Henry Graham Greene
Graham Greene (1904 – 1991) was an author, journalist, playwright, literary critic and, primarily during World War II, an MI6 spy. He was born at St. John's House, a boarding house of Berkhamsted School when his father, Charles Henry Greene, was housemaster there. Graham later boarded at the school and had a rather unhappy early childhood; bullied and depressed, he attempted suicide multiple times. It would become clear that Greene suffered from bipolar disorder. In 1920 – at 16 years of age – he was psychoanalysed for six months in London and returned to Berkhamsted as a day student. He went on to study history as an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford for which he was awarded a second-class degree.It is in Oxford that his literary career began, albeit poorly. In 1925 he published Babbling April, a volume of poetry which was not well received. One year later, after graduating, Greene started his career as a professional writer, working as an unpaid apprentice at the Nottingham Journal. During his time in Nottingham he converted to Catholicism and was baptised in February 1926. His religious beliefs became an integral theme to his literary works. He was to become Assistant Editor at the London Times before he published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929. The success of this book led him to quit his job as a journalist, though he continued to work freelance to supplement his income. A few unsuccessful novels later, Greene wrote Stamboul Train in 1932 (renamed Orient Express upon publication in the United States) which was adapted to film by Paul Martin. Some of his later and most famous works include Brighton Rock (1938)and The Power and The Glory (1940). His writing often dealt with suffering and unhappiness, particularly on an individual and personal level, channeling this through heavily Christian themes of salvation, damnation, sin, grace, good and evil. Despite the right-wing leanings present in his earlier texts, his travel through third-world countries confronted him with socio-political realities that shifted his political critique to the left.His love of traveling to remote places led his sister, Elisabeth, to recruit him into the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). During World War II, he was posted to Sierra Leone and his supervisor in the SIS was the now-famous Soviet double agent Kim Philby. He wrote some travel books in the 1930s, Journey Without Maps and The Lawless Roads and the places and characters he encountered were also weaved into his fiction novels.In 1991 he died of Leukemia in Vevey, Switzerland.