Why Graham Greene May Never Have Won the Nobel Prize

Why Graham Greene May Never Have Won the Nobel Prize

Graham Greene (1904-1991), the gifted British novelist (“The End the Affair,” “Our Man in Havana,” “The Third Man”), never won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and this failure “has sometimes been ascribed to the untimely anti-semitism of his pre-war novels,” to quote Professor John Carey of Oxford.

Greene’s anti-semitism was “casual,” like T.S. Eliot’s and G.K. Chesterton’s; as Carey points out, “it was typical of Greene’s class and time.” (By the way, I have a letter from T.S. Eliot apologizing for the anti-semitic tone of some of his poems.)

Occasionally Greene would write “entertainments”-thrillers. In one of them, “A Gun for Sale,” there’s a “venomous Jewish industrialist, Sir Marcus, in league with international Jewish financiers and armaments manufacturers.” The Hollywood film made from the book, “This Gun for Hire,” with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, did not identify the evil industrialist’s religion or ethnicity.

In another of Greene’s “entertainments,” “Brighton Rock,” there’s a Jewish gang leader named Colleoni: “He looked as a man might look who owned the whole world…the cash registers and the policemen, Parliament and the laws which say ‘This is Right and this is Wrong.'”

Professor Carey comments: Hitler “would have applauded Greene’s portrait of Colleoni….”

The subsequent film, “Brighton Rock,” starring Richard Attenborough, did not suggest that Colleoni was Jewish.

Carey’s conclusion: “In retrospect it seems regrettable that Greene should have published material that allowed such [negative] inferences to be drawn at a time when the persecution of Jews in Germany was already well advanced and many refugees were seeking asylum abroad.”

In 1981, Greene won the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society, a high honor.

I’m glad he never won the Nobel.


Detecting Terrorists at Airports


The following is about the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Look at the photos full screen and you’ll feel as though you are really there.


hold your cursor and you can move to any location, then change pictures and do the same. It scrolls up down, left right


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