Ward's Book of Days.
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What happened on this day in history.
On this day in history in 1991, died Graham Greene.
Greene was a novelist, a playwright, a journalist and also a spy.
His works dealt with life’s moral predicaments within a framework of a commonplace background. Greene always objected to being label as a ‘Catholic Writer’ but the theme of Catholic morality pervades his work. Brighton Rock, examines a violent young criminal haunted by strict Catholic upbringing. The Power and The Glory considers the desperation of a Catholic priest in a Mexican backwater obsessively trying to perform his priestly function in the face of constant threat from a revolutionary government. Ironically, this work was roundly condemned by the Vatican as it implied that a priest in this situation would have a weakness for alcohol.
Our Man in Havana, set in Cuba shortly before the revolution portrays a hapless spy recruited to forward intelligence to MI6, who invents material in order to cover his inadequacies. Greene is best know for his screenplay The Third Man, filmed in 1949, an espionage thriller set in Vienna in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Greene was in fact an agent for MI6. In 1941, he was recruited by the notorious Kim Philby to provide information on any person who might be sympathetic to the enemy. Greene’s biographer, Norman Sherry, reported that Greene continued to work undercover until his death.
Greene had an individual writing style. In 1949, when The New Statesman held a contest for a parody of his work, Greene submitted an entry under a pseudonym and took second prize.
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