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The rubber surgical gloves imply either a surgeon or a dentist, both suggesting pain. Although the narrator teasingly allows Davis to explain away the accusations against him, the reader is never left in any doubt that the Colonel is lying. As the narrator says,. Furthermore, Davis is referred to throughout the text, whereas Nimley is not; the torturer completely overshadows his victim. The narrator is not, however, merely admitting to an essentially private fascination with Davis, as a seemingly anodyne comment from the beginning of the text suggests:. Today our world seems peculiarly susceptible to brutality.

The narrator implies that his fascination with Davis can only be condemned hypocritically; everyone, he claims, is fascinated by abominations. He remarks that. He was heroic, but he also looked overworked and extremely agitated. Harley, although, unsurprisingly since he is a biographer, basing his argument on biographical fact rather than the text of Journey Without Maps.

He would appear to be imitating Marlow in so far as the purpose of his journey into the interior, although ostensibly to meet Nimley, is in fact to learn more about the enigmatic Kurtz-like Colonel. However, his attitude towards Davis and his crimes is unlike that of Marlow towards Kurtz.

Some of his remarks are not especially provocative. For example, only a most unsophisticated reader would expect a war criminal like Davis to be portrayed as being utterly devoid of positive characteristics. Instead, he turns them into a joke. It is the simplest explanation of the facts contained in Blue Book, Cmd.

To do otherwise suggests that the person describing the abominations does not view them as being particularly abominable. Some names are colours and others evoke colours, most notably those that evoke the colour green, there is even a Mr. Green in A Gun for Sale. Graham Greene also had a tendency to give his first name, Henry, to characters in his novels as well as his baptismal name: Thomas.

He even gave his secret service number to Henry Hawthorne, the incompetent spymaster in Our Man in Havana. Greene was, it would appear, addicted to onomastic jokes. Rather like his creator, the narrator of Journey Without Maps is somewhat devious, only too willing to mislead unwary readers. Whether or not he did get a thrill looking forwards is not the point; he certainly is getting a thrill looking back from a safe vantage point.

More suggestive still is the scene in which the narrator is shown examining a ceremonial mask, modelled, he conjectures, on the features of a shipwrecked Portuguese sailor. The narrator is himself walking through the interior, not because of greed but curiosity. Admittedly Marlow is curious, however it is Kurtz who is fanatically curious, even more than he is greedy. It would be possible to object that the Blue Book , unlike Marlow, does not explicitly condemn Davis since it is merely a list of facts. However, apart from the interpretation being indicated by its context, namely that it was published by the British Government, the text communicates its meaning by not stating it directly.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that cruelty and pain are bad things in themselves, and so besides being superfluous to say that they are, saying so opens up the possibility of interpreting the statement as being ironic. Travel in Journey Without Maps becomes a metaphor for reading, in which the country visited is a text to be interpreted. This would imply that, according to the narrator of Journey Without Maps , no such thing as an abomination exists since nothing is, in itself, abominable. The need, of course, has always been felt, to go back and begin again.

When one sees to what unhappiness, to what peril of extinction centuries of cerebration have brought us, one sometimes has a curiosity to discover if one can from what we have come, to recall at which point we went astray. In other words, a psychotic reading will be a distortion of the evidence whereas a neurotic interpretation will betray its knowledge of omissions.

Journey Without Maps brings about the return of all that its hypotext repressed, which implies staking a claim to a complete and therefore sane view of reality. Cerebration could therefore be defined as thought based on the delusion or the wish to believe that order can justifiably, in terms of truth and not expediency, be imposed on experience. Marlow speculated that Kurtz had gone insane through listening to the whispering of the wilderness see 83 , which could be taken as a metaphor for listening to the voices of his unconscious.

Unlike in Heart of Darkness , the Mr. Superficially he seems to be saying that since, as he makes it clear, he believes that Davis did commit the acts the Blue Book accused him of, the colonel is a monster. Few readers would wish to disagree. Recognising that the narrator thinks Davis guilty as charged, and yet impossible to condemn, entails making a disturbing discovery; rather than being a friendly Marlow-like textual travel guide, the narrator is as lacking in moral principals as Kurtz, who went beyond good and evil.

