Henry Green vs Graham Greene

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Same generation, same name(-ish), different books. Greene seems a bit unfashionable now; Green's always been nearer to cult, but that cult seems bigger (or maybe the bookish world is smaller? Or maybe someone who doesn't look like A Major Author suits us better?)

idk. Voting for Green.

Poll Results

Henry Green 9
Graham Greene 2

woof, Friday, 8 April 2016 15:30 (seven years ago) link

I'm reading "Doting" at the moment! Well, not precisely this moment.

Terry Micawber (Tom D.), Friday, 8 April 2016 15:32 (seven years ago) link

I'll set up Tom Green vs Green Gartside on one of the other boards and we'll have a green of greens poll when we've found the best Green(e)s.

woof, Friday, 8 April 2016 15:33 (seven years ago) link

i've only read Greene. tho i suspect i'd prefer Green, i'm quite partial to Graham's stuff when i'm actually reading it. then i finish the book and don't bother reading any more of him for 3 or 4 years at a go.

disco Polo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 8 April 2016 15:33 (seven years ago) link

Yorke all the way

Chicamaw (Ward Fowler), Friday, 8 April 2016 15:35 (seven years ago) link

Henry Green is a goddamn master.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 8 April 2016 15:38 (seven years ago) link

Greene might be more unfashionable from looking at what people read on the tube as evidence he is still way more read than Green. Plus there was that so so adaptation of Brighton Rock a couple of years ago. Totally didn't care for chasing up on the book.

Green, well, not many wrote better at the time. Rhys, Woolf or Lowry maybe? Lots to read though, just not Greene.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 8 April 2016 15:47 (seven years ago) link

Although idk, is Greene funny? Just need some laughter..

xyzzzz__, Friday, 8 April 2016 16:02 (seven years ago) link

He's a good dialogue writer.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 8 April 2016 16:03 (seven years ago) link


xyzzzz__, Friday, 8 April 2016 16:05 (seven years ago) link

Funny Greene: Our Man in Havana and Travels with My Aunt

not funny in spite of the title: The Comedians

Brad C., Friday, 8 April 2016 16:10 (seven years ago) link

can't imagine reading funny Greene, he always comes across as the most po-faced of miserable gits

disco Polo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 8 April 2016 16:11 (seven years ago) link

Our Man In Havana is very funny but it's the only one I've read and now I'm kinda bummed out to discover it's not all like that.

Matt DC, Friday, 8 April 2016 18:19 (seven years ago) link

i think Monsignor Quixote was wryly amusing but i read it about 30 years ago

disco Polo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 8 April 2016 18:22 (seven years ago) link


disco Polo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 8 April 2016 18:22 (seven years ago) link

I love them both, can't choose

The writer's-writer's writer ftw.

Yer Blois (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 9 April 2016 01:21 (seven years ago) link

loving was a highlight of a very well-selected modern literature course i took as a college freshman, it's stayed with me for a long time.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 9 April 2016 02:20 (seven years ago) link

of Greene (I've read) The Third Man and Brighton Rock, both excellent suspense narratives, the latter more comic/'low-mimetic' incl. some brilliantly observed details (the children running around in paper sailors' hats will haunt me) -- The Power & the Glory aimed a bit higher and I don't think entirely hit the mark, though it had its moments

of Green, idk the first thing

bernard snowy, Saturday, 9 April 2016 17:22 (seven years ago) link

of greene, the power and the glory was a decent-to-v-good school set text

of green, concluding is a flat-out masterpiece

i shouldn't vote, but i'll vote green

And the cry rang out all o'er the town / Good Heavens! Tay is down (imago), Saturday, 9 April 2016 17:44 (seven years ago) link

otm on concluding.

Terry Micawber (Tom D.), Saturday, 9 April 2016 17:47 (seven years ago) link

Concluding, Blindness, Loving, Party Going -- all masterpieces, even the one that isn't a gerund.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 9 April 2016 17:47 (seven years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 14 April 2016 00:01 (seven years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 15 April 2016 00:01 (seven years ago) link

i actually started re-reading loving today thanks to this thread, i'll probably have more to say about it soon

call all destroyer, Friday, 15 April 2016 00:07 (seven years ago) link

read Doting bcz I hadn't and it was lying around. Damn, there's something about him, really - there were stretches where it felt like a fine but nothing-special mid-century English social novel (handled with neat formal tricks) but then these moments where it's utterly bleak and death-ridden, pulls away into into a void staring at the pointlessness of its own action.

woof, Friday, 15 April 2016 18:49 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

I'vve reading Brighton Rock after tearing through Our Man in Havana and The Ministry of Fear.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 23 October 2017 01:47 (six years ago) link

the first sentence and the last of ‘brighton rock’ are among the greatest of my reading life.

estela, Monday, 23 October 2017 01:56 (six years ago) link

eight months pass...

"She's a nice girl I agree yet I also know she's not nearly good enough for you. What are we to do about it, that is the question?"
"To be or not to be Mamma."
"Philip don't dramatise yourself for heaven's sake. This is no time for Richard II."

Alan Alba (Tom D.), Wednesday, 4 July 2018 16:05 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

wow found out last week that Vintage had done 3 collections of his novels.
Looked him up on amazon after seeing a separate single novel on the shelves of the local 2nd hand/remainder shop last week.
Went back in to look at the shelf to see if it was there, or maybe to look at the more current edition stuff. But did go and look at where i saw the book last week and found a collection there instead Loving, Living, P:arty Going and it was teh same price as teh single thing which was gone.
There's lovely for you.

