Graham Greene: The Enemy Within

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9780679428831: Graham Greene: The Enemy Within
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An intimate portrait of acclaimed novelist Graham Greene reveals previously hidden facts about his mysterious double life as a spy and his complex sex life and provides a radical reinterpretation of some of his major works. 30,000 first printing.

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From Publishers Weekly:

While Norman Sherry is still engaged in writing his hugely detailed, three-volume Greene biography comes this deconstructionist effort by the author of studies of Cyril Connolly and Orwell. Shelden began work intending an "affectionate portrait," but "along the way I kept uncovering unpleasant facts." That is a considerable understatement. Shelden has portrayed Greene as an eternal manipulator, of friends as well as of the world press; as a man whose ostensible religion and politics were shams, whose early books?including the much-admired Brighton Rock?contained reprehensible anti-Semitic elements; and, artistically, as a writer who underwent a decline after The Heart of the Matter in 1948, with only occasional glimpses (as in The Human Factor of 1978) of the huge talents he once possessed. Although Greene was renowned for his louche sexual habits (Shelden asserts he could have authored a splendid guide to the world's best brothels), it has not previously been documented that he had homosexual inclinations. Shelden avers that in his hideaway on Capri, he dallied with young boys, and that there are passages in his work that can only be seen as the product of a gay sensibility. Shelden's scrutiny of Greene's work is scrupulous, and certainly suggests that some reassessment of much of it is in order. In the case of Greene's private life, it is clear that his habitual evasiveness and cunning render many of his actions subject to various interpretations. Shelden's book is certainly an impressive brief for the prosecution, even if this most mysterious of contemporary writers continues ultimately to baffle and elude us. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Prolific and controversial, Graham Greene, whose last book was the posthumously published dream diary, A World of My Own , has engaged the attention of two biographers. Norman Sherry is at work on a multivolume, monumentally detailed work titled The Life of Graham Greene , and, now, literary biographer Shelden has written an impassioned dissection of Greene's deception-filled life. Shelden, author of Orwell (1991), is quite candid about his shock and dismay over Greene's "devotion" to subterfuge both as a double agent in his forays into the world of espionage and in his lusty personal life. As Shelden follows Greene's shadowy path--a trek that looped from Estonia to El Salvador, Liberia to Indochina, Prague to Havana--he decodes Greene's novels for clues to the origins of Greene's well-documented obsession with suicide and rarely remarked preoccupation with homosexuality. He concludes that Greene's involvements with Catholicism and politics were based more on a fascination with sin, cruelty, and guilt than with God, patriotism, or revolution. In his often explicit portrait of Greene as a "cunning manipulator," Shelden defines what he believes to be both admirable and abominable about the man, but the work, as always, stands on its own. Donna Seaman

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