The prevalence of sin in Greeneland, for example, has always made readers, especially Catholic readers, uncomfortable, whence the many condemnations of the novels and the various attempts to show how faith in Christian ideals wins in the end.

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A reader with little or no wish to believe in the validity of the ideals of civilisation, or simply with a sense of curiosity more powerful than the will to believe, will become complicit with the narrator, however unwillingly, in so far as he will not have rejected out of hand the repressed knowledge that transgression can be fascinating. However, his evident and profound disgust with this position was doubtless what led to his defending the ideologies the texts attack and portraying Greene as a moral monster; as in the case of Colonel Davis, the reader is pushed towards orthodoxy by the extreme nastiness of the heterodox alternative.

This is in itself a transgression. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Harmondsworth: Penguin, Greene, Graham. Journey Without Maps. London: Vintage, Our Man in Havana. The Power and the Glory. Baldridge, Cates. Or not. Read it for the skill of the writing. Jul 12, Anthony rated it liked it. In Graham Green traveled by foot from the West African Coast of Sierra Leone, through French Guinea, and into the depths of the Liberian Forest, a region unmapped at the time and labeled with the foreboding word, Cannibals, as the only descriptor as to what he would discover in his travels through the region.

Greene traveled into independent Liberia at a time when Europe had already divided up Africa for her own profit and he chose Liberia to explore because it was a nation founded by freed US slaves that presented a unique glimpse of an independent Africa. In his travels he faces a lot of hardship with bats, rats, and cockroaches ever present in the villages the stayed in and chiggers digging their way beneath his finger and toenails.

Not all was hardship as Greene discovered many a unique native peoples, each with their own distinct dress, dance, and hospitality. He did not come across any cannibals, but he did encounter devils, spiritual shamans wearing masks that exert great power over the native people. The use of the word devil is only a fault in the English translation of his guides and Greene explains that these devils could very easily be described as angels for their purpose was not a distinction of good or evil, but as guides into the spiritual world.

Despite his longing for the comforts of his Western culture, Greene discovers a raw bond of humanity that cannot be found in the Western world.


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Aug 30, Tia Gonzales rated it it was amazing. Liberia was a soul-wrenching experience, a country forgotten and not so different from when GG was there. I carried the book with me and referred to it often and although the material was anachronistic and colonial, it still had some relevance and when I was over-whelmed by the inherent contradictions of what I was seeing, found it comforting. View all 3 comments. Dec 20, Andrea rated it really liked it Shelves: 20th-century-british , africa. Greene's description of a journey into the interior of Liberia.

While there are a lot of assumptions about African culture and people, Greene is a more acute and honest observer of himself than many travelers. In my opinion, that makes this book worth reading as Greene interrogates the "travel adventure" impulse. Jul 13, Nathan Albright rated it really liked it Shelves: challenge As it happens, before I read this book I had already read and greatly enjoyed a book that had been inspired by this one that led a man to travel through Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia in dangerous times [1].

I am greatly fond of travel books, and this book is certainly an interesting one, and one that reveals a great deal about the mixed character of Graham Greene as a writer and as a person. As one might easily imagine, it is easy to have mixed feelings about this book. Greene was an ob As it happens, before I read this book I had already read and greatly enjoyed a book that had been inspired by this one that led a man to travel through Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia in dangerous times [1].

Greene was an observant but also a highly cynical observer, and so this book shares a certain amount of trenchant observations about Liberian life and some commentary that may strike contemporary readers as rather awkward and cringy. Greene was, without a doubt, a man of his own time and while this book is a great travel book, not all of its ideas have necessarily aged well.

There are some truths it was possible to tell in his time that cannot be told in our own time without paying an awful price in terms of one's acceptability, and Greene may not have wanted to pay that price. This sizable book of about pages or so is divided into three parts, each of which is divided into several chapters. It should be remembered that this is a nonfiction work, and moreover a work that is written with a fair bit of subterfuge, as the author was not strictly permitted to travel where he did and had to bluff his way around some of the problems that resulted from this, which were minimized by his dealing graciously with others and his dealing with illiterate civil servants, for the most part in remote parts of countries largely neglected by their ruling elites.

