Modernist in Search of an Audience: Graham Greene in the Thirties

  • Barry Menikoff


In a recent issue of The European, a newspaper published in English for the new European community (September 21–23, 1990), an inside article chronicles the abrupt resignation and disappearance of Jacques Médecin, the corrupt mayor of Nice, who ruled his Mediterranean city for more than a quarter of a century. Accompanying the article is a large color photograph of Médecin, in better days, surrounded by such glamorous celebrities as Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde. The first page of the same newspaper, however, features a smaller story: “Graham Greene, the novelist who has for years waged a bitter battle against corruption in France’s fifth-largest city, Nice, expressed delight this week at the news of the resignation of its mayor, Jacques Médecin … Mr. Greene’s pamphlet J’accuse pointed a finger at Mr. Médecin for his involvement in serious scandals in the city, as early as 1981. Mr. Greene said: ‘My pamphlet described Mr. Médecin’s activities, and showed what I thought of him, but for whatever reason it was suppressed in France.’” The picture of Greene that adjoins the story, interestingly enough, is not the traditional one on the dust jacket of his novels but a current photograph of him in a blue shirt, open at the collar, covered with a darker blue cardigan, the side hair white, the lines on the forehead just above the eyebrows creased and tense, the mouth tightly closed, pulling down the cheeks, though not turned down enough to be called a scowl, and the eyes, just visible, defiantly returning the camera’s gaze.


Popular Music Small Story Mediterranean City Dust Jacket Slang Term 
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  1. 1.
    Judith Adamson, Graham Greene and Cinema, (Norman, Okla: Pilgrim Books, 1984).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Peter Wolfe addresses the issue of melodrama in Graham Greene the Entertainer (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1972), pp. 23–5.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Valentine Cunningham describes the intellectual vogue of the detective story in his fourth chapter of British Writers of the Thirties (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Norman Sherry recounts the episode of Priestley’s interference with Stamboul Train in The Life of Graham Greene, Vol. I (New York: Viking, 1989), pp. 435–8.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Kenneth Allott and Miriam Farris cite Stevenson in their influential 1951 study, The Art of Graham Greene (New York: Russell & Russell, 1963), pp. 36–7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Menikoff

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