Monsignor Quixote (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Though he dislikes the label, Graham Greene is often considered a Catholic novelist, meaning not only that he is a Catholic who writes novels but also that the novels themselves often derive their drama from tensions brought about by Catholic faith and doctrine. Greene himself has been a Catholic convert for more than fifty years. Yet, the image he gives of the Church and its faith is often a bleak one, the antithesis of such sentimental treatments as the 1944 motion picture Going My Way or Henry Morton Robinson’s The Cardinal (1950). Belief is not an easy condition for readers of Greene: they experience a spiritual malaise more often than joy. The priests in Greene’s fiction are often less than edifying: the nameless and reluctant martyr in The Power and the Glory (1940), a book that was on the Index, is a whiskey priest who has fathered an illegitimate child; the priests running a Congolese leper colony in A Burnt-Out Case (1961) have “the grace of aridity”; Father Rivas in The Honorary Consul (1973) has abandoned the church for revolution. Many of Greene’s characters are lapsed, or at best nominal, Catholics.
In Monsignor Quixote, however, not only is the protagonist a priest, but he is also a wholly admirable, even lovable character. Monsignor Quixote is a departure from the...
(The entire section is 3044 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
America. CXLVII, November 13, 1982, p. 298.
The Atlantic. CCL, November, 1982, p. 165.
Commonweal. CIX, November 5, 1982, p. 598.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. September 26, 1982, p. 1.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, September 19, 1982, p. 1.
Newsweek. C, September 20, 1982, p. 90.
Time. CXX, September 20, 1982, p. 74.
Times Literary Supplement. October 8, 1982, p. 1089.
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