The author begins his exploration by talking about his way to Africa I, 1 , the cargo ship he traveled in I, 2 , and his brief trip through Sierra Leone I, 3. After this the author closes with his madcap efforts to get back to the coast and home, with some time spent at a mission statement III, 1 , his skeptical look at civilized LIberians III, 2 , his time in Grand Bassa III, 3 , his exultation upon reaching the port III, 4 , and the postscript in Monrovia dealing with the election that was held at the time III, 5.

In Journey Without Maps, Greene tells the story of his own trip, on the cheap, through a part of the world that is still mysterious and dangerous. The author's cynicism about the benefits of development and the inability of African realms, whether native or colonial, to provide for the well-being of ordinary people is something that has been born out in contemporary times, and the author's clear-eyed view of the corruption of the realms and in the ways that dark and evil superstition and layers of corruption have been endemic is certainly something that is relevant for contemporary readers, even if the author's noble savage myths are certainly not on point and his paternalistic view may strike many contemporary readers as irksome at best.

There are few good ways to write about forgotten and neglected corners of Africa, as to write the truth is bound to offend someone with cultural or political power somewhere, and given that no one wants to accept blame for how things came to be as bad as they are. Apr 05, Artur rated it it was ok. Very chaotic narrative combined with the old English made it also quite difficult to read and as such, decided to drop the book at some point after half-way through. Mar 19, John rated it it was ok. This travel book, published in , is the account of a journey the author and his female cousin took on foot more or less across Liberia.

At the time, the only British map of Liberia had a large, empty, white space on it, and the only U. Hence, the title. It is less impressive when you learn that Greene hired 25 native "carriers" to accompany them. They not only carried the stuff, they carried his cousin, and, on a few oc This travel book, published in , is the account of a journey the author and his female cousin took on foot more or less across Liberia. They not only carried the stuff, they carried his cousin, and, on a few occasions, Greene. Greene and a couple of the carriers seemingly always got far ahead of the rest of the group, and he apparently gave his cousin only a vague idea of where they were going.

At one point, they nearly went different directions, and they likely wouldn't have gotten together again until they reached the coast. This does not seem very chivalrous. Was the journey itself a good idea? It sure doesn't sound like loads of fun: "This, as I grew more tired and my health a little failed, seemed to be what I would chiefly remember as Africa: cockroaches eating our clothes, rats on the floor, dust in the throat, jiggers under the nails, ants fastening on the flesh.

It might have made more sense to a British audience in the s. But I did like Greene's defense of missionaries, which I think holds true even more today than it did then: "A great deal of nonsense has been written about missionaries. When they have not been described as the servants of imperialists or commercial exploiters, they have been regarded as sexually abnormal types who are trying to convert a simple happy pagan people to a European religion and stunt them with European repressions.

It seems to be forgotten that Christianity is an Eastern religion to which Western pagans have been quite successfully converted. Missionaries are not even given credit for logic, for if one believes in Christianity at all, one must believe in its universal validity. A Christian cannot believe in one God for Europe and another God for Africa; the importance of Semitic religion was that it did not recognize one God for the East and another for the West.

Feb 10, Kuang Ting rated it really liked it. At age 31, Greene traveled to Liberia for four weeks. He went with his cousin, who also wrote a book about this expedition. The journey across Liberia was vivid and interesting. It happened in s, when Nazi was still growing. Liberia got its name because 'liberated' slaves from America emigrated here, and built the first sovereign state in Africa in However due to its remote location, there was less modern influence. White people were not common then. There were only two maps for this c At age 31, Greene traveled to Liberia for four weeks.

There were only two maps for this country. The maps contained very little information. It seemed foolish for Westerners to travel to the place. Greene wanted a change in life, maybe searching for inspirations for his next book, he jumped out of the comfort zone. At first Greene was immersed in the fresh atmosphere of new environment. He was very glad he made the choice. Exotic world lured him, but not for long. When the journey into jungles actually started, he felt himself stupid to put himself in this situation.

The journey was not comfortable at all.

