In this paper I tried to know a little more from this author, and I think that with all my work I’m having a very different idea I had at first about him. When you spend some time reading and trying to understand his behaviour you see that somethings can be explained in some way because of his childhood. But many other things, from my point of view, can’t be explained anyway, because if you are defending some ideas everytime, then you can’t do all the contrary, if not you would be an hypocrite. And that’s what he did when he was with other women at the same time he was married with his wife.

I know he hadn’t had a good time when he was young, but it would never justify his behaviour with his wife, or at least, if he wouldn’t defended catholicism… But one of the ideas of this religion is the monogamy, and especially not to hurt the other feelings person. “How could he preach with catholic faith in his novels, but not with his own example?”

Although, I always would be in doubt if all his life was a fake because it was from the British Secret Service, as many people say on the internet, and in his biographies.

To sum up, I think that working about this author with the aim of taking a general view of his life, has produced me a big curiosity of knowing more interesting aspects about some other authors like him.


Writing style and themes

“The literary style of Graham Greene was described by Evelyn Waugh in Commonweal as “not a specifically literary style at all. The words are functional, devoid of sensuous attraction, of ancestry, and of independent life”. Commenting on this lean, realistic prose and its readability, Richard Jones wrote in the Virginia Quarterly Review that “nothing deflects Greene from the main business of holding the reader’s attention.” His cinematic visual sense led to most of his novels being made into films,  such as Brighton Rock in 1947, The End of the Affair in 1955 and 1999, and The Quiet American in 1958 and 2002. He also wrote several original screenplays. In 1949, after writing the novella as “raw material”, he wrote the screenplay for the now-classic film noir, The Third Man, featuring Orson Welles. In 1983 Greene’s novel, The Honorary Consul, published ten years earlier, was made into a famous Hollywood movie, entitled Beyond the Limit in the U.S., featuring Michael Caine and Richard Gere. Michael Korda, the famous author and Hollywood script-writer, contributed the foreword and introduction to this novel in a commemorative edition. Greene concentrated on portraying the characters’ internal lives – their mental, emotional, and spiritual depths. His stories often occurred in poor, hot, and dusty tropical backwaters, in countries such as Mexico, West Africa, Vietnam, Cuba, Haiti, and Argentina, which led to the coining of the expression “Greeneland” to describe such settings.

His novels often have religious themes at the centre. In his literary criticism he attacked the modernist writers Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster, for having lost the religious sense, which, he argued, resulted in dull, superficial characters, who “wandered about like cardboard symbols through a world that is paper-thin”. Only in recovering the religious element, the awareness of the drama of the struggle in the soul carrying the infinite consequences of salvation and damnation, and of the ultimate metaphysical realities of good and evil, sin and grace, could the novel recover its dramatic power. Suffering and unhappiness are omnipresent in the world Greene depicts; and Catholicism is presented against a background of unvarying human evil, sin, and doubt. V. S. Pritchett praised Greene as the first English novelist since Henry James to present, and grapple with, the reality of evil.

The novels often powerfully portray the Christian drama of the struggles within the individual soul from the Catholic perspective. Greene was criticised for certain tendencies in an unorthodox direction — in the world, sin is omnipresent to the degree that the vigilant struggle to avoid sinful conduct is doomed to failure, hence not central to holiness. Friend and fellow Catholic Evelyn Waugh attacked that as a revival of the Quietist heresy. This aspect of his work also was criticised by the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, as giving sin a mystique.

Greene responded that constructing a vision of pure faith and goodness in the novel was beyond his talents. Praise of Greene from an orthodox Catholic point of view by Edward Short is in Crisis Magazine, and a mainstream Catholic critique is presented by Joseph Pearce.

