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Title: In search of a poetic : the development of the art of Graham Greene as reflected in his non-fictional writings
Author: Davis, Elizabeth Jane
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1982
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The body of Graham Greene's non-fictional writing is large and varied. It includes over five hundred review articles and literary essays and ranges in subject matter from seventeenth-century poetry through the craft of fiction to the popular art of the cinema. It is odd that this store of material has been neglected largely in critical estimates of Greene's fiction for it is a valuable guide to the development of his art. Through his own critical discussions, Greene seems to have articulated many of the themes -and confronted many of the problems - that characterized his own evolving art. The most important themes that emerge from his non-fiction are those he himself refers to as his "obsessions": the psychological legacy of childhood, spiritual faith, and the political conscience. Since the obsessional quality of Greene's art is so marked, a biographical tour of his early years is provided. This helps to identify and explain the sources for Greene's expectations in the area of artistic truth: "a deep poetic sensibility and extreme technical ability". His non-fiction and fiction are then examined as interdependent units along the lines suggested by Greene's criteria ("poetic" vision and technique), taking into consideration always Greene's particular obsessions. What comes through as perhaps the most distinctive quality of both Greene's critical and creative worlds is described best in his own metaphor, "the divided mind". Just as he was, as a child, torn between obedience and rebellion; as a young adult between despair and spiritual commitment; and as a mature adult between ideological cause and personal freedom, so in his career as a writer he has been poised on the border: between the "visible universe" and the "private vision", the blend of which defines each artist's peculiar achievement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature