A World of My Own Critical Essays

Graham Greene

A World of My Own

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Dreams were always central to Graham Greene’s fiction during a career spanning six decades. The ideas for at least two of his novels and short stories originated in his own dreams. Many pivotal scenes involve his characters’ dreams. The dreamlike hyperreality of his fictional settings is such a constant that critics long ago coined the label “Greeneland” to identify this special sense of the world, no matter where the action is nominally located.

Greene’s fascination with dreams began when he underwent psychoanalysis at age sixteen. A part of his treatment involved his keeping a diary of his dreams, which were the subject of analysis. Though he discarded that diary later, Greene had discovered firsthand an important link between the unconscious and creativity which would prove essential to him as a writer.

A WORLD OF MY OWN is a selection of 120 short dream-narratives derived from a much longer diary that Greene maintained from 1965 to 1989. Despite its subtitle, however, the selection is not arranged in the format of dated entries. Instead Greene, who worked on this book during the last months of his life, organized the dreams into nineteen chapters with such titles as “In the Secret Service,” “Travel,” “My Life in Crime,” and “Animals Who Talk.” Apart from this topical arrangement, there is no overt analysis of the dreams. Yet readers familiar with Greeneland will feel very much at home in the place Greene calls...

(The entire section is 488 words.)