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A World of My Own: A Dream Diary


The acclaimed British author Graham Greene has selected scenes from his diary of more than 800 pages, begun in 1965 & ended in 1989, which he calls My Own World. He explains: It can be a comfort sometimes to know that there is a world which is purely ones own — the experience in that world, of travel, danger, happiness, is shared with no one else. In a sense it is an autobiography, beginning with Happiness & ending with Death, of a rather bizarre life during the last third of a century (the wars described...
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The acclaimed British author Graham Greene has selected scenes from his diary of more than 800 pages, begun in 1965 & ended in 1989, which he calls My Own World. He explains: It can be a comfort sometimes to know that there is a world which is purely ones own — the experience in that world, of travel, danger, happiness, is shared with no one else. In a sense it is an autobiography, beginning with Happiness & ending with Death, of a rather bizarre life during the last third of a century (the wars described here belong to the sixties, not the forties).

For the last third of his life Graham Greene nurtured the private world of his dreams in extensive diaries. In his last months, he drew heavily on them to create this book, designed to be published posthumously. As a kind of farewell, his "autobiography" offers an unabashed glimpse into his inner creativity.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Greene (1904-1991) had extraordinarily vivid, fertile, inventive dreams, judging from these excerpts from the dream diaries he kept between 1965 and 1989. The novelist/essayist's dreams of espionage included a mission to Nazi Germany, where he rammed a poison cigarette up Joseph Goebbels's nose, and a secret assignation with Kim Philby. In other dreams he met three popes; took a disagreeable boat ride to Bogota with Henry James; conversed with Castro, Khrushchev, Oliver Cromwell, Jean Cocteau and Solzhenitsyn; witnessed a massacre of children in Syria; produced a blank-verse play with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. He dreamed of his mother's death, of a talking kitten, of committing murder and robbery. This curious, entertaining diary lets us glimpse the feverish inner life of an intensely private man, providing an uncanny mirror-image of Greene's novelistic obsessions, insecurities and moral preoccupations. In the introduction he divulges that a number of his short stories evolved directly from dreams. (Oct.)
Library Journal
For 25 years novelist Greene recorded his dreams. His interior dream work played a substantial role in his writing, helping him to overcome writing blocks and even inspiring a few of his short stories. The dreams in this slim, posthumous volume were carefully chosen by Graham during the last months of his life. The world they represent is Greene's alone, because, as he says in the introduction, there are no witnesses. There are, of course, some impressive personalities, equally impressive locales, and scenes of despair and danger, delight and happiness. The reader should be prepared to meet, fleetingly, such notables as Sartre, Henry James, Solzhenitsyn, King Leopold, and Pope John Paul II. The locale may be the Vatican garden, a house party, a river trip, or a room with Goebbels sitting in a gilt armchair. The dreams are told simply, without adornment, yet they are brimming with effort and energy; this is a creative firmament not entirely at rest. For all those who dream.-Robert L. Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., Ind.
From the Publisher
"Simply as likeable a little book as I've read in years, funny and moving and always marvellously subtle in its intelligence, the work of a craftsman who knows his craft so deeply that nothing he touches escapes it." — The Globe & Mail

"Delightfully endearing little book." —The Montreal Gazette

"This little book honours what in so many ways Green honoured in his long lifetime of writing: the value of mystery." —William Trevor

From Barnes & Noble
Written between 1965 and 1989 and selected by Graham himself to be published after his death, these autobiographical dream "scenes" offer a rare glimpse into the esteemed author's inner sources of creativity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788162985
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Pages: 116

Meet the Author

Graham Greene was born in Berknamsted, England, in 1904. He died in Vesey, Switzerland, April 3rd, 1991.


Known for his espionage thrillers set in exotic locales, Graham Greene is the writer who launched a thousand travel journalists. But although Greene produced some unabashedly commercial works -- he called them "entertainments," to distinguish them from his novels -- even his escapist fiction is rooted in the gritty realities he encountered around the globe. "Greeneland" is a place of seedy bars and strained loyalties, of moral dissolution and physical decay.

Greene spent his university years at Oxford "drunk and debt-ridden," and claimed to have played Russian roulette as an antidote to boredom. At age 21 he converted to Roman Catholicism, later saying, "I had to find a measure my evil against." His first published novel, The Man Within, did well enough to earn him an advance from his publishers, but though Greene quit his job as a Times subeditor to write full-time, his next two novels were unsuccessful. Finally, pressed for money, he set out to write a work of popular fiction. Stamboul Train (also published as The Orient Express) was the first of many commercial successes.

Throughout the 1930s, Greene wrote novels, reviewed books and movies for the Spectator, and traveled through eastern Europe, Liberia, and Mexico. One of his best-known works, Brighton Rock, was published during this time; The Power and the Glory, generally considered Greene's masterpiece, appeared in 1940. Along with The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair, they cemented Greene's reputation as a serious novelist -- though George Orwell complained about Greene's idea "that there is something rather distingué in being damned; Hell is a sort of high-class nightclub, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only."

During World War II, Greene was stationed in Sierra Leone, where he worked in an intelligence capacity for the British Foreign Office under Kim Philby, who later defected to the Soviet Union. After the war, Greene continued to write stories, plays, and novels, including The Quiet American, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, and The Captain and the Enemy. For a time, he worked as a screenwriter for MGM, producing both original screenplays and scripts adapted from his fiction.

He also continued to travel, reporting from Vietnam, Haiti, and Panama, among other places, and he became a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy in Central America. Some biographers have suggested that his friendships with Communist leaders were a ploy, and that he was secretly gathering intelligence for the British government. The more common view is that Greene's leftist leanings were part of his lifelong sympathy with the world's underdogs -- what John Updike called his "will to compassion, an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist. Its unit is the individual, not any class."

But if Greene's politics were sometimes difficult to decipher, his stature as a novelist has seldom been in doubt, in spite of the light fiction he produced. Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh, and R. K. Narayan paid tribute to his work, and William Golding prophesied: "He will be read and remembered as the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety."

Good To Know

Greene's philandering ways were legendary; he frequently visited prostitutes and had several mistresses, including Catherine Walston, who converted to Catholicism after reading The Power and the Glory and wrote to Greene asking him to be her godfather. After a brief period of correspondence, the two met, and their relationship inspired Greene's novel The End of the Affair.

Greene was a film critic, screenwriter, and avid moviegoer, and critics have sometimes praised the cinematic quality of his style. His most famous screenplay was The Third Man, which he cowrote with director Carol Reed. Recently, new film adaptations have been made of Greene's novels The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. Greene's work has also formed the basis for an opera: Our Man in Havana, composed by Malcolm Williamson.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Henry Graham Greene (birth name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berkhamsted, England
    1. Date of Death:
      April 3, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      Vevey, Switzerland

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