GRAHAM GREENE (Author, Travels with my Aunt) was one of the most widely read and praised British novelists of the 20th century. He wrote a number of short stories along with a handful of plays and screenplays, but he is best known for writing more than 25 novels, many of which have been adapted for film or television. 

Greene originally divided his fiction into two genres: “entertainments” were mystery or suspense books such as A Gun for Sale (1936, also entitled This Gun For Hire, filmed in 1942), The Confidential Agent (1939, filmed in 1945), and The Ministry of Fear (1943, filmed in 1945), that were very popular with the reading public; and “novels” were more serious literary works which he thought would shape his literary reputation. 

Catholic religious themes are at the root of four of his acclaimed novels: Brighton Rock (1938, filmed in 1948), The Power and the Glory (considered by some to be his finest novel, written in 1940, filmed in 1962), The Heart of the Matter (1948, filmed in 1953), and The End of the Affair (1951, filmed in 1955 and 1999). 

Other writings focused more on international politics and espionage, like the screenplay for The Third Man featuring Orson Welles (1949), and the books The Confidential Agent (1939), The Quiet American (1956, filmed in 1958 and 2002), Our Man in Havana (1958, filmed in 1959), and The Human Factor (1978, filmed in 1979). 

Late in his career, both Greene and his readers found the distinction between “entertainments” and “novels” increasingly problematic. When Travels With My Aunt was published in 1969, Greene designated it a “novel,” even though the tone more closely resembled his entertainments. Eventually, he referred to all of his writings as “novels.” 

Greene left Great Britain in 1966, moving to Antibes, and he lived the last years of his life in Switzerland. He died at age 86 of leukemia in 1991.

November, 2011