Greene, Graham: The Honorary Consul
(researched by Leah Snyder)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Greene, Graham. The Honorary Consul. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. Copyright: Graham Greene

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

First American Edition published in trade cloth binding with dust jacket.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

159 leaves; pp. [14] 15-47 [48-50] 51-101 [102-104] 105-155 [156-158]159-214 [215-216] 217-315 [5].

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

Includes publisher's advertisement for short stories, essays, plays, and other novels by Graham Greene. Author's note is after the title page explaining that the characters are not based on specific living people. The author's dedication is to Victoria Ocampo with love. On the page before the novel's beginning there is a quote by Thomas Hardy, "All things merge in one another--good into evil, generosity into justice, religion into politics."

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

Not illustrated.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

Readibility is excellent, large margins make for easy reading. Chapters are numbered and broken into one of five parts of the novel. Each new part of the novel begins with a chapter numbered one.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

Paper is fairly thick, good quality white paper. There are no tears. The paper is wove paper with an even granulated texture, slightly yellowing with age.

11 Description of binding(s)

The binding is bluish cloth, calico texture cloth, not embossed. The writing on the spine is gold stamping: THE HONORARY CONSUL/ GRAHAM GREENE/ SIMON AND SCHUSTER. The binging is worn at the top, fading from its bluish color into a brown. The dust jacket is included.

12 Transcription of title page


13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Information on manuscript holdings is not availible at this time.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

The dust jacket has an orange fading into a lighter yellow background with GRAHAM/ GREENE/ THE/ HONORARY/ CONSUL transcribed in black. One the back of the dust jacket is a picture of Graham Greene. Inscribed on the fly leaf is a description of the novel and a brief biography of the author.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

Book Club edition in 1973 2000 reissue coming out with and introduction by Michael Korda sources: RLIN and WorldCat

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

Publisher's Weekly reported for November 12th, that over 85,000 copies were in print.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Pocket Books, 1973 London: Bodley Head 1973 Taiwanese pirated edition 1973 Edito-Serville; Geneva 1973 Viking Penguin, 1973 Gh Hall Large Print, 1973 London, Heneviann, "Collected Edition" ISIS Large Print Books, 1985 Amereon Books, 1991 Buccanneer Books, 1994 sources: WorldCat, Eureka

6 Last date in print?

Active: February 28, 2000 sources: Virgo Books in Print

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

83,700 Books Sold source: Bowker Annual, 1974

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)


9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

"With gathering force and with the total command of his meduim that has made him the most distinguished of living English novelists, Graham Greene draws his characters into the political chaos that lies beneath the surface of South American life." --From the Dust Jacket of The Honorary Consul, Simon and Schuster

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion


12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Movie: "Beyond the Limit" 1983, Paramount Directed by John Mackenzie Starring: Michael Caine Richard Gere Bob Hoskins

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

El Consol honorari. Barcelona: 1995. Ming yu ling shih. Taipie: 1974. Konsul honorarawy. Warszawa: 1975. Kunnia Konsuli. Helsinki: 1973. O consul honorario. Amadora: 1973. Konsulen. Kobenhavn: 1973. De Consul Honorair. Amsterdam: 1973. Der Honorarkonsul. Reinbek bei Hamburg: 1973. Meiyo ry oji. Tokyo: 1974. Konsul shel Khavod. Tel Aviv: 1974. Garb es Konsulas. Vilnius: 1987. Honorarkonsuln. Stockholm: 1973. Qonsul shel Kavod. Tel Aviv: 1974. Po cosni konzul. Novisad: 1976. A tiszteletbeli konzul. Budapest: 1976. Castni Konsul. Ljubljana: 1975. Il Console Onorario. Milano: 1973. Le Consul Honoraire. Paris: 1973. El Consul honorario, Buenos Aires, 1973 sources: WorldCat and Eureka

