Graham Greene tried his hand at every literary genre. He was poet, reporter, critic, essayist, pamphleteer, dramatist, screenwriter, short-story writer, biographer, and autobiographer. His near compulsion to travel led to published accounts of his numerous journeys. His established place in literature, however, is the result of the worldwide acclaim that has greeted most of his twenty-odd novels. Critics have noted a strong autobiographical element in his fiction and have charted the development of his philosophical, religious, and political thought through his career. Certain themes recur in a recognizable pattern: human beings as aliens at home and abroad, oppressed by evil in a violent world, flirting with suicide as an answer to their despair, seeking salvation, perhaps finding it at last, through the grace of God. Since Brighton Rock, published in 1938, most of the novels are decidedly the work of a confirmed Roman Catholic, but Greene himself rejected the label “Catholic writer.” Acknowledging his Catholicism as a point of reference, Greene, borrowing the title of one of his novels, preferred to think of himself as a writer exploring the human factor.
From 1929 to the early 1960’s, Greene’s works, with few exceptions, were published in Great Britain by William Heinemann. From the mid-1960’s, his British publisher has been the Bodley Head, a firm in which he served as a director from 1958 to 1968. In 1970, the two British publishing houses became jointly involved in issuing a uniform edition of his collected works, for which Greene wrote new introductions. In the United States, his works have been published by the Viking Press and Simon and Schuster.