Power and the Glory

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A novel by G. Greene, published 1940.

Set in Mexico at a time of religious persecution in the name of revolution, it describes the desperate last wanderings of a whisky priest as outlaw in his own state, who, despite a sense of his own worthlessness, is determined to continue to function as priest until captured. He is contrasted with Padre Jose, a priest who has accepted marriage and humiliation; with ‘the gringo’, bank robber, murderer, and materialist, also on the run; and with the lieutenant, portrayed as an angry idealist and ‘a good man’, who pursues the priest and corners him when he is drawn back (by the Judas‐figure of a half‐caste) to offer the last rites to the dying gringo, just as he has reached safety over the border. His execution (and martyrdom?) is witnessed by the grotesque expatriate dentist Mr Tench, and the final episode indicates that the Church will survive its persecution.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

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Graham Greene (1904—1991) author

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