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

None sources: WorldCat and Eureka

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

For a general biography on Graham Greene refer to the bestseller listing for Travels with My Aunt. That biography, composed by Cynthia Calgaro, deals with the details of his life from birth to death. Whereas, this biography will only focus on Graham Greene's construction of The Honorary Consul. The Honorary Consul was written between 1970-1973, by this time Greene was between the ages of 66 and 69. Little is known about Greene's personal life during this time period. What is known is that he wrote most of the book in Antebes, a small province beyond the French Riviera, and that this novel would be the most difficult of Greene's novels to write. In Greene's autobiography, Ways of Escape, and collection of interviews Graham Greene, the Man of Paradox Greene discusses the events that led up to his development of this novel. The idea for the novel developed from "the cave of the unconsciousness"(Way of Escape, 250). Greene had dreamt about an "American ambassador--favorite of women and a good tennis player?in a bar"(Way, 250). Although the dream itself did not reflect the novel completely, from this image of an ambassador Greene built the story line. Greene says that "the dream lodged inexplicably in my head for months and during those months the figures of Charlie Fortum and Dr. Plarr stole up around the unimportant ambassador of my dream and quietly liquidated him"(Way, 250). Greene chose Corrientes, a province in Buenos Aires, Argentina as the setting of the novel. Greene chose this area because Argentina was bordered by such a strong power at that time, Paraguay. Greene say Paraguay as a place, "under the heavy rule of General Stroessner?where no guerilla organization had been able to grow and it seemed plausible that a small inexperienced group working across the border into Argentina might make the blunder needed for the story"(Way, 251). Unfortunately Greene was too correct in his assumption, soon after starting his novel a Paraguayan consul mistaken for the Paraguayan ambassador was kidnapped as leverage against General Stroessner in attempt to force the release of the Argentine political prisoners. The kidnapping failed when Stoessner refused to release the prisoners claiming that he did not care what happened to the consul. The consul was soon released. In a fear that art was imitating life Greene debated abandoning the work but instead went on with the story, being reassured how right he had been in choosing that area for their "inefficient kidnapping"(Way, 252). Graham Greene traveled around Corrientes for quite a few weeks, observing the area and culture as a background for his novel. In the little time that he had been in Corrientes there had been a kidnapping, the expulsion of a third-world priest from his church, a murder near an airport, the arrest of the Archbishop, bomb discovered in the cathedral, and a family that committed suicide as the father drove his wife and children off into the river (Way, 254). With these images in mind he returned to Antebes to settle down and begin writing his novel. The Honorary Consul ended up being the hardest of Greene's novels to write. He never really felt as though it was going in the right direction until "the last chapter?at last found the freedom of air,"(Way, 254) and the book, much like a plane finally took off finding its place as one of the books that Greene "prefers" of his collection of writings (Man of Paradox, 350). Greene considered it one of his best novels. The book itself became a hit and later was made into a movie called "Beyond the Limit" starring Michael Caine and Richard Gere. Greene never stopped traveling, visiting the world's troubled spots and searching for authentic material for his writing, while writing 300 words per day, to stay in a routine. After working on The Human Factor five years after The Honorary Consul Greene considered giving up on writing because of the tremendous difficulty he had in constructing both books. But, Greene did not quit and instead went on to write close to 20 more books before his death.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The public in 1973 welcomed Graham Greene's novel "The Honorary Consul", which was not surprising based on the acclaim of many of his previous novels. Most readers had fallen for Graham Greene's writing style, from reading other works of his such as "The Power and the Glory," and "Brighton Rock." Yet, since those novels Greene's style had developed into something less desired by the mass market. It almost seemed as though the creativity and emotions of "The Power and the Glory" could not be rekindled. "The Honorary Consul" resparked the public's hope for Greene as a captivating author. Critic P.S. Prescott from Newsweek saw this book as an awakening for both Greene and the public, "Good News: after a dozen years of exasperating on inconsequential fiction, Graham Green has rallied with one of his very best novels?. Graham has not advanced his art or vision by an inch, but in his formal rearrangement of themes, his sculpting of big scenes and small, he has achieved a perfection of form few significant novelist ever attain." The critics raved about Greene's return to his familiar style, and even familiar themes such as Catholicism and politics. As Timothy Foote from Time magazine stated, The Honorary Consul brought readers back to "the familiar mainstream of Greene's work, a melodramatic novel with ?.a mixture of violent action and religious speculation that is simply what Green does best. It is not new, in the sense of a formal departure from customary methods?but neither is it simply more of the same." The great success of this novel is that Greene brought together the expertise of his more popular novels of the past, with a new and innovative way, "reassuring his admirers that the old mastery of setting and suspense and the capacity for sympathy were still intact. To say that it does not touch greatness (as do Brighton Rock and The Power and the Glory) is not to belittle its achievement," Robert Towers, of the New York Review. The Chicago Times critic Henry Kisor presented Greene's book in the simplest of terms, "Here is the fiction and non-fiction that has most stunned, and captivated, exhilarated or otherwise affected me during the last 20 years: 1973 Graham Greene, The Honorary Consul." The public and the critics agreed this book was one of Graham's best, and was praised for being such. Critics such as Franklin McConnell, writing for the Commonweal, not only saw this book as one of Greene's finest but as one of the premier masterpieces of our times. McConnell went so far as comparing Greene to other tremendous authors such as Kafka, "to compare great things with great, Greene's last three novels Honorary Consul, Human Factor, and Doctor Fischer of Geneva-can remind us of Kafka's major unfinished books, The Trial and The Castle. Just as Kafka banishes all virtues but hope from his character's moral repertoire, so Greene banishes all but love. And in both cases the old and fascinating allegories that result are in fact acts of a distinctively modem, existential faith in the very center of abyss." The Honorary Consul captivated a large majority of the country and most critics, reviving Greene's career. The voices of critics and the public cried out in adoration. Critic Julia Symas sums up the love of Honorary Consul best, by explaining that it is "The Honorary Consul-that Graham Greene's reputation will chiefly rest." The Honorary Consul showed that Greene's reputation rests on his ability to mesmerize audiences through beauty and power of his words. PS Prescott, Newsweek, 82:96 S 17 '73 500w Timothy Foote, Time, 102:99 S 17 '73 1050w Robert Towers, "Cautionary Tale" NY Review of Books- Vol XXVII, No 10, June 12, 1990 Frank McConell, "Everything Banished but Love" Commonweal, Vol CV11, No 12, June 20, 1980 Julia Symas, "The Strength of Uncertainty" Times Literarry Supplement, No 4149, Oct. 8, 1982

