Imperfect ‘Acquaintances’: Our Companions In Life

In Journey Without Maps (Penguin, New York, 1936:1978, p. 28) Graham Greene writes: There are places when one is ready to welcome any kind of acquaintance with memories in common: he may be cheap but he knew Annette; he may be dishonest but he once lodged with George; even if the acquaintance is very dim indeedContinue reading “Imperfect ‘Acquaintances’: Our Companions In Life”

Can An Adult Read a Book Like a Child?

In ‘The Lost Childhood’ (from The Lost Childhood and Other Essays, Viking Press, New York, 1951), Graham Greene writes: Perhaps it is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives. In later life we admire, we are entertained, we may modify some views we already hold, but we are more likely toContinue reading “Can An Adult Read a Book Like a Child?”

Graham Greene on Happiness

In a post last year on the subject of happiness, I had cited Freud and Burke–the founders of psychoanalysis and political conservatism, respectively. Their views of happiness spoke of the seemingly necessarily transitory nature of the sensation we term happiness–Freud even enlists Goethe to help make this claim–that happiness was marked by brief, fleeting intensity,Continue reading “Graham Greene on Happiness”

Mukul Kesavan on Making the Familiar Strange

Mukul Kesavan concludes a wonderful essay on Lucknow, the English language, Indian writing in English, the Indian summer, and ice-cream with: [T]the point of writing isn’t to make things familiar; it is to make them strange. Kesavan is right. To read is a form of escapism and what good would it be if we all weContinue reading “Mukul Kesavan on Making the Familiar Strange”

Writing Under the Influence: Greene on Benzedrine

Stories of Adderall-inspired writing binges by over-achieving students keen to upstage their cohorts and get the best grades possible are now old hat. And perhaps so are stories of writers fueling (or attempting to fuel) their writing sessions with a variety of intoxicating, calming, inspirational and brain-cobweb clearing substances. These have ranged from the ubiquitousContinue reading “Writing Under the Influence: Greene on Benzedrine”

The Autumn as Inducer of Childhood Remembrances

In ‘The Innocent,’ one of the twenty-one short stories in Graham Greene‘s Twenty-One Stories (Penguin, 1970), the narrator of the tale notes, On an autumn evening, one remembers more of childhood than at any other time of year… Our hero is correct. Or at least, this rings true to me. Why might that be? Our story-tellerContinue reading “The Autumn as Inducer of Childhood Remembrances”