Catholicism’s prominence decreased in the later writings. The supernatural realities that haunted the earlier work declined and were replaced by a humanistic perspective, a change reflected in his public criticism of orthodox Catholic teaching. Left-wing political critiques assumed greater importance in his novels: for example, years before the Vietnam War, in The Quiet American he prophetically attacked the naive and counterproductive attitudes that were to characterize American policy in Vietnam. The tormented believers he portrayed were more likely to have faith in Communism than in Catholicism.

In his later years Greene was a strong critic of American imperialism, and supported the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whom he had met. For Greene and politics, see also Anthony Burgess’ Politics in the Novels of Graham Greene. In Ways of Escape, reflecting on his Mexican trip, he complained that Mexico’s government was insufficiently left-wing compared with Cuba’s. In Greene’s opinion, “Conservatism and Catholicism should be …. impossible bedfellows”.
“     In human relationships, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.     ”

—Graham Greene

Despite his seriousness, Graham Greene greatly enjoyed parody, even of himself. In 1949, when the New Statesman held a contest for parodies of Greene’s writing style, he submitted an entry under the nom de plume “N. Wilkinson” and won second prize. First prize was awarded to his younger brother, Hugh. Graham Greene’s entry comprised the first two paragraphs of a novel, apparently set in Italy, The Stranger’s Hand: An Entertainment. Greene’s friend, Mario Soldati, a Piedmontese novelist and film director, believed that it had the makings of a suspense film about Yugoslav spies in postwar Venice. Upon Soldati’s prompting, Greene continued writing the story as the basis for a film script. Apparently, however, he lost interest in the project, leaving it as a substantial fragment that was published posthumously in The Graham Greene Film Reader (1993) and No Man’s Land (2005). The script for The Stranger’s Hand was penned by veteran screenwriter Guy Elmes on the basis of Greene’s unfinished story, and cinematically rendered by Soldati. In 1965 Greene again entered a similar New Statesman competition pseudonymously, and won an honourable mention.”





All the list of his novels we can find it at the wikipedia:

* The Man Within (1929)
* Stamboul Train (1932)
* It’s a Battlefield (1934)
* England Made Me (1935)
* A Gun for Sale (1936)
* Brighton Rock (1938)
* 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) (short stories)
* Loser Takes All (1955)
* The Quiet American (1955)

* Our Man in Havana (1958)
* A Burnt-Out Case (1960)
* A Sense of Reality (1963) (short stories)
* The Comedians (1966)
* May We Borrow Your Husband? (1967) (short stories)
* 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 Captain and the Enemy (1988)
* The Last Word (1990) (short stories)
* No Man’s Land (2005)

Other sources about his novels and works:

[1], [2]


Career and personal life

“After graduating with a second-class degree in history, Greene unsuccessfully took up journalism, first on the Nottingham Journal, and then as a sub-editor on The Times. While in Nottingham he started corresponding with Vivien Dayrell-Browning, a Catholic convert, who had written him to correct him on a point of Catholic doctrine. Greene converted to Catholicism in 1926 (described in A Sort of Life) and was baptised in February the same year. He married Vivien in 1927; and they had two children, Lucy (b. 1933) and Francis (b. 1936). In 1948 Greene abandoned Vivien. He had affairs with a number of women, yet remained married. Vivien was the only Mrs Graham Greene.”


“He writes in his autobiography that he spent his university years drunk and debt-ridden. However, it was here that Greene gained experience as an editor at The Oxford Outlook;
developed an interest in politics after joining the Communist Party (more for amusement than for for principle); and honed his skills at writing, with one novel Anthony Sant complete before he graduated.

After graduating with a B.A. in 1925, Greene was employed as a subeditor at the Nottingham Journal after two abortive positions at other companies. His dislike of Nottingham’s seediness manifested in his later novel Brighton Rock. Here he met his future wife Vivien Dayrell-Browning when she wrote to point out some errors regarding Catholicism in his writings. Upon her urging, Greene took instructions in the faith and was received by the Church in 1926.