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

In 1983 the Greene's novel, "The Honorary Consul" was reworked as a motion picture. Because of its popularity, in 1983 the book was made into a movie, "Beyond the Limit." Although director John Mackenzie kept the film true to the plot of the popular novel, like many novels adapted for the movie screen, critics saw the movie as a mediocre representation of a literary masterpiece. Vincent Canby of The New York Times spoke adamantly against the novel, "Graham Greene's celebrated stories have not been made into especially celebrated films." Canby represents the public's response to the movie. Although the book was well like the movie could not captivate the true essence of the book. As Canby sees it, "this is possibly because, although Mr. Greene writes exceptionally good, well-balanced narratives, the film versions don't have the time or the means to dramatize the crises of conscience that give the stories their weight." "Beyond the Limit" followed the books content exactly, except for a few changes with characters. Even so, the movie failed, '"Beyond the Limit" moves with a dutiful sense of obligation to cover all their important story points, and so slowly that any reasonable alert member of the audience will be ahead of it." The failure of the movie merely reassures that many great books should remain just as they are, great, and should not be tampered with. Vincent Canby, New York Times, Section C, page 4, Column 3; Weekend Desk, September 30, 1983

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

By the time Graham Greene composed The Honorary Consul he was already acclaimed as a writer. Greene had published 23 works prior to this novel many of which, such as The Power and the Glory, Brighton Rock, Travels with My Aunt, and The Heart of the Matter, received public praise and established Greene as a powerful author. The Honorary Consul was anticipated to follow in footsteps of Greene's previous writings. When The Honorary Consul was finally released it became number 10 on Publisher's Weekly bestseller list in 1973, it sold around 83,000 copies, and was translated into over 18 languages. The Honorary Consul was later made into a movie starring Richard Gere, called Beyond the Limit. Greene's novel, The Honorary Consul, helped to further his career even more as a successful author. Other than Greene being established as a writer, other factors contributed to the novel's success. Greene's novel discussed Catholicism, addressing the nature of human beings and the mysteries of God. Written only a few years after Vatican II, part of the books popularity can be attributed to the public interest in religious writings, especially Catholic literature. Another factor in the books success is the political turmoil of the 1960's and 1970's sparking a reader's interest in politics around the world. Greene's book, similar to many other successful writers of this time period, deals with the unsettled political situations acting as a philosophical commentary of the unsettled times. Finally Greene's connection to entertainment affects his popularity as a writer. Greene was one of the most successful movie critics in history; he had extensive connections within the movie industry, and close to twenty of his works became movies. His involvement with the entertainment industry had some influence on his success as a best selling author. By examining all of the factor's playing into The Honorary Consul's success it will become more evident why Graham Greene's novel was such a success, and even more so it will shed light on what it means to be a bestseller. Vatican II led by John XXIII began in 1962 and ended in 1965. During these three years the pastoral Council worked on ways to increase the faith and renew the mission of the Church. The Pope wanted the issues discussed by the Council to deepen and present answers to the needs of the present time (Carbone, 3). Therefore, the Magisterium of Vatican II focused on Christ, renewing the spirit if living lives as imitators of Christ. This movement of the Church back to centering on Christ created a new vision for the Church, turning the Church away from closing itself off to opening itself up more. Vatican II reinstilled the value of humanity and the importance of humanities reconciliation with God (Carbone, 5). In a time of conflict and wars occurring throughout the world and divisions found between races and sexes, the Church sought to bring itself back together through the focus of Christ. As a result of the Church's renovations, Greene's book came at an appropriate time. The Catholic Church did not support Greene's writing and was fairly critical of his works (Elrebach, 93). The Catholic Church's disapproval of the book did not change the public's interest in religious literature, especially Catholic literature. The Honorary Consul reinvents the idea of being religious by having one of the main characters, a priest with a woman, kidnapping, and even considering killing. But this man is becomes a spiritual leader in the end of the book. Going along with Vatican II's mission, Greene uses a sinful priest to discover hope in the midst of chaos. Part of Greene popularity came from him being a writer who does not condemn the non-believer, but writes within a Christian framework, a framework that was being reestablished by the Church as he was writing. The publication of Honorary Consul in 1973 had the added success of coming right after a major decision of the Church to focus more attention on man's relationship to