By Neil Sinyard (auth.)
A new name in Palgrave Macmillan's Literary Lives sequence, it is a biographical narrative of Graham Greene's literary profession. between different issues, it explores his factors for writing; the literary and cinematic affects that formed his paintings; his writing regimen and the significance of his adolescence event. Greene was once elusive and enigmatic, and this e-book teases out the fiction from his autobiographies, the autobiography from his fictions, sharing Paul Theroux's view that you could be now not recognize Greene from his face or speech 'but from his writing, you recognize everything.'
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Additional resources for Graham Greene: A Literary Life
14 I would link that to something Greene says in A Sort of Life: that ‘a writer’s knowledge of himself, realistic and unromantic, is like a store of energy on which he must draw for a lifetime. 15 The problem with Krogh, then, is that there is just nothing of Greene in him, nothing to which the author can really relate, so the character remains inert. By contrast, the character of Minty in the same novel (who is only there as a supporting character foil to the hero, a fellow-Englishman who can see through his phoney tie) springs instantly before us – this sly, pathetic Anglo-Catholic down on his luck and going to seed in a foreign land and keeping a spider under his glass 38 Graham Greene as his way of playing God with another creature.
In his 1951 book on Greene, Kenneth Allott mentions what he calls an unconscious reference to Browning’s ‘The Bishop Orders His Tomb’ in Rumour at Nightfall. From our much fuller knowledge now of Greene’s literary tastes, we can fairly assume the reference was all too conscious. Like Henry James before him (a devout Browning admirer for his ability to explore action in character more than character in action), what Greene learnt from Browning was something both thematic and technical. Browning perfected the form of dramatic monologue, where characterisation is established through the narrator’s own words and through the technical and psychological sophistication of the poet’s moral relativity: that is to say, the poet can allow his character to state convincingly a point of view opposed to his own, but can convincingly ‘unmask’ this character through an unwitting but plausible selfcondemnation.
The inference could be drawn (it would certainly not be out of character) that Greene’s early attraction to the cinema was partly an act of rebellion against his upbringing. There is another personal connection one might make between Greene and the cinema in that it was through his film reviewing that he met his wife Vivien Dayrell-Browning. Writing in The Oxford Outlook in February 1925, he had begun his article on ‘The Average Film’ as follows: ‘We are most of us nowadays considerably over-sexed.