Graham Greene’s 50 books have sold tens of million copies in countless languages. Greene’s twenty novels have all been adapted into feature films — some twice, like The Quiet American and The End of the Affair. When Greene died in 1991, Time magazine’s Paul Gray wrote: “No serious writer of the twentieth century has more thoroughly influenced the public imagination than Graham Greene.”
While Greene’s work and influence are well known, Greene the man remains an enigma. Despite repeated suicide attempts, Greene lived to be 86. He was a British spy who befriended traitor Kim Philby. He was a committed Catholic who referred to himself as a “Catholic agnostic.” He craved anonymity, yet his writing made him famous.
This presentation will include an introduction to a film I am completing on the Life of Graham Greene and a short clip from the film to explore how the contradictions in Greene’s life contributed to writing that captured the imagination of a generation worldwide. As novelist Shirley Hazzard wrote: “Graham’s life long preoccupation with the equivocations that beset all men and women, and his awareness of his own contrariety, themselves gave his novels their distinctive voice.”
Associate Professor, School of Media Arts, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA
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