Christ. Other than Graham Greene's Honorary Consul, other authors throughout history have found success from writing about the humanities relationship with God. It should be noted that the Bible itself has always been successful. The Bible is the all time best-selling book. Versions of the Bible have been on the best-selling list throughout history, and yearly there are more Bibles sold than any other novels in the world. It is the permanent best seller. This shows that people are interested in knowing more and reading more about human beings relationship with God. Greene and other authors knew this and attracted readers by discussing faith amidst their novels. Author of Jenny, Sigrid Undset, worked with the realism of Christianity within her works, by acting as an "honest observer, assessing and depicting the external natural world?reflecting a tough and realistic faith"(Whitehouse, 35). Similarly George Bernanos, author of Star of Satan, The Open Mind, and Night is Darkest, presented the author with "reflections of a man at the limits of his experience and with characters whose actions lead them to a confrontation with the transcendent"(Whitehouse, 42). Other than these two authors, there are many best-selling novels with religious themes. A few more key examples of successful books talking about faith and belief are Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and Brother's Karamazov, C.S Lewis' Narinia Books, T.S. Eliot's poetry, specifically The Wasteland, or even the Exorcist by William Blatty. Greene attracts readers with The Honorary Consul in the same way that these authors found their audience, by presenting the heroic tragedy of the individual examining the meaning of faith, and presenting a picture of God's relationship to His creation. These novels are successful because they present issues of faith and religion in ways that are pleasurable to read. The reader relates to the characters in these books because they struggle with what having hope in God really means, while questioning where this faith will lead them. None of these books discussed evil and God's love and sovereignty in sentimental, nonsensical ways. Instead the authors present men struggling with putting their faith in what they cannot see. Dr. Plarr and Charlie Fortum from Honorary Consul resemble many of these other main characters by being "fallen." Men who have sin in their lives that they are struggling with. Whether it is from killing someone, having an affair, drinking; these characters struggle with the sin in their lives that prevent them from accepting and truly believing in God. These books represent the public's desire to read and think about the relationship between humanity and the Divine. Another factor in The Honorary Consul's success during this time period was the political situation during the 1960's and 1970's. At this time the focus became world politics. In 1969 the Vietnam War continued because of the bombing of Cambodia, the Woodstock festival, celebrating peace through music, drugs and communal spirit was held, and American men, competing against the tough Russian space program, walked on the moon (Pearce, 11). Conflict was occurring everywhere from the Cuban missile crisis to the United States involvement in the Chilean elections and Salvador Allende's assassination. These events illustrated the "apocalypse and absurdity that were part of the everyday American experience"(Pearce, 38). Thus the writers began writing more about world affairs, while also putting more focus "on individuals and the choices they have to make, reflecting a society in which the old clear guiding rules of conduct are being steadily eroded, living individuals with the unfamiliar burden of having to make their own decisions"(Horton, 143). Thus writers of Greene's time period became "travel writers" (Couto, 10). These writers were interested in the rest of the world because of how wars and political conflict had stirred interest in public to understand other cultures, while traveling also brought about independence and individuality which marked this time period. Their writing reflected the thoughts and feeling of the people during that period, confused and losing faith in politics and war, the individuals stepped out more, trying to figure out for themselves the truth of what was actually going on through this time. Greene, fascinated by what was going on throughout the world, set the Honorary Consul in South America and in the midst of political conflict. Greene, like many authors of the time period intentionally wrote about conflicts in government claiming to be "more of a political writer?I tackle political subjects; but politics are in the air we breathe"(Couto, 230). During the 60's and 70's when most of what was reported on and debated involved politics, the general public would probably have felt the same. What is evident is that the readers were interested in this type of writing. John Updike, author of Rabbit Redux, is an example of this type of writing, "infused with contemporaneity, inextricably tied and even motivated by the events of its time frame"(Wilkerson, Critical Essay). Other authors that can be found in this genre of literature are Frederick Forsyth, author of The Odessa File and The Day of the Jackal, The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, or even Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy by John Le Carre, or even such nonfiction successes as All the President's Men by Carl Bernstien and Bob Woodward, or Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman by Merle Miller (Unsworth, Bestsellers). In all of these works the major themes are political, whether fiction or non-fiction, they all delve into the secrets of government. The reception of these books was so large because it was what the public wanted to know about. The public desired to know what goes on in places beyond America, and the difference between a corrupt and good government. Political writings are successful because they help people envision corrupt politics while being able to stay detached from the situation through the medium of fiction. Greene and these other author's gifts to the public was their "ability to use the details of contemporary life?share political destinies of characters, and their struggles" (Adamson, 183) while deepening one's own understanding of contemporary history. The political novel allows the public to submerge themselves into a chaotic situation and connect with the struggles of the characters, while still being able to remain distanced through the author's gift of the novel. Beyond politics and Catholicism, The Honorary Consul was successful because of Greene's remarkable career. Greene's personal life was entangled with the entertainment industry. Greene was not a writer who locked himself up in a room somewhere and wrote, but was very accessible to the media, to producers, and as a critic. Greene has contributed to "all the major literary genres: novels, short stories, travel books, essays and literary criticism, autobiography and biography, and books for children"(Smith, 195). Beyond his vast contributions of art, his involvement with film has been "closer than any other twentieth-century writer"(Smith, 204). Other than being a renound film critic, around eighteen films have been made of his works. Greene is one of the few authors that could merge the world of film and fiction. The Honorary Consul is one example of a book that was later made into a movie. When each of his books became movies, Greene "stayed closely involved?he had faith in the cinema?worked as a film critic?and felt that handing a novel over to film producers was giving them a license to do exactly as they liked with his creation"(Erlebach, 76). His books became popular both as novels and as movies. It seemed as though his works were meant to be films with the "effluence of places, streets, and things?in a since he does not write novels at all, but verbal movies"(Smith, 209). Greene had spent years as a movie critic for the Spectator, therefore knew more of what a successful film would look like. This helped his success as a novelist because his books were both entertaining, and in depth. Greene's involvement with the entertainment industry made him more accessible and was welcomed by both the entertainment industry, and the public. The Honorary Consul was a success because of the way the time period of the 1960's and 1970's is reflected in the major themes, the way that Graham Greene presents issues of faith, sin, and religious hope, and his success in many genres of art. Greene was successful as a writer because his popularity touched many diverse groups of people. His book was for those interested in Catholic writings, those interested in politics, those who appreciated travel writings, or those interested in literature dealing with various parts of the world different form their own, and even those people who read Greene's literature because he had given so much to so many genres of art. Greene's novels were universal, especially during the early 70's when so much of what he was writing about people could connect with. Graham Greene through The Honorary Consul shows that success as a bestseller often has to do with the time period in which it is written, staying in tune with the interests of the general public, and the author's ability to create a name for himself. Graham Greene had become so popular because of his writings ability to cross genres and mediums of art. Greene had created a name for himself by writing about what he knew best, travel, politics and religion, and presenting it to the public at a time when they most wanted to hear about these topics, writing so that the reader felt as though they were truly there. The public knew they could trust Greene to be their eyes, exploring these new worlds and areas, then captivating them with the stories of his return. The most successfully best-sellers are the books, like Honorary Consul, that give to the reader an escape from the mundane, while keeping them connected to the issues and realism of the present situation, allowing them to decide for themselves what part of the novel is fiction, and which parts of the novels are the truth. Adamson, Judith, Graham Greene: The Dangerous Edge, London, Macmillian Press Ltd., 1990. Couto, Maria, Graham Greene: On the Frontier, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1988. Carbone: url: Vatican II: Light for the Church and the Modern World //29/http://www/ Erlebach, Peter and Stein, Thomas, Graham Greene in Perspective, New York, 1991. Horton, John, Literature and the Political Imagination, Routledge, New York, 1996. Pearce, Spencer and Piper, Don, Literature of Europe and America in the 1960's, Manchester University Press, New York, 1989. Smith, Grahame, The Achievement of Graham Greene, Barnes and Noble Books, New Jersey, 1986. Stratford, Philip, Faith and Fiction, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, 1964. Unsworth, John: Whitehouse, J.C., Vertical Man, Garland Publishing, New York, 1990. Wilkerson,Brandon, Rabbit Redux

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