Monsignor Quixote

Monsignor Quixote

Paperback

By (author) Graham Greene

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  • Publisher: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 18mm | 181g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099283948
  • ISBN 13: 9780099283942
  • Sales rank: 70,045

Product description

With Sancho Panza, a deposed Communist mayor, his faithful Rocinate, an antiquated motorcar, Monsignor Quixote roams through modern-day Spain in a brilliant picaresque fable. Like Cervantes' classic, Monsignor Quixote offers enduring insights into our life and times.

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Author information

Graham Greene was born in 1904. On coming down from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked for four years as sub-editor on The Times. He established his reputation with his fourth novel, Stamboul Train. In 1935 he made a journey across Liberia, described in Journey Without Maps, and on his return was appointed film critic of the Spectator. In 1926 he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church and visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution there. As a result he wrote The Lawless Roads and, later, his famous novel The Power and the Glory. Brighton Rock was published in 1938 and in 1940 he became literary editor of the Spectator. The next year he undertook work for the Foreign Office and was stationed in Sierra Leone from 1941 to 1943. This later produced the novel The Heart of the Matter, set in West Africa. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography - A Sort of Life, Ways of Escape and A World of My Own (published posthumously) - two of biography and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews, some of which appear in the collections Reflections and Mornings in the Dark. Many of his novels and short stories have been filmed and The Third Man was written as a film treatment. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.

Review quote

"A deliciously funny novel and affectionate offering to all that is noblest and least-changing in the people and life of Spain" The Times "A powerful late work...a mixture of entertainment and deep human awareness" -- Malcolm Bradbury "Monsignor Quixote is important in showing what may be the last stage of the novelist's long argument with himself about the needs, nature and effect of faith" Times Literary Supplement "Graham Greene's best, most absorbing, adept and effortless novel" Spectator "One of the finest writers of any language... Monsignor Quixote is a tour de force and a revealing document of Greene's theological and political intelligence" Washington Post

Editorial reviews

The theological shade of Greene - in a wispy, undramatic, but charming modern-day fable, loosely paralleling the Cervantes classic. Quixote here is Father Quixote, a Spanish village-priest and a supposed descendant of the original Don. But while Don Q. defiantly stayed true to the Old Chivalry, Father Q. clings to the Old Theology - "just having faith." And, after rather accidentally becoming a Monsignor, aging Father Quixote is virtually forced out of his beloved El Toboso parish by the cruel Bishop - so he sets off on some travels in his beloved, senile Fiat (called "Rocinante," of course), with the Communist ex-Mayor of El Toboso as his Sancho Panza. Much of this small book, then, consists of the witty yet weighty theological/political dialogues between Catholic and Communist: sipping wine, they compare the relative evils of Stalin and Torquemada; they contrast faith in God with faith in Marx; Monsignor Q. reads the Manifesto, finding some unlikely spirituality in it; matters of doctrine (e.g., birth control) are debated; and they'll eventually agree that Quixote is a "Catholic in spite of the Curia" while the Mayor is a "Communist. . . in spite of the Politburo." But meanwhile, on their raggedy travels to Madrid and the countryside, this ideologically pure duo attracts repressive attention from the State and the Church. They are harassed by the post-Franco Guardia. The utterly innocent priest's wayward behavior en route - allowing the Mayor to try on his collar, mistakenly going to a dirty movie (even worse, chuckling at it!) - leads to his Bishop-ordered abduction, virtual house arrest, and clerical suspension. And finally, after the Mayor rescues the Monsignor, there'll be a final journey - to a literal confrontation with the Church's commerciality (Quixote is furious over a money-covered statue of Our Lady) and a final, fatal runin with the State. An unsubtle parable? Indeed - especially when compared with the fuller version of similar themes (and the far richer central characterization) in The Power and the Glory. But Greene mixes village-comedy with philosophical repartee in a unique, grave-yet-sparkling fashion - and, while his usual fiction audience may find this even less satisfying than Dr. Fischer of Geneva, theologically-oriented readers (not to mention Comp. Lit. aficionados) will be quite steadily, amusingly engaged. (Kirkus Reviews)