Waugh on Greene

In a Guardian column earlier this week, Robert McCrum cites Evelyn Waugh in support of his somewhat eccentric choice of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair as one of the 100 greatest novels in English.

McCrum admits Greene has written better books but finds Affair the best combination of his several strands of work — from entertainments and politics to polemics and religion. He cites Waugh in support of his choice:

Waugh’s review of The End of the Affair of 6 September 1951 in the magazine Month stands up well to the test of time. In his new novel, writes Waugh, “Mr Greene has chosen another contemporary form, domestic, romantic drama of the type of Brief Encounter, and has transformed that in his own inimitable way.” Waugh added that the story was “a singularly beautiful and moving one”.

The article also quotes from Waugh’s correspondence urging Greene not to give up on his religious themes but, as McCrum notes, Affair was Greene’s last book to contain any serious consideration of religion.

An earlier McCrum post explains why he also included Scoop
on his list.

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