Every picture tells a story

It is perhaps unsurprising, given his wide, international appeal, to discover that a biography, appropriately entitled Graham Greene, has been written by Aleksandr Livergant and published in Russia. It has not been translated into English. I am grateful to Konstantin Shishkin for sending me an image of it. The book formed part of a ‘Who’s Who’ series about prominent people. It started in the 1930s and was very popular in the USSR.

It is fascinating to try to ‘read’ the cover and to speculate on the choice of content. Does the prominence given to the photo of the MI6 building in London suggest that the author’s activities on behalf of the security services (highly likely but ultimately unproven) are the most significant aspect of his life and career? The other image of the contents of the ‘writer’s table’ again are interesting. Was Aleksandr Livergant consulted? If he knows his subject well, he might not have included the ancient typewriter in the knowledge that Greene wrote his manuscripts in longhand. The author was also, by his own admittance,  a poor photographer, so why a camera? On the other hand, the framed, group photograph in the centre (apologies, it is hard to see) includes a tall figure standing with arms akimbo. Now that is a typical Greeneian pose.