marxism-digest V1 #5229

Ian Willmore ianw at
Wed Dec 4 03:10:06 MST 2002

"Just a word or two in appreciation of Graham Greene. I have read every
single one of his novels, except for those in the Catholic genre like
"Power and the Glory". For my money, he is not only one of the great
prose stylists of the 20th century, he is also one of the sharpest
critics of the capitalist system that ever used the novel as a medium. "

I agree with this completely. For example, the Quiet American is a brilliant prophecy
of US involvement in Vietnam and one of the best dissections of the American imperium
ever written (in fact the Power and the Glory is a good novel too: try it!). But it is
an irony that Greene, as well as being a friend of Kim Philby, was for much of his life
an officer of the British Secret Service (SIS). He worked under Philby in SIS'
anti-Soviet section. As far as we know Greene was trying to advance the work of the
section and not, like Philby, destroy it from inside. A lefty writer and reactionary
British spy - unusual combination. The fact that the FBI followed him around just shows
that US plods (even more than UK plods, which is saying something) cannot cope with

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