‘I’ is not the only imaginary character: none of the others, from such minor players as the British chargé to the principals, has ever existed. A physical trait taken here, a habit of speech, an anecdote – they are boiled up in the kitchen of the unconscious and emerge unrecognizable even to the cook in most cases.It’s the “unrecognizable even to the cook” bit I like, although whether Greene was tacitly acknowledging the postmodern concept that the author should not be privileged over the reader, or just affecting a sort of gentleman amateurism about the whole process of writing, I’m not sure.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Cooking the books
Graham Greene, in the foreword to The Comedians, argues against the notion that all fiction is essentially autobiographical: