Graham Greene 1904–

  • Neil McEwan
Part of the Macmillan Anthologies of English Literature book series (AEL)


Henry Graham Greene was born at Berkhamsted and was educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford. He joined The Times as a subeditor in 1926, but became a freelance writer after the success of his first novel, The Man Within (1929). Stamboul Train (1932) and Brighton Rock (1938) established his reputation as a writer of thrillers which are far more than just entertainments. After wartime service in West Africa, Greene travelled tirelessly as a foreign correspondent. His visits to Vietnam in the early 1950s provided the background for The Quiet American (1955); A Burnt-Out Case (1961) followed research in the Belgian Congo; The Comedians (1966), which shows conditions in Haiti under ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, was a result of his visit there in 1963. Greene had become a Roman Catholic in 1926. The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948) and The End of the Affair (1951), made him appear ‘a Catholic novelist’ — a term he rejected. Subsequent novels with Catholic characters tend to explore religious doubts and loss of faith rather than to assert Catholic doctrine. Greene’s gift for dark comedy is most apparent in later work, including The Honorary Consul (1973), his favourite. He has also written plays and short stories, criticism, film reviews, travel books, essays, and stories for children.


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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

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  • Neil McEwan

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