The first critical evaluation of Greene's novels since his death in 1991, Graham Greene's Fictions: The Virtues of Extremity is a reconsideration of the author's major literary achievements, as well as a recasting of his overall worldview. Hitherto, most criticism of Greene's fiction has forced him into the constricting category of the "Catholic novelist," consequently flattening the peaks and valleys of his uncompromising vision of life. Graham Greene's Fictions is Cates Baldridge's response to this critical disservice—an exploration that ignores the conventional preconceptions about Greene's fiction and reveals him to be one of the leading British novelists of the twentieth century.
More than a general assessment, Graham Greene's Fictions offers a fresh interpretation of familiar texts and attempts to discover within Greene's work a structure of thought that has not yet been seen with sufficient clarity. Each chapter focuses on a major aspect of Greene's vision as expressed through his novels. Greene's caustic attitude toward middle-class orthodoxies and his critiques of the three reigning ideologies of his time--Christianity, Marxism, and liberalism—are just two of the areas that Baldridge explores. Although five of Greene's novels are singled out for extensive evaluation—Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, The Comedians, and The Honorary Consul—what Baldridge attempts is nothing less than a comprehensive re-imagination of "Greeneland's" fictional topography.
Written for both the scholar and the general audience, this innovative study successfully captures the attention of all readers whether it is the first or the fifty-first work of Greene criticism one has read.