One journey, many texts: genre, place, and character In Graham Greene's works on Mexico

Ransom Carty, Roberto Lawrence, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Bouchard, Larry, E0:AS-Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Morris, David, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Fogarty, Gerald, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Hart, David, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

One Journey, Many Texts: Genre, Place, and Character in Graham Greene's Works on Mexico, is a comparative genre study of two books that came out of a trip to Mexico Greene undertook on assignment in the late 30s, ostensibly to investigate the government's persecution of the church. The Lawless Roads is a chronicle of the journey, which provides much material for the novel The Power and the Glory.

The thesis is that despite their many contrasting sensibilities, both texts are "about" Greene's sense of failing domestic-family relationships, under the cover of forms like travel-narrative, memoir, hagiography, confession, social drama, pilgrimage, etc. The main trope is "home and homelessness." Greene's chronicle seems written from the perspective and mood of adolescence; it is a book both on being on the road and on its being "lawless." On his journey, Greene not only undergoes a vocational confirmation which defines him not only professionally but socially and religiously as well, but also places himself moving away from "home," in a strange limbo between the familiar and the strange. In the novel, contrariwise, the absence of home—which goes hand in hand with a denial of childhood and parenthood—is an obsession of which many cases are presented. The chase or hunt of the whiskey priest is cyclical; the portrayal of disrupted home is almost static, which permits, paradoxically, a revalorization of home.

The form of the dissertation is five panel-like chapters that play off each other synchronically as well as proceed diachronically. A comparative study of place, and of narrative ethics—chapters 4 and 5, respectively—together are the telos of this work, whereas the first three chapters permit an aesthetic, generational, political, and religious contextualization of Greene. This study, then, may also be taken as a Life.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Greene, Graham -- 1904-1991
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