The Thoughtful Thriller Greene frequently wrote what might be termed ‘‘thoughtful thrillers.’’ While The Quiet American, The Heart of the Matter, and The Human Factor are all gripping in their various ways, they also are all thought-provoking, prompting readers to consider more deeply the meanings and dynamics of international politics, and the intersections between the personal and the political. The reader of Greene’s political thrillers may leave satisfied that the roller-coaster of espionage and drama has arrived at a safe conclusion (sometimes), but he or she also leaves more concerned than ever about the state of the world itself. What, Greene challenges us to ask long after we have put down the book, is really going on—around us and within us?
Greene’s increasingly international political enthusiasms provided the background to many of his postwar novels, from The Quiet American (1955), set in Vietnam, to The Human Factor (1978), which explains Cold War espionage. The Quiet American, in particular, offers a realistic picture of how American involvement in the French war to retain control over what was at the time the French colony of Indochina (and what is now called Vietnam) might eventually lead to a full-scale American military commitment in the region. Indeed it did: within ten years America found itself increasingly involved in what became the Vietnam War.
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In the words ofhis biographer Norman Sherry:'Everything I know about Greenetells me he retained an interest in sexeven during his last terrible illness.'Greene knew that in the eyes ofhis God, such promiscuity was theroute to eternal damnation.
As a writer he is shown to be preoccupied with a duel vision of human frailty and of God’s saving grace, a vision found by some to assert sin to the point of virtual heresy, though it never loses sight of that mercy which may catch up a soul “between the stirrup and the ground.” As one essay points out, traces of this vision are to be found in Greene’s earlier works as well as in his entertainments.
Greene’s own particular bent as a Catholic writer is brought out by a comparison with Fracois Maruiac; another essay is concerned with the tension that exists between the life of art and the life of sanctity.
Round out this presentation of Greene’s accomplishments are discussions of his work in the dram, the short story, and as a motion picture critic.
The essays vary from considerations of general topics to critical analyses of single novels, from a discussion of Greene as a writer of Christian tragedy to a witty, irreverent assessment of .
Finally, this collection is notable for its inclusion of the most comprehensive bibliography of Greene’s work and the criticism of them yet published.
Graham Greene emerges from this composite judgment as a writer of consummate artistry who sees behind the façade the emptiness of a secular world.Robert O.
Greene entered his father’s school in 1915 and left in 1921, when he was seventeen. Greene continued his at Oxford, where he received a BA from Balliol College in 1925. His restlessness and sense of adventure, however, had already taken hold. While still a student, he made a long walking trip in Ireland, and, in the same year that he took his degree at Oxford, his first book was published: a collection of , Babbling April, which critics saw as imitative.
No wonder his friend Peter Glenville observed: 'His sexual stamina always astonished me because it was endless.'Another friend, Michael Meyer, said: 'I always thought that Graham had a rather schoolboy attitude to sex - never for a moment gay, but fascinated by mild divergences from the norm...I remember him suggesting that we find a brothel where two women could put on a lesbian exhibition.'Despite such peculiarities, it was for Vivien's sake that Greene converted to Catholicism.
Success in Print and on Screen Greene and his wife permanently separated in 1947 after she discovered he had a mistress, an American woman named Catherine Walston. Though his private life was troubled, Greene’s career was taking flight. He wrote the screenplay for director Orson Welles’s classic film noir The Third Man, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 1949. Greene’s affair with Walston inspired his 1950 novel The End of the Affair (in fact, the novel was dedicated to her). This acclaimed work was adapted for film in 1955 and again in 1999.
Prescient Novels of International Intrigue World was an integral part of Greene’s life and work. His impressions and experiences during his trips, recorded in his nonfiction, contributed to the authenticity of detail and setting in his novels. Greene traveled to Cuba, the Belgian Congo, Russia, Brazil, Tunisia, Romania, East Germany, and Haiti.
2. Greene has been criticized for using his writings to further Catholic ideology. Does Catholicism play a central role in his works? If so, does it make them less or more worthy of study and reflection, or does it have no effect? Why?