Saturday, October 02, 2010

Remembering... Graham Greene

Both Catholicism and Communism feature extensively in the works of Graham Greene; in both cases his disillusionment with each of them is evident. If the moral ambivalence inherent in either of these 20th Century forces gave Graham Greene the impetus for the novels he wrote it was humanism, rather than than anything else, which lit his way out of the darkness.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOr it could have been that Greene, in his work as a novelist and playwright, was attempting to exorcise the hypocrisy that comes with being a spy.

Whatever it was, as he saw it, the great quest of the modern age was finding something to believe in. Whether a Church that made Princes of men who were supposed to be in service of the poor, or a creed that did likewise, in neither case were they morally honest, and it was their dishonesty that was poisoning the well of society.

Gradually, it was people (including himself) he came to believe in most; if some of those people found their faith in religion, or in politics, or even art they were the lucky ones.

Greene is perhaps best known for his 1938 novel Brighton Rock, which shows a seamier side of that seaside resort than its boosters would prefer; another of the major controversies in which he found himself involved was his 1937 criticism of the film Wee Willie Winkie, featuring nine-year-old Shirley Temple, of which he said that Temple displayed 'a certain adroit coquetry which appealed to middle-aged men'. One of the first attempts in modern times to condemn the sexualization of children in media, the subsequent libel lawsuit shut the magazine that had published it, Night and Day, as well as inspired Greene to take a long trip to Mexico to avoid imprisonment.

Born on this day in 1904, Graham Greene died in April 1991, having published extensively in every genre from verse to essays.

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