Graham Greene
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
Born on 2nd of October 1904
Died on 3rd of April 1991

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Graham Greene was born in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire on October 2, 1904. At his boarding school – where his father was Second Master - Greene was deeply unhappy, self-harming and even attempting suicide by playing Russian roulette. Unsurprisingly he left aged 16 but after psychoanalysis returned as a day-boy to gain a place at Balliol College, Oxford. He graduated and went into journalism, working in Nottingham. Here he met his wife Vivien who encouraged his conversion to Catholicism in 1926.

Greene’s first novels were unsuccessful and it wasn’t until Stamboul Train (1932) that he hit his stride. The book was later made into the film Orient Express. Greene’s visual sense led to many of his novels being adapted for cinema, most successfully Brighton Rock and The Quiet American. Graham Greene also wrote the screenplay for the classic film noir The Third Man (1949). He explored religious, specifically Catholic, themes in Brighton Rock and later novels The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair and The Power and the Glory, which attracted censure from the Catholic Church.

It was the combination of entertainment and serious religious/political themes which were to define his work. Many of his novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana and The Comedians are set abroad in areas of conflict or repression, where central characters are suitably alienated. His novelist’s gift for observation was put to use by MI6 (where Kim Philby became a friend) who sent him to Sierra Leone in WWII.

Throughout his life Greene suffered from bi-polar disorder and was also involved in unsuccessful court cases and affairs which did little to reduce his pessimism. The last years of his life were spent in Vevey on Lake Geneva where he became friends with Charlie Chaplin. Greene died there on April 3 1991, aged 86.

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1 Response to Graham Greene

From Creina Mansfield on 27th December 2009
I'm sorry but there are a number of inaccuracies in the article. For instance, Greene met his wife Vivienne (later she called herself Vivien) while at Oxford. She worked for Blackwell's. Lucy Caroline is Greene's daughter. He had only one wife, so 'first' is a redundant term. Vivien, whom he never divorced, was at his graveside when he died in 1991, his mistress of 30 years, Yvonne Cloetta, the other side.

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