It is unsurprising that in a literary career spanning seventy years, and one as prodigious in output as Graham Greene’s, that some of his writing will evade even the most assiduous of researchers. Full praise then to Michael J. Abolafia who has discovered in the BBC Written Archives Centre at Reading, UK, twelve hitherto unknown and unsigned articles written for The Listener by Greene. In a splendid example of detection work, Abolafia methodically cross-checked the magazine’s contributors against the remuneration they received for their work. Using this method he also revealed new work by Stephen Spender, Elizabeth Bowen, Dylan Thomas and Louis MacNeice.
Abolafia has written about this discovery in the 15 February 2019 edition of the Times Literary Supplement under the title, ‘The Sacred Grove: Lost Essays by Modern Masters in the Listener‘. Remarkably, he undertook his research while an undergraduate at Columbia University thanks to a Richard B. Williams Traveling Fellowship which enabled him to visit the BBC Archives.
It is hoped that permission will be granted for one of these hitherto unknown articles to be published in a future edition of the Trust’s quarterly magazine A Sort of Newsletter accompanied by what will undoubtedly be a fascinating and revealing piece by Michael Abolafia.