This collection of fourteen essays by American and English scholars -- many of them hitherto unpublished and all of them selected with a view to avoiding the duplication of essays already familiar and available -- offers new testimony of the range and accomplishments of Graham Greene's talent. The essays vary from considerations of general topics to critical analyses of single novels, from a discussion of Greene as a writer of Christian tragedy to a witty, irreverent assessment ofThe Power and the Glory. The authors here are chiefly concerned with the novels, though frequent allusions reveal something of the nature and importance of the "entertainments" and the travel books.
A number of the essayists focus upon Greene's commitment to the Roman Catholic faith and the definition it has given to his work. As a writer he is shown to be preoccupied with a duel vision of human frailty and of God's saving grace, a vision found by some to assert sin to the point of virtual heresy, though it never loses sight of that mercy which may catch up a soul "between the stirrup and the ground." As one essay points out, traces of this vision are to be found in Greene's earlier works as well as in his entertainments. Greene's own particular bent as a Catholic writer is brought out by a comparison with Fracois Maruiac; another essay is concerned with the tension that exists between the life of art and the life of sanctity.
Round out this presentation of Greene's accomplishments are discussions of his work in the dram, the short story, and as a motion picture critic. Finally, this collection is notable for its inclusion of the most comprehensive bibliography of Greene's work and the criticism of them yet published.
Graham Greene emerges from this composite judgment as a writer of consummate artistry who sees behind the façade the emptiness of a secular world.
Subjects: Language & Literature, History
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