Stevolende, Monday, 3 September 2018 15:38 (five years ago) link

There are two three book Green collections, issued by Picador in the UK to begin with - the Living Loving Party Going set seems to be pretty common, the Nothing Doting Blindness one not so much.



Ward Fowler, Monday, 3 September 2018 15:44 (five years ago) link

You missed out possibly the best one of the lot...


Scottish Country Twerking (Tom D.), Monday, 3 September 2018 15:50 (five years ago) link

Unless Picador didn't publish this?

Scottish Country Twerking (Tom D.), Monday, 3 September 2018 15:52 (five years ago) link

Yeah, that's one of the later Vintage issues, don't think Picador ever did that set (if they did, I've never seen one)

Ward Fowler, Monday, 3 September 2018 15:57 (five years ago) link

Yes, looks like they didn't, that's weird.

Scottish Country Twerking (Tom D.), Monday, 3 September 2018 15:59 (five years ago) link

three months pass...

"Passing through this he shuddered, a sense of foreboding gathered in him. What will they grow up to he thought in mind — they'll work, they'll marry, they'll work harder, have children and go on working, they'll die. He shuddered. Then he forgot all about them and thought about himself".

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christ (Tom D.), Wednesday, 19 December 2018 19:11 (four years ago) link

Is that LIVING? It's great.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 19 December 2018 23:31 (four years ago) link

among several great novels

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 19 December 2018 23:36 (four years ago) link

Yes, "Living", peerless stuff.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christ (Tom D.), Wednesday, 19 December 2018 23:37 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

Irritatingly this is all I can find of this BBC profile of Henry Green, but I suppose it's better than nothing. Can't help but notice how many women there are speaking fondly of him.


The First Time Ever I Saw Gervais (Tom D.), Friday, 17 November 2023 15:02 (three weeks ago) link

Thanks for the excavation, had now idea such a thing existed. Would definitely like to see the full prog.

Re: Henry and the women - I wonder if they spoke to Elaine Dundy? In a preface to the Virago reissue of Dundee's first novel The Dud Avocado, Rachel Cooke writes: "The finding of a voice for the book - and it is a remarkable voice - she credited to her friend the novelist Henry Green. At their lunches together, she made it her business to make him laugh. 'I began to recognise that I was hearing a voice that was me but wasn't me', she wrote in her 2001 memoir, Life Itself! 'It was a voice Henry gave me, yet I'd heard it before.'"

Ward Fowler, Friday, 17 November 2023 17:09 (three weeks ago) link

Fabulous teeth.

Really nice discovery, thanks Tom D

xyzzzz__, Friday, 17 November 2023 18:25 (three weeks ago) link

His Paris Review interview is a trip too---the whole thing is in his remarkable posthumous collection Surviving, but here's a PR excerpt for us non-subscribers (interviewer Terry Southern thinks Pack My Bag is an autobiographical novel, not a memoir, but Green has no prob running with that or anything else)---and we're off!

dow, Saturday, 18 November 2023 02:31 (two weeks ago) link

There is an amusing letter from Leo Robson in this week’s TLS about the origins of “cunty fingers”

Green recalled a former manservant who volunteered alongside him in the Auxiliary Fire Service quoting an elderly butler who, when asked what he most liked in the world, replied: “Lying in bed on a summer morning, with the window open, listening to the church bells, eating buttered toast with cunty fingers”. The passage prompted George Plimpton, the Paris Review editor, to hold a meeting. After screwing up his courage to say the word aloud, then, for the sake of clarity, chalking it up on a blackboard, he was given possible alternatives – all in the end rejected – by Jean Stein, Robert Silvers, Tom Guinzburg (who “said that any book with such an origin story was bound ‘to end up in the bins’”), and Peter Matthiessen, among them “crapy”, “shitty”, “pissy”, “hincty”, and – in a confusion with “cottony”, referring to “navel fluff” – “wolly” [all sic].

Piedie Gimbel, Saturday, 18 November 2023 09:40 (two weeks ago) link

yes, enjoyed watching this this morning. interesting to see how different people had quite different impressions of him. perhaps that’s normal but it seemed quite heightened. the solitary, the gregarious, gentle, perhaps observant of others’ behaviour to something near a fault (the office store cupboard anecdote). making me want to go back and read him again. wonderful writer.

Fizzles, Saturday, 18 November 2023 12:08 (two weeks ago) link

looool. it’s a wonderful phrase, those alternatives/remedies are hilarious.

Fizzles, Saturday, 18 November 2023 12:09 (two weeks ago) link

And he tells PR that's where he got the idea for Loving: "I saw the book in a flash." !

dow, Sunday, 19 November 2023 01:20 (two weeks ago) link

...and the servant who gave him the idea for Loving remained a regular visitor to the Yorkes’ house in Knightsbridge, long after Green had fallen out of touch with the high society of his youth.
I hope this is true! Some good points in here, about Loving and Green:

dow, Sunday, 19 November 2023 01:33 (two weeks ago) link

"They danced again and again until, as the long night went on they had got into a state of unthinking happiness perhaps".

How old Cary Grant? (Tom D.), Friday, 24 November 2023 13:35 (two weeks ago) link

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