Graham Greene

(1904 – 1991)

Graham GreeneBiographical Sketch

Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH, (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, October 2, 1904 – Vevey, Switzerland, April 3, 1991) was an English writer, playwright and literary critic. His works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene was noted for his ability to combine serious literary acclaim with widespread popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton RockThe Power and the GloryThe Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair. Several works such as The Confidential AgentThe Third ManThe Quiet AmericanOur Man in Havana and The Human Factor also show an avid interest in the workings of international politics and espionage.

Greene suffered from bipolar disorder, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife Vivien, he told her that he had “a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life”, and that “unfortunately, the disease is also one’s material”. William Golding described Greene as “the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man’s consciousness and anxiety.” Greene never received the Nobel Prize in Literature, though he finished runner-up to Ivo Andrić in 1961.

Read more about Graham Greene on Wikipedia.


Major Awards and Honors

Jerusalem Prize (Israel)
  • 1981
James Black Tait Memorial Prize (Scotland)
  • 1948: Fiction Award – “The Heart of the Matter”
Edgar (Allan Poe) Awards (Mystery Writers of America)
  • 1976: Grand Master Award – Lifetime Achievement



  • The Man Within (1929)
  • The Name of Action (1930)
  • Rumour at Nightfall (1931)
  • Stamboul Train (1932)
  • It’s a Battlefield (1934)
  • The Basement Room (1935)
  • Bear Fell Free (1935)
  • England Made Me (1935)
  • A Gun for Sale (1936)
  • Journey Without Maps (1936)
  • Brighton Rock (1938)
  • The Confidential Agent (1939)
  • The Lawless Roads (1939)
  • The Power and the Glory (1940)
  • The Ministry of Fear (1943)
  • The Third Man (1948)
  • The Fallen Idol (1948)
  • The Heart of the Matter (1948)
  • The End of the Affair (1951)
  • Loser Takes All (1955)
  • The Quiet American (1955)
  • Our Man in Havana (1958)
  • In Search of Character (1961)
  • A Burnt-Out Case (1961)
  • The Comedians (1966)
  • Travels With My Aunt (1969)
  • The Virtue of Disloyalty (1972)
  • The Honorary Consul (1973)
  • The Human Factor (1978)
  • Dr. Fischer of Geneva or the Bomb Party (1980)
  • Monsignor Quixote (1982)
  • The Tenth Man (1985)
  • Getting to Know the General: A Story of an Involvement (1985)
  • The Captain and the Enemy (1988)
Short Story Collections
  • Nineteen Stories (1947)
  • Twenty One Stories (1954)
  • A Sense of Reality (1963)
  • Collected Short Stories (1972)
  • The Last Word and Other Stories (1990)
  • A Sort of Life (1971)
  • Ways of Escape (1980)
  • Reflections: 1923-1988 (1991)
  • A World of My Own: A Dream Diary (1992)
  • Babbling April (1925)
  • The Living Room (1953)
  • The Potting Shed (1957)
  • The Complaisant Lover (1959)
  • Carving a Statue (1964)
  • May We Borrow Your Husband?
    And Other Comedies of the Sexual Life (1967)
  • The Great Jowett (1980)
  • Yes and No, or For Whom the Bell Chimes (1980)
Books for Children
  • The Little Train (1946)
  • The Little Fire Engine (1949)
  • The Little Horse Bus (1952)
  • The Steamroller (1953)
  • Why do I write?: An Exchange of Views, between Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene & V.S. Pritchett; with a preface by V. S. Pritchett (1948)
  • Collected Essays (1969)
  • Pleasure Dome: The Collected Film Criticism, 1935-1940 (1972)
  • Lord Rochester’s Monkey: Being the Life of John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester (1974)
  • Yours, etc.: Letters to the Press (1989)
  • The Graham Greene Film Reader: Reviews, Essays, Interviews & Film Stories (1997)


A Selection of Quotes

Our Man in Havana

“I don’t care a damn about men who are loyal to the people who pay them, to organizations … I don’t think even my country means all that much. There are many countries in our blood, aren’t there, but only one person. Would the world be in the mess it is if we were loyal to love and not to countries?”

The Heart Of The Matter

“Friendship is something in the soul. It is a thing one feels. It is not a return for something.”

“We are all resigned to death: it’s life we aren’t resigned to.”

The End of the Affair

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

The End of the Affair

“So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends.”

The Human Factor

“Hate is an automatic response to fear, for fear humiliates.”

Ways Of Escape

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”

Find more quotes by Graham Greene on Wikiquote and Goodreads.