October 03, 2004

Greene Centenary Saturday, October 2nd, marked the 100th anniversary of Graham Greene's birth. I have been wanting to post about Greene for a while, but I am afraid that I couldn't do better than Matteo's excellent, excellent post on metafilter. Please do check it out.

I was "turned on" to Greene by a former professor and I have been hooked ever since. I just read "The Comedians," and, as with all his books when just finished them, I think it was his best. We mustn't complain too much of being comedians - it's an honorable profession. If only we could be good ones the world might gain at least a sense of style. We have failed - that's all. We are bad comedians, we aren't bad men.

  • "What would he make of it? Americans once again caught up in a bloody adventure in a country on the other side of the globe. Decent people made blind to their humanity by a call to duty. Moral compasses spinning madly; intrigue lurking all around. It would have been as if he had never left, as if his novels were written last year rather than decades ago, which is, of course, a grand testament to his work. Graham Greene, on his 100th birthday today, could have honestly said, "Nothing has changed" -- exactly as he would have expected."
  • Earth changes, time changes, things and people come and go. But does human nature change? Which reminds me of an old joke: Q: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? A: Just one. But the lightbulb has to want to change. Sometijmes we laugh so we won't cry.
  • Greene's film reviews are a fun, if extremely savage, little read -- they're collected in Graham Greene on Film (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972), although the one criticising the way Shirley Temple was used (that is, the one he was sued over) is not in there for fairly obvious reasons.
  • Tinfoil Sorting Hat, thank you, thank you. I dearly love Graham Greene and am looking forward to perusing this post.
  • Thank you, shinything. I hope you enjoy it. And while I'm commenting, I want to add the anyone who is a fan of Greene's "Catholic" novels, especially The Power and the Glory, should have a look at Shusaku Endo's Silence. It is a truly amazing novel about the persecution of Christians in feudal Japan. AND, it looks like Martin Scorsese is making it into a movie.