Creator / Graham Greene

I had to find a religion to measure my evil against.

Graham Greene (1904 1991) was an English novelist, essayist, film critic and screenwriter. In his lifetime he managed to achieve fame among the literary establishment while also remaining a popular author of genre fiction. As a novelist and essayist, he was highly singular in his political, moral and personal views.

Greene was born to a large, influential family that included the owners of Greene King Brewery, bankers, and statesmen; his mother was cousin to Robert Louis Stevenson. From his early youth, Greene suffered from depression, given to playing Russian Roulette in college and flirting with suicide. He found work as a journalist and in 1926, he married Vivienne Dayrell-Browning and he converted to her religion of Roman Catholicism. Religion had a major influence on Greene, formerly an agnostic. He became immersed in Catholic theology and beliefs, the ideas of sin and redemption, many of which seeped into his fiction. Politically, Greene was on the left, and even sympathetic to Communism despite its anti-clerical and anti-religious nature. Greene expressed support for liberation theology and was of the opinion that "Conservatism and Catholicism" ought to be "impossible bedfellows" and he was critical of the counter-revolutionary support of Church authorities while sympathetic to independent priests and reformers.

Greene worked in The Thirties as a writer of thrillers (A Gun for Sale, Stamboul Train) and essayist. He worked as a film critic during this time, and earned fame for his acerbic wit and criticism. His favorite film-maker was Fritz Lang and he was one of many English critics who missed the boat on Alfred Hitchcock's early genius One piece of his criticism, on the film Wee Willie Winkie, published in the journal Night and Day earned notoriety for calling attention to the sexualisation of child star Shirley Temple. It was so controversial that the studios sued the journal, Greene hid away in Mexico and the journal shut down. While in Mexico, Greene started research on The Power and the Glory (his first literary novel). Greene became a constant traveler in his later years, visiting far away nations and writing about them in his works. His use of locations earned the name "Greeneland". His travels also attracted him to real-life spy work with M16. One of his handlers was none other than infamous turncoat Kim Philby.

Greene's works were popular enough that it led to a series of film adaptations. Most of them were disliked by Greene. He is best known for his collaborations with Carol Reed, especially, The Third Man. Greene's work remained popular and he remained a highly prolific author. His works were influential on later writers and his particular style, featuring bleak, misanthropic Anti-Hero, complicated moral questions and vivid background detail makes him a highly popular author to this day.


Selected Bibliography

Novels

Screenplays

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