Greene moved on to a job as a subeditor at The Times in London. He married Vivien in October 1927 and with her had a daughter, Lucy Caroline, and a son Francis. During this time, he wrote a political novel, The Episode, which was rejected by publishers. He finally succeeded in getting published with The Man Within. The success of the book led Greene to make a difficult decision: leave his much-loved job at The Times and become a self-employed writer.

He came near to reneging this decision with the failure of his next two novels (The Name of the Action and Rumour at Nightfall). Living on his publisher’s advances, he moonlighted as a book reviewer for The Spectator. The financial strain made Greene write Stamboul Train, an escapist novel that was deliberately intended to please the public.

From then on, he never shied away from writing both “entertainments” and “serious novels”.Besides reviewing books, Greene also took on film for The Spectator, and was co-editor of the short-lived Night and Day. He became involved in screenwriting despite being sued by Twentieth Century-Fox for his criticism of Shirley Temple. He wrote adaptations for the cinema as well as original screenplays, the most famous being The Third Man.

Greene began his world-renowned traveling in part to satisfy his lust for adventure, and in part to seek out material for his writing. A trip to Sweden resulted in England Made Me. A exhausting 400-mile trek through the jungles of Liberia not only gave Greene a near brush with death, but provided fodder for Journey Without Maps. During World War II, he worked for the Secret Intelligence Service in Sierra Leone, which became the setting for The Heart of the Matter. His journey to Mexico to witness the religious purges in 1938 was described in The Lawless Roads. Greene’s horror of the Catholic persecution in Mexico led him to write The Power and the Glory, arguably the best novel of his career. It was both acclaimed (being the Hawthornden Prize winner in 1941) and condemned (by the Vatican).

The frenetic globetrotting continued until Greene was physically unable to do so in his later years. He sought out the world’s “trouble spots”: Vietnam during the Indochina War, Kenya during the Mau Mau outbreak, Stalinist Poland, Castro’s Cuba, and Duvalier’s Haiti among others.

Although Greene always declared himself to be apolitical as a writer, he nonetheless enjoyed being politically connected and appearing to be a supporter for the oppressed. The extent of his involvement in the British Secret Service has become a matter of intense speculation. He has publicly declared himself a lifelong friend of Kim Philby, after working under him in the MI6. After the publication of The Quiet American, Greene was accused of being anti-American and consequently developed a strong dislike of Americans, particularly Ronald Reagan. He began to delve into Central American politics, associating with people such as Fidel Castro and Manuel Noriega. His friendship with Panamanian dictator General Omar Torrijos led him to write Getting to Know the General.

Aside from his exotic trips, Greene also achieved notoriety in his personal life. Greene’s financial success as an author enabled him to live very comfortably in London, Antibes, and Capri. He associated with many famous figures of his time: T.S. Eliot, Herbert Read, Evelyn Waugh, Alexander Korda, Ian Fleming, Noel Coward, among others. He had many extra-marital affairs, and confessed he was “a bad husband and a fickle lover”, although he never revealed his affairs in his two autobiographies. He separated from his wife in 1948 but they never divorced. Towards the end of his life, Greene lived in Vevey, Switzerland with his companion Yvonne Cloetta. He died there peacefully on April 3, 1991.”


Graham Greene went on at the university in the same way as he went when he was a child. He liked drinking and his life was not healthy anyway. Although, it was there, in the university that he gained a lot of experience in the job of writing, when he was the editor at “The Oxford Outlook”.

He also get very interested in politics, when he joined in the Communist Party. So as the course of his life shows, he didn’t get lost in his personal “hell”, but he continue with his professional and sentimental life the best way he could, and following the way through those things that he liked and was interested in.

As this biography says, he get married with Vivien, who inculcate him the catholic faith. Analyzing this fact, it is curious how a person without any clear ideas about religion can be “manipulated” by another one. I’m not saying that his wife blind him to be catholic, but she, with her faith, make him change his mind, and rethink the meaning of life around God. However, it is too contradictory, because it is known that he lied to her wife with many other women, so… where was the faith at that moment? I think, as he didn’t have a normal childhood, all his life has been a little bit conflicting, and without any basic rules of behaviour in moral and ethics aspects.

