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Graham Greene Centenary Today

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Author Graham Greene’s centenary is being celebrated today:

    Writer Sir John Mortimer will join a special gathering on Saturday to mark the centenary of the birth of British author Graham Greene.

    Sir John will be guest a speaker at Greene’s former school, Berkhamsted Collegiate, Hertfordshire.

    The event is one of several Greene tributes this year, following the author’s death in 1991, aged 86.

    Greene’s acclaimed and often controversial works include Brighton Rock and The Third Man.

    Other events being held to celebrate Greene’s life and work include an exhibition of memorabilia at the British Library in London.

    The show highlights the topics that fascinated Greene and gave him rich material for his books, such as espionage, alcoholism and travel.

    A stage musical of Greene’s seaside thriller Brighton Rock will open at London’s Almeida Theatre on 5 October.

    It has been directed by Michael Attenborough, whose father Richard starred in the 1947 film of the novel.

    Norman Sherry, a professor at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas has also published the third and final volume of his biography, The Life of Graham Greene.

    ….Many of his novels explore the conflict between faith and desire and politics and morality.

    His books also often feature a stiff-upper lipped Briton trying to cope with extreme situations and exotic locations.

    His stories have proved popular with movie directors, who have made feature films from titles such as The Quiet American and The Third Man.

    Greene had a colourful personal life. He worked as a British secret agent in West Africa during World War II.

    And, he had a string of extra-marital affairs and socialised with some of the most famous figures of his time, including TS Eliot, Evelyn Waugh, Ian Fleming, and Noel Coward. [BBC]

For more on Greene, see Koranteng on The Comedians here, John Adams on the same here, Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti on The End of the Affair here and here, Kevin Holtsberry on The Third Man here, Alan Dale on Greene here. I’d say we have covered him quite well.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • Greene is vastly over-rated.

    By the way, “sinister cabal” is redundant. One can assume that a cabal is sinister.

    Could you please make it easier to post replies to individual authors on your site? The present setup is daunting for newbies such as myself.


  • Overrated or overly underrated? For as long as I’ve been reading criticism, every article about Greene has started out with a declaration that he isn’t as good as people say. My knowledge of him is slight; I’ve only read The Heart of the Matter and Brighton Rock, but I thought both were pretty good. Something I wrote about the latter on February 24, 2003:

    “It’s about this 17-year-old mob leader named Pinkie, who manages to kill a down-on-his-luck journalist named Hale. The murder looks clean, except for two things. One is Ida, the good-hearted and big-breasted — Greene never lets us forget that her tits could apply for their own zip code — gal who sees Hale on his last day of life and suspects something fishy about his death. The other is Rose, a 16-year-old waitress who may have seen a little too much on the day of the crime. Pinkie isn’t yet aware of Ida, but in Rose he sees something close to a soulmate. Rose is starved for affection and, Pinkie discovers, will do just about anything for love, even marry Pinkie so she doesn’t have to testify against him. Not only that, she’ll die for him, if that is what it comes to.

    Brighton Rock reads like a suspenseful thriller, and I guess it is that; a thriller who went to Catholic School, and never got death, hell, sin, salvation, guilt or redemption from it’s blood. The book is about damnation, more than anything else, the lure, perhaps, of inoculating yourself against the reality of evil by committing it. Something. Anyway, it’s completely spellbinding and I hope to plow through its multifarious moral themes again real soon.”

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Rodney

    Hope, regardless of how Greene is rated, it’s still his centenary.

    Not all cabals are sinister – what if the cabal was plotting to overthrow an evil regime? Anyway the redundancy of it alerts the reader as to its humorous and lexical intent.

    To reach any author you have merely to do what you did: leave a comment on a post by tht author, but perhaps we should emphasize that point more. Thanks.

  • Hello, Eric and Rodney.

    Well, I guess it is a matter of taste with Greene. I would just point out that of his cotemporaries or near contemporaries Chandler, Waugh, Wodehouse and Orwell are considered greater masters of the language, Waugh the deeper thinker on Catholic matters. Le Carre was better at spycraftic atmosphere. Anthony Powell provided a panorama of English society of the era and so on.

    And then there is Greene the apologist for Philby, who sided with a murderous regime and got probably dozens or scores of courageous Europeans murdered.

    Greene also created virtually no memorable characters, Pinkie being an exception.

    Good point, Eric, about centenaries. They do generate discussions (such as this one).

    I maintain that “cabal” is almost always used in the sense of evil conspiracy. But I am delighted to see the use of the word “lexical.”

    Maybe you could add a banner reading, “Want to comment on this article? Scroll to the bottom of the page.”

    Thanks for your gentlemanly responses (save for the “tits” part). Who am I to tell you how to run your site or to pontificate about the history of 20th century literature?


  • Eric Olsen

    that’s a good idea about saying something about comments at the top of the pge

  • Hi, Eric. Thank you. I think for new visitors, as I was just a few days ago, it takes too long to figure out how to post/comment.

    Also, are you aware that when one clicks on your name, Eric, in various places on this site that rather than being taken to your (Eric’s) own blog, the user is simply returned the home page of this site? Or is that what you want to happen? It is quite difficult to figure out how to contact you except via a subject page that may not be related to what someone wants to discuss with you (in this case, I am saying very little about Graham Greene).


  • Eric Olsen

    Hope, this is my home site so that is indeed appropriate

    we will make some of the other changes mentioned today, thanks

  • Hi, Eric. Thanks so much.Talk about quick action!


  • Eric Olsen

    it wasn’t quite as quick as I’d hoped, but it will be soon nonetheless

  • godoggo

    I only every read Brighton Rock, and what I mostly remember was you always knew when something was a Symbol, because he capitalized It. Also sex leaves you feeling dirty and disappointed afterward. Oh yeah, and something about the Jews. Ah well he’s one of those folks whom folks I respect respect. I’m sure he deserves another Chance when I have the Time.

  • fmk

    you may be interested in this piece on graham greene which appears in the current issue of sigla magazine: http://www.siglamag.com/arts/0410/GrahamGreene.php

  • Eric Olsen

    very interesting, thanks FMK!