The modern classic author Graham Greene was as strict about his privacy as he was about others. His biography, A Life, “closed his record at the age of twenty-seven,” and he has since refused to write another autobiography. Green’s memoir “Road to Escape” published in 1980 is not strictly autobiographical, but has a strong autobiographical nature. The reason, as he himself said, is that autobiography will inevitably invade the secrets of other people’s lives.
But Green’s private life isn’t much of a mystery to the public either. In 1976, Green appointed Norman Shelley as his biography writer. Shirley, who successfully wrote Conrad’s biography, also vividly portrayed Green’s ups and downs and legendary life. But what about comparing Shirley’s three-volume Life of Graham Greene with Michael Green’s other biographer? Sheldon’s “Graham Green: The Enemy Within” will find that Shelley has good words for Green, although occasionally revealing the dark side of Green’s character; while Sheldon’s biography is objective. At the same time as the description of Green, there are endless abuses against Green, which is “a biography aimed at smashing idols”. Both biographers interpreted Green’s character from the works, but they came to very different conclusions. From the descriptions of these two biographers, it can be felt that Green’s character is unpredictable, which cannot be explained clearly in one or two sentences.
Green can be said to be a lover. In his 87 years of long life, there are five more important women. The first, of course, was his wife, Vivienne. In order to catch up with this dream lover, Green wrote more than 2,000 love letters to Vivienne. He converted to Catholicism in order to be able to marry her (Vivienne was Catholic). This incident had a profound impact on Green: first, with the help of Vivienne, he had a deep understanding of Catholic doctrine, which laid a solid foundation for his creation of novels; because his works contain Catholic ideas such as sin and redemption, he is therefore known as the Catholic writer. But Green considers himself not a Catholic writer, but a Catholic novelist.
They married and had a son and a daughter, but Green soon got tired of this monotonous family life. For Green, the most terrible thing in life is not death, but the boredom that is more terrible than death. Whether to seek death, or to live a more exciting life, this extreme attitude of not seeking the middle ground is Green’s philosophy of life. It is also this attitude towards life that runs through Green’s adult life. He travels constantly, covering five continents. He always goes to the most dangerous places, and always wants to gamble on whether he can survive.
A restless soul is obviously trying to anchor in the harbor of marriage and faith, but the excitement passes, followed by deeper depression. So Green moved out to find a quiet place to live. At Green’s rented place, he met the second woman in his life: Dorothy. Dorothy was an unmarried woman who lived with her sick mother.
The days when Dorothy and Green were together were the happiest in her life. So when Green moves on, her sky falls: She starts drinking heavily, and soon becomes fat, killing time in a hopeless life.
The most important lover in Green’s life is Catherine, and “The End of Love” is based on the relationship between Green and her, and is dedicated to her. Green’s third biographer, Anthony Mahler, pointed out in his biography “Swords Out”: Catherine is the source of Green’s creativity. Green and Catherine were forty-two years old when they fell in love and were already a famous writer; Catherine was thirty-year-old and a mother of five children. Catherine was born into a wealthy family in New York and was the most graceful of her peers. At the age of eighteen, she unexpectedly married Henry whom she had only known for three days.
In 1946, Catherine wrote to Green, saying that she was going to convert to Catholicism because of the influence of Green’s novels, and wanted to ask him to be her godfather. Green agreed, but on the day of the baptism, Green couldn’t go because of something, so he asked his wife to come forward to replace him. After his wife returned home and described the beautiful Protestant girl to him, Green arranged to meet Catherine.
Catherine was attracted by Green’s passion and talent and fell in love, but her love with Green did not deceive her husband. Henry knew about their relationship from the beginning. Green is often a guest at their house, and Henry treats him with courtesy. While falling in love with Green, Catherine did not neglect her husband. She still sat hand in hand with her husband and listened to the radio, and they never separated into two bedrooms. Green is her lover and her husband is her best friend.
Catherine was happiest when Green was by her side and Henry was waiting for her at home. All Henry wants is how to make her happy, he has no jealousy or anger. He is determined to be the best husband in the world. As long as Catherine was happy, he was happy. He didn’t let the words possessive, manly pride, and jealousy cloud his mind. Catherine wrote in a letter to her sister: “I have never known anyone in this world who is more tolerant than Henry, and who has his broad mind.” Although Green persuaded Catherine and Henry to divorce several times , but it is impossible for her to leave Henry, because Henry gives her a sense of security and is her home. Perhaps there is a deeper reason, Catherine has a premonition: her relationship with Green will not last long.
Green’s relationship with her lasted 13 years, from 1946 to 1959. Green is dependent on Catherine both physically and mentally. Green would have committed suicide in the 1950s had it not been for Catherine, as Green suffers from severe depressive dysphoria (referring to periodic periods of high or low mood). Green’s grandfather suffered from this disease, and Green’s parents were married by consanguineous relatives, which made Green’s heart more sensitive and fragile.