About his professional life, the most important and recognised novel he wrote was ” The Power and the Glory”, which was about a roman catholic priest in Mexico. And the majority of his novels were aboout religious topics. But, he never won any prize.

In the other hand, to make matters worse, he was associated in the Socialist Party, and too involved in this political world, that’s why he knew many big figures of this world. But, as he belonged to the Bristish Secret Service, it is commonly said that it was just to cover that secret information, that he get into de Socialism, only to mislead. I really don’t know if it’s true or it is a fake, but if everyone says, it could be something true.


Early years

“Greene was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, the fourth of six children. His younger brother, Hugh, became Director-General of the BBC, his elder brother, Raymond, an eminent physician and mountaineer.
His parents, Charles Henry and Marion Greene, née Raymond, were first cousins, members of a large, influential family, that included the Greene King brewery owners, bankers, and businessmen. Charles Greene was Second Master at Berkhamsted School, the headmaster of which was Dr. Thomas Fry, who was married to a cousin of Charles. Another cousin was the right-wing pacifist Ben Greene, whose politics led to his internment during World War II.
In 1910 Charles Greene succeeded Dr. Fry as headmaster. Graham attended the school. Bullied, and profoundly depressed as a boarder, he made several suicide attempts, some, as he claimed in his autobiography, by Russian roulette. In 1920 at age 16 he was psychoanalysed for six months in London, afterwards returning to school as a day boy. School friends included Claud Cockburn and Peter Quennell.

In 1925, while an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford, his first work, a poorly received volume of poetry entitled Babbling April, was published.”


“The fourth of six children, Henry Graham Greene was born on 2 October 1904 in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England. His father, Charles Henry Greene, was an Oxford graduate who ranked Robert Browning as his favorite poet and chess as his favorite pastime. His mother, Marion Raymond Greene, was an aloof woman who kept an emotional distance from her children. Greene shared his early childhood years with his paternal uncle and aunt and their six children, the “wealthy Greenes” as he referred to them, who resided in the Hall at Berkhamsted from 1910 until about 1926. His uncle’s house was important to him for a second reason, for it was here that Greene first discovered the pleasure of reading, most notably Dixon Brett, Dete.”



As all this sources show, Graham Greene although he belonged to a very powerful family, he didn’t have a very good childhood, rather a bad one. He was mistreated at school and very unhappy. He was a very depressed guy and he had many suicide attempts. As I could imagine he didn’t have a good relation with his mother, and I supposed that with any other family member.

And the most surprising fact for me is that he said that his best six months were those that he spent being psychoanalysed, in London. It’s a little bit scaring and frightening that his best regards were not from his family and friends, but from sometime of psychoanalysis. But on the other hand, it is painful too, that his family treat him this way, and as I see, his mother for example does nothing to make him happy or with some kind of illusion or some aspiration in life.

All this material given is the first we have to know to try to understand his later behaviour.



The reason why I choose this author and not another one, was that my mother told me about him, and she advised me about his controversial life and his contradictions about religion and God. So that’s why I became very interested in knowing more about all his life and his work. First to prove that all the information from my mother was real and true or if it was just a legend or some general opinion without any checkout. And then, to understand that contradiction, in some way, I would like to put me in his place and try to comprehend his conduct and all his beliefs; if I am identified with him or not.

To sum up, my mother generated me this curiosity about that man, and I would like to prove by myself if it is someone I could agree in some aspects or if it is just a man with some obsolete ideas and beliefs that, in it would be good for his decade but not for nowadays.

This way, I would try to collect the most information about him I can, and analyze it through my point of view. This information includes his personal life, from his childhood to his maturity, his career (all his studies, and his novels and works), and his beliefs.

I hope from that project to have a wider and more complex view of that author, and to make people reflex about that man, that was so important at that time.