)

Getting to Know the General (1984)

A World of My Own (1992)

 

Others

Reflections (1991)

Yours Etc (1991)

The Portable Graham Greene (2005)

 

Biographies and Related

The Life of Graham Greene Vol.1 (1904-1939) by Norman Sherry

The Life of Graham Greene Vol.2 (1939-1955) by Norman Sherry

The Life of Graham Greene Vol.3 (1955-1991) by Norman Sherry

Graham Greene; The Enemy Within (1994) by Michael Sheldon

Graham Greene Country (1986) by Paul Hogarth

The Man Within My Head (2012) by Pico Iyer

 

Articles on Graham Greene

The Unquiet American

Graham Greene and Norman Douglas

Anthony Blunt and Graham Greene

Paul Hogarth’s Graham Greene Covers

Artwork for Graham Greene

Death of Norman Sherry

In Defence of John Le Carré

 

 

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