Anatomies, Perspectives, Saints – The Power and the Glory

We’re delighted to share further details of what to expect from our guests Jonathan Wise, Yuliya Kazanova and Martyn Sampson at our Cardiff BookTalk event on Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory tomorrow evening (17 November).

Book your free ticket for this online event:

Jonathan Wise – Why Did Graham Greene Write The Power and the Glory? A Bibliographer’s Perspective

Graham Greene was a mass of contradictions. We are told frequently that he jealously guarded his private life yet he gave over 60 published interviews. In Marie-Francoise Allain’s book-length series of interviews with him she writes, ‘Catholicism for him is a private affair not to be discussed’, yet a whole chapter is devoted to a revealing question and answer session on that very subject.

Did he write The Power and the Glory with an underlying intellectual detachment: in his words, ‘to a thesis’? He insisted, on more than one occasion, that he had no intention of writing a novel when he went to Mexico in 1938 which initially produced the travelogue The Lawless Roads. He had enjoyed only moderate monetary success as a novelist thus far and was even not wholly convinced at the time that his future lay in writing fiction.

Greene claims, in Allain’s book, that his experiences in Mexico provided the emotional dimension to his faith which had been missing since the religious epiphany he had experienced at school as a 13-year old. Is there the thread of a deeply personal statement contained in The Power and the Glory which has never been remarked upon? I will suggest that it can be found at the very end of the novel.

Jon Wise has a life-long interest in Graham Greene and his writings. He has co-authored and published a two volume bibliographic guide to the works of the writer and a third is currently being preparing for publication by Bloomsbury. He has lectured on Greene and also appeared on local and national radio. He is a Graham Greene Birthplace Trustee and manages the trust’s website. Jon is an ex-secondary school teacher, now retired. He holds a doctorate in Naval History from the University of Exeter and has published extensively on the subject.

Yuliya Kazanova – Anatomy of a Greeneian novel: The Power and the Glory

What makes a novel by Graham Greene so powerful and instantly recognisable? In this talk, I would like to explore the inner workings of his seminal novel, The Power and the Glory, tracing how Greene appropriates the generic framework of a Catholic novel and Greek tragedy, and uses the resulting tension to articulate his paradoxical perception of faith and tragic vision of the human condition

Yuliya Kazanova holds a PhD in English from the University of Leeds. She taught at the University of Leeds and now works at the European Languages and Cultures Department in the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her research interests include twentieth-century English fiction and contemporary Ukrainian literature. She is a Chartered Linguist and translated into Ukrainian The Culture of Spontaneity: Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America by Daniel Belgrad. Her thesis on Graham Greene won Leeds Early Career Publishing Prize, and she is now working on publishing it as an open-access monograph with White Rose University Press.

Martyn Sampson – Saints and sainthood in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory

Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory (1940) presents insight into different and contrasting forms of human development, including sainthood. The tools for achieving such a condition sometimes emerge from unlikely persons and places. This talk considers who the saints of Greene’s novel are, and whose ways of interpreting human experience might be most helpful in religious and secular terms.

Martyn Sampson took his PhD on Graham Greene in the Department of English in the University of the West of England, where he taught. He directed the 2018 and 2019 Graham Greene International Festivals, and has just published with Fordham University Press his book, Between Form and Faith: Graham Greene and the Catholic Novel.


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