Latest Issue

Loyal to a traitor

The 1980s correspondence between old friends Graham Greene and Kim Philby will soon be released. The artist remained loyal to his muse

By Geordie Williamson   September 2004

After decades of silence, interrupted only by sporadic, guarded communiqués, the correspondence of Graham Greene and Kim Philby was spurred into renewed intimacy by a troubled global situation: a middle eastern state, unbalanced by regime change, had begun taking western hostages, while in nearby Afghanistan, religiously motivated guerrilla fighters threatened efforts to prop up a secular regime. The year is immediately recognisable: it is 1979.

Despite the obvious parallels, Greene and Philby’s decade-long conversation (the letters continue throughout the 1980s) takes place in a world far removed from the present: one frozen in binary opposition, during that weary interregnum before…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect