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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Reacting Against Bloomsbury

John Macarthur recalls meeting Graham Greene on the eve of his 86th birthday and finding him disgusted with US foreign policy. That apart, here's a fascinating comment:

“I don’t think one’s novels should be too political. But, I mean, politics do come into them. Politics come into our lives. I think to exclude politics from a novel is excluding a whole aspect of life. It’s keeping a lot of people out of one’s life. Virginia Woolf, I mean, certainly wouldn’t have introduced politics. I began to get a little tired of Virginia Woolf, you know. Mrs. Dalloway going shopping up Regent Street and the thoughts which went through her head. I reacted rather against her by being a storyteller. You see, my mother was a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson, and I’d like to think that I’ve followed in his tradition. I’ve reacted against the Bloomsbury circle.”

Finally, he asks the writer if his persistent criticism of Americans meant that he’d never met any he liked. “Yes,” Greene replied with a grin. “But they never seemed quite American.”


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