Catherine is the woman who caused Vivien and Green to officially separate: When Vivien stumbles upon Green’s fiery love letter to Catherine, she realizes that Green’s heart is gone, and there is no point in living with a body. But they have never divorced because they are Catholics. When Vivienne finally saw Green turn his head away without even looking back, Vivienne was in tears and her heart was bleeding. But Green still did his father’s duty to the two children, and his property after his death was distributed to the two children.
A subtle point of the relationship between Green and Catherine is that during the duration of their relationship as lovers, Green and Catherine had other lovers, and they were jealous of each other because of this. Worst of all is Green, who allows himself another lover but prevents Catherine from having another. Green’s possessiveness and jealousy finally make Catherine realize that escape is the only way out. For this reason, they have both the sweetness of cheating and the pain of betrayal.
Green’s love for Catherine lasted until the end of Catherine’s life, and even continued until the end of Green’s life. Catherine is Green’s confidante and spiritual confidant. Green’s letter to Catherine: “I love you more than I love Vivienne, Dorothy and Anita, not even Eve can take my love from you.” Nothing and Nobody Can resist the love between them. Catherine was the love of Green’s life, and for many years he fell “wildly, madly, hopelessly” under her skirt. Shakespeare’s description of love applies to Grimm: “The lover’s eye pecks out the eagle’s eye.” In the beginning, Catherine’s love is the sunshine of Grimm’s life; in the end, his winter of despair.
In the latter part of Catherine’s life, due to alcoholism and other reasons, her good face and health were destroyed. During her serious illness, she refused Green to visit her, and only let her husband stay with her, because she did not want Green to see her seriously ill. It was Henry who stayed by her bed every day, accompanying her through the last moments of her life. Maybe the only love that accepts all disappointments, failures, and betrayals is the ultimate love?
After Catherine died, Green wrote a letter of condolences. Henry wrote back to Green: “You were the last one I wrote to. Because it was the hardest to write to you. I thought a lot, but I still don’t know what to say. You shouldn’t blame yourself, of course, you gave I bring pain, but who can guarantee that I have never brought pain to others in my life? You have also brought happiness, and it is difficult to do simple addition and subtraction in life. But what you gave Catherine, others cannot give (I don’t know exactly what it is). It can’t be said that this thing changed her life, but it can be said that it made her a deeper emotional person. Let’s meet, next time you Let me know when you get back to England.” What a generous gentleman!
I don’t know if it’s a coincidence: Green and Henry both died in 1991, three months apart.
Green’s fourth lover was Swedish actress Anita. Anita has everything a perfect woman has: beauty, genius, intelligence, language gift (proficient in English and French), calm and sexy nature. Had it not been for Anita’s reluctance to pursue her acting career abroad and her desire to raise her children in Switzerland, perhaps her relationship with Green would have been sealed forever. They were lovers from 1955 to 1958. The relationship between the two of them made the relationship between Green and Catherine even more difficult and unsustainable.
Green’s last lover was Eve. They dated for more than 30 years, and Eve accompanied Green until the end of his life (a few days before Graham Green died, Eve accompanied him in the provincial hospital in Vivi, Switzerland); It continues until the end of Eve’s life, ten years after Green’s death. For the first fourteen years of Green and Eve’s relationship, Eve’s husband was unaware. After he knew it, it must have brought him endless humiliation and pain. But he couldn’t make it clear, because if Eve had to choose, she would definitely choose Green. Green and Eve live together in Antibes, but they never live together, they each have their own apartment. Green writes every morning, and Eve comes to him around noon. The two go to lunch at their favorite restaurants together, and take Eve’s dog out for walks or meet friends in the afternoon. Eve always had Green’s supper ready before returning to her house around six o’clock in the afternoon. In the evenings, Green read or revised manuscripts.
In addition to having five important women, Green has many other affairs that flash across the night sky like meteors. Among other things, Green visited prostitutes. At that time, for a gentleman, whoring a prostitute was a taboo and a crime, but Green did not regard prostitution as a disgraceful thing at all. On November 28, 1932, he asked a question in his diary. He didn’t ask whether it was better to be a wife or a lover. He asked whether it was better to be a prostitute or a lover, because the duty of a prostitute is to please people, and a lover has to be pleased. , so, he thought, sometimes, maybe a paid sex partner would be better. During World War II, London was full of prostitutes. Although Green had a wife in the country and a lover in London, patronizing prostitutes was common. In many of Green’s works, such as “The End of the Love”, “The Comedian”, “The Honorary Consul”, “The Heart of the Problem” and other novels, Green describes the hero’s process of finding a prostitute on the street, which is obviously his own experience .
In October 2005, Time magazine selected the 100 best English novels in the world since 1923. Graham Greene has two novels selected, namely “Power and Glory” and “The Heart of the Question”. As a modern classic writer, Greene has won recognition and praise from readers. But it is such a heavyweight writer whose private life is complicated and chaotic. Green as a writer and Green behind the halo are split.