Our interest’s on the dangerous edge of things


Soon after completing “The Quiet American,” Graham Greene confessed to Evelyn Waugh, his fellow Roman Catholic novelist,that “it’ll be a relief not to write about God for a change.” “Oh, I wouldn’t drop God if I were you,” Waugh retorted. “Not at this stage anyway. It would be like P. G. Wodehouse dropping Jeeves halfway through the Wooster series.” Waugh had a point. Born in 1904, Greene belonged to a lost British generation that had been too young either to fight in World War I or to reflect soberly on its calamitous effects. Until his conversion to Catholicism in 1926 (in order to marry a believer), Greene had known only the private neurosis of a privileged English youth. As a preternaturally bored schoolboy, he is said to have played Russian roulette; it could be argued that he never recovered from the ennui of the 1920s and the following even lower (and more dishonest) decade.

more from the NY Times here.