Dr. Mark G. Bosco, S.J.

Professor, English and Theology

Graham Greene's Catholic Imagination

Oxford University Press; publication date: 2005
(ISBN 0195177150)

Synopsis
Much has been written about Graham Greene's relationship to his Catholic faith and its privileged place within his texts. His early books are usually described as "Catholic Novels"--understood as a genre that not only uses Catholic belief to frame the issues of modernity, but offers Catholicism's vision and doctrine as a remedy to the present crisis in Western civilization. Greene's later work, by contrast, is generally regarded as falling into political and detective genres. Bosco argues that this is a false dichotomy created by a narrowly prescriptive understanding of the Catholic genre and obscures the impact of Greene's developing religious imagination on his literary art. Bosco frames his investigation of Greene's life and work in terms of theological developments in Catholic discourse before and after Vatican Council II and the changes it ushered in. He shows that these developments continued to engage Greene, and argues how his experience of post-Vatican II Catholicism is embodied in his late works.