The Power and The Glory: Biography: Graham Greene

Graham Greene was born on October 2, 1904, to Charles Henry and Marion Raymond Greene. He was the fourth of six children. Greene attended the Berkhamstead School, where his father was the headmaster, and then Balliol College, Oxford. After graduation, he became a journalist, and in 1926 he was appointed Sub Editor for The Times. In that same year he became a Catholic.
Greene’s first novel, The Man Within, was published in 1929. It was a success with critics and readers. The Name of Action and Rumour at Nightfall, his next two novels, did not fare so well, but Stamboul Train (1932), his fourth novel, established his literary reputation.
During the 1930s, Greene became book and later film reviewer for the magazine The Spectator. He became a renowned film critic. His books during this period included Its a Battlefield, England Made Me, A Gun for Sale and Brighton Rock.
Greene also traveled extensively, in Europe and Mexico. In Mexico during the winter of 1937-38, he investigated the persecution of the Catholic church. This resulted in two books, The Lawless Roads in March 1939, and The Power And The Glory, in September 1939. The latter is regarded as one of Greene’s finest novels, and it was awarded a major literary prize, The Hawthornden.
Greene first conceived the idea for The Power and the Glory when a Mexican man told him about a priest who had been so drunk at the baptism of the man’s son that he had given the baby a girl’s name. The priest had then disappeared into the mountains. Possibly he had been killed by soldiers or he might have escaped.
During World War II, Greene worked for the Ministry of Information In 1941 he joined the British secret service and was assigned first to Sierra Leone and then to counter-intelligence in London. Greene left the service in May 1944.
After the war, Greene collaborated with Carol Reed in writing a film, The Third Man, which won First Prize at Cannes in 1949. In 1955, he wrote The Quiet American, about American involvement in Indochina. More novels followed, including Our Man In Havanna (1958), The Comedians (1966), The Honorary Consul (1973), and The Human Factor (1978). The latter stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for six months.
Greene married Vivienne Dayrell-Browning in 1927, with whom he had two children. The couple separated in 1948 but never divorced. In the last years of his life, Greene lived in Vevey, Switzerland, with his companion Yvonne Cloetta. He died there on April 3, 1991.