Graham Greene

The Swiss Chapter

Graham Greene - The Swiss Chapter
Amongst the foreign celebrities who chose the Swiss Riviera as home base, even if it was just temporarily, the English author Graham Greene (2nd October 1904, Berkhamsted – 3rd April 1991, Vevey) strikes us as the most remarkable. How did this cosmopolitan author, roguish adventurer, journalist, reporter and witness to the great world conflicts of his time, wind up on the gentle shores of Lake Geneva?
Our country was hardly the object of his preoccupations. Besides, as far as we know, Greene never wrote specifically about Switzerland. "A contented people has no history" as the saying goes. How then could he devote his time to writing about it, he who admitted: "Everything that moves interests me - whether it’s an individual or a nation [...] I like to be where a genuine change may take place, a fundamental upheaval, as in Cuba or in Chile before the fall of Allende"? And on the same note: «Switzerland is only bearable covered with snow [...] like some people are only bearable under a sheet."
He would have however appreciated democracy, which only interested him slightly but he might well have thought differently about it had he heard of the affair of the unclaimed Jewish assets by Swiss banks because it touched on a theme that was close the author's heart, social justice: "Fighting against injustice remains for me the sole permanent precept...". It is incorrect that some people attribute the famous phrase spoken by the character of Harry Lime for which Greene wrote the scene in the film, The Third Man by Carol Reed, to him: "In Italy, for 30 years, under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance... In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace... And what did that produce ? The cuckoo clock!" This rash declaration stems, in reality, from the person who delivered it on screen, a certain Orson Welles. Was he unaware that the cuckoo clock was in actual fact not a Swiss invention, originating from the Black Forest?

This study, complete with previously unpublished photographs and documents, presents Graham Greene’s Swiss connections and reveals unknown aspects of his life and work. Complemented by extensive analytical notes, it provides numerous leads for researchers and admirers of the great British writer. His role as an agent on Her Majesty’s Secret Service and his relations with the Soviet Union, the writing of his novel Dr Fischer of Geneva and its film adaptation (featuring James Mason, Greta Scacchi and Alan Bates), his choice of dreams for his final work A world of My Own, his home in Corseaux and the last few months before his death are all subjects tackled in this study by Pierre Smolik.


190 pages
16 x 22.5
ISBN 978-2-940519-00-2
CHF 30.00 | € 30.00 | £ 30.00


Hebdo Pays de Gex - 17.03.2014

En toutes lettres. Par Bertrand Durovray.

Avec «Graham Greene–The Swiss Chapter (à l’ombre de la Suisse)», en édition bilingue comme son nom l’indique, l’essayiste à qui l’on doit déjà un ouvrage sur Charlie Chaplin, présente les attaches suisses du cosmopolite mais non moins auteur britannique qu’était G. Greene. Rien n'est occulté, tout est éclairant.


L'Hebdo - 5.12.2013

Graham Greene, notre agent à Corseaux. Par Luc Debraine.

Témoignage . Un auteur veveysan revient dans un livre sur les dernières années de l’écrivain-reporter-agent secret en Suisse. Avec maints documents inédits.


Le News - 5.12.2013

Deep pool of spies. By Edward Girardet.

Graham Greene - The Swiss Chapter, an intriguing book available in English and French by Pierre smolik, explores the Catholic writer's bizarre relationship with Switzerland, plus revealing aspects of his life and works. One is never quite sure whether Greene really liked Switzerland and the Swiss, or whether, like one of his Dr Fischer of Genveva or the Bomb Party characters, he considered them utterly dull. 
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24 heures - 31.10.2013

A Vevey, l'édition s'inscrit dans une longue tradition. Par Stéphanie Arboit.

Une nouvelle maison d'édition est née : Call me Edouard. Le domaine connaît des prédécesseurs illustres comme les Editions de l'Aire.


Avant Première - 26.10.2013

Graham Greene aux 80 ans du Cinéma Rex.

Cet ami de Charlie Chaplin s’installe définitivement à Corseaux en 1990 où, sept ans plus tôt, il avait retrouvé Greta Scacchi, Alan Bates et un autre habitant de Corseaux, James Mason, pour l’adaptation de son roman Dr Fischer of Geneva par Michael Lindsay-Hogg.


24 heures - 24.10.2013

Première suisse à Vevey pour Dr Fischer of Geneva. Par Stéphanie Arboit. 

Basé sur un roman de Graham Greene et tourné dans la région en 1983, le film sera projeté samedi.