A Study in Greene: Graham Greene and the Art of the Novel by Bernard Bergonzi

By Bernard Bergonzi

Bernard Bergonzi has been analyzing Graham Greene for a few years; he nonetheless possesses the unique variation of The finish of the Affair that he acquired while it used to be released in 1951. After lots contemporary cognizance to Greene's existence he believes it's time to go back to his writings; during this serious learn Bergonzi makes an in depth exam of the language and constitution of Greene's novels, and lines the obsessive motifs that recur all through his lengthy profession. so much previous feedback was once written whereas Greene was once nonetheless alive and dealing, and used to be to some degree provisional, because the ultimate form of his paintings was once no longer but obvious. during this booklet Bergonzi is ready to take a view of Greene's entire occupation as a novelist, which prolonged from 1929 to 1988. He believes that Greene's prior paintings used to be his top, combining melodrama, realism, and poetry, with Brighton Rock, released in 1938, an ethical delusion that attracts on crime fiction and Jacobean tragedy, because the masterpiece. The novels that Greene released after the Fifties have been very specialist examples of skilful story-telling yet represented a decline from this excessive point of accomplishment. Bergonzi demanding situations assumptions in regards to the nature of Greene's debt to cinema, and makes an attempt to elucidate the complexities and contradictions of his spiritual principles. even if this booklet engages with questions that come up in educational discussions of Greene, it's written with normal readers in mind.

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They disappeared round a stationary truck and the light failed more and more. He caught a glimpse of their moving shadows and then an engine hooted and belched a grey plume of steam round him; for a moment it was like walking in a mountain fog. A warm dirty spray settled on his face; when he was clear he had lost them. (ch. , ) In a film review published in November , when he was writing A Gun for Sale, Greene wrote: ‘Sous les Toits de Paris contained a sequence in which Préjean was surrounded by a gang with drawn razors in the darkness of a railway viaduct; the smoke blew continually across, and the dialogue was drowned in the din of shunting               trucks.

Its possibilities were much enlarged by the advent of radio, which enabled a disembodied and potentially dissonant voice to be inserted into a scene. There is a good example in A Gun for Sale. Raven, the man on the run, is hiding, tired and scared, in a suburban garage. From the neighbouring house he uncomprehendingly hears a broadcast reading of extracts from Tennyson’s Maud. The dominant radio is a feature of the ultra-modern hotel in The Confidential Agent: ‘Music came up from Luxemburg, Stuttgart and Hilversum: radio was installed everywhere.

The shifting townscapes in It’s a Battlefield are indebted to Joyce’s novel, while the restless succession of sharp images in which Greene evokes contemporary London recalls The Waste Land. It was a poem he had long admired and regarded as an example of cinematic collage (the title of his third novel, Rumour at Nightfall, alludes to Eliot’s poem). It’s a Battlefield is too much of a melodrama to rise to the heights of tragedy, but it mimes the achievements of Renaissance drama and ends like one. Conrad is dead and Jim is condemned to a living death in a prison cell, and Milly is in a similar condition at home.

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