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Graham Greene

Considered vain, duplicitous and out of date, Greene fell from grace. Yet his worldliness remains a model for the practising writer, and his moral ambiguity serves us better now than Orwell's clarity

By Julian Evans   September 2004

Image by Richard Kenworthy

During his lifetime Graham Greene was regarded as our greatest novelist, the master of ingenuity and excitement, the writer whose ambivalent moral equations and compromised characters invaded the consciousness of two generations of readers. Since his death in April 1991, the world has moved on to another century and other fashions. John le Carré once deeply wounded Greene by describing him as a “1930s writer” (though this was no more true than calling le Carré a 1960s writer). Neil Jordan’s film of The End of the Affair and Phillip Noyce’s recent The Quiet American oddly speeded…

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