Download Graham Greene: A Literary Life by Neil Sinyard (auth.) PDF

By Neil Sinyard (auth.)

A new identify in Palgrave Macmillan's Literary Lives sequence, it is a biographical narrative of Graham Greene's literary occupation. between different issues, it explores his explanations for writing; the literary and cinematic affects that formed his paintings; his writing regimen and the significance of his adolescence adventure. Greene used to be elusive and enigmatic, and this publication teases out the fiction from his autobiographies, the autobiography from his fictions, sharing Paul Theroux's view that you could be no longer recognize Greene from his face or speech 'but from his writing, you recognize everything.'

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21 anything for which I have no talent. ’17 It was not desperation that kept Greene writing, surely: it was self-esteem. Writing throughout his life was intimately bound up with a sense of self-value, self-worth and love of self. To borrow his own phrase, it was the thing above all that demonstrated that ‘he was good at something’, which he had felt an ‘excessive’ desire to prove. That desire was rooted to that childhood experience, and childhood is the capital on which every writer can draw. 18 It was an escape from boredom, he would argue, which can be linked with his obsessive need to set his novels in contemporary flashpoints where danger seems guaranteed.

Much of Greene’s earliest published writing was in the form of reviews or articles about the cinema. As an undergraduate, when he became editor of The Oxford Outlook in 1924, he appointed himself as occasional film critic. The criticism is notable not simply because of its expression of opinion on individual films but the sense it gives of a young man reflecting on the expressive potential of a young art. Thus, when reviewing Arthur Robison’s Warning Shadows in June 1925, he hopes that the gulf between naturalism and impressionism – by which he means the self-effacement of the American style and the stylised expressionism of the German – can be brought in closer proximity: one will see this mixture in his own fiction, in Brighton Rock, in The Ministry of Fear, where a naturalistic landscape will become charged with extremities of menace.

As Cedric Watts has wryly remarked, Greene was so shrewd a literary businessman that he could make money from his sleep. But dreams did have some creative significance for Greene as a writer for, like one of his famous distant relatives, Robert Louis Stevenson with his story of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the inspiration for some of his novels came from dreams. Greene’s companion over the last thirty years of his life, Yvonne Cloetta, claimed the idea for It’s A Battlefield and for The Honorary Consul came to him in a dream; and Greene said he dreamt Querry’s dream in A Burnt-Out Case and it helped him at a crucial stage when he was blocked in the narrative.

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