There were diseases and insects. They needed to cope with rats, cockroaches, flies, beetles, mosquitoes, to name a few. To make things worse, the hot weather could stifle everyone. Greene found out 'plans' wouldn't work out. He realized the best way to finish the journey was to be flexible at all times. Greene even fell into a coma near the end of the trip.

Despite all the misery, Greene still found happiness during the trip. He pondered what travel meant for life. He wrote down some poetic personal reflections. Examining some past memories made him realize more. Traveling was a way to discover one's life. Indeed, Greene certainly found some memorable moments. In addition to Greene's personal feeling, there was abundant observations on local cultures. It is a little outdated now but still shows us a bygone era. The book is an interesting read. It should appeal to readers that are fond of Africa. Overall: 3. I read this book simple because I had just read the Tim Butcher book, Chasing the Devil in which Butcher decides to retread the steps of Graham Greene, as told in this book.

I should have learned. When I read Butcher's first book, I similarly attempted the book of the journey that he tried to follow in that volume as well, and gave up because of the way that Stanley came across. Indeed, in this book it is quite difficult to think that this only happened seventy five or so years ago. Both the lan I read this book simple because I had just read the Tim Butcher book, Chasing the Devil in which Butcher decides to retread the steps of Graham Greene, as told in this book.

Both the land that Greene is visiting, and the land that he comes from, seem awfully alien, so it was hard to get into his head. His cousin also completes the journey with him, but she barely gets a mention, and in fact often you will forget that she is his travelling companion until there is another throwaway reference.


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Greene is fixated on the breasts of the young brown girls. Every pair is described in intimate detail, from the shape, colour, darkness and size of the nipples etcetera, and by the end of the book he just comes across as a dodgy character with a tit fixation. Certainly all of the descriptions help little to enlighten you about the world around him, and tell you more about the way his mind works.

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I really wanted to enjoy this, but sadly I could not. The devils were interesting, as they were in the Tim Butcher book, but when Greene finally gets to talk to someone who knows a lot about the subject, he confesses that he was tired and did not note down much of the conversation, which he could subsequently recall little of. Oh well. It took me ages to read - not because it is a large book, but because it did not keep my interest. I did manage to complete it after picking at it for several weeks, which felt like a bit of an achievement to be honest, but I won't be rushing about to read more Graham Greene any time soon!

May 28, Dane Cobain rated it really liked it. Mar 04, Bill rated it really liked it Shelves: travel. A young Englishman and his female cousin decide to take a safari through Liberia in in days before world war 2. What is it they say about mad dogs and Englishmen? I appreciate Greene's subtle spirituality, which doesn't in the way of his enjoyment of a stiff drink. His observations about the teenage girls he encounters is a bit off-putting, though. And it is a bit jarring to consider that his entourage w A young Englishman and his female cousin decide to take a safari through Liberia in in days before world war 2.

And it is a bit jarring to consider that his entourage was paid a pittance and made do with offal for their daily fare while Greene apparently included many cases of whiskey for his own benefit, to say nothing of Greene being carried about in a hammock. I recently read Tim Butcher's book about travelling through the Congo and it is remarkable to contrast the conditions in west Africa now and 70 years ago. Green's jungle is full of life, the villages are peaceful, and the handful of missionaries and doctors from Europe can practice safely.

Butcher's jungle is devoid of life, the villagers are continually fleeing rampaging bands of militia, and NGOs cannot function outside a few safe havens. Jul 06, Erica Mukherjee rated it it was ok Shelves: fiction. He is simply writing about the world as he sees it. He is not denouncing or advocating racism. His writing lacks the self-consciousness of modern writers setting their stories in the past so as to try and make a point. For him these are simply facts: white and black are different, neither better nor worse, just different.

This is refreshing, as most modern writers paint themselves with the biased brush of posterity when exploring race relations. So despite the refreshing take on race, the reader is very alienated from the action. Mar 26, Kevin rated it it was ok Shelves: africa , travel.

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A Brit traveling around Africa with a dozen native porters carrying everything from his knickers to his whiskey and barely ever naming his traveling-companion cousin could have made for quite a comic travel account. But Greene never plays it for comic effect, and is even defensive that it might be construed as funny. The abilities that made Greene a notable author are on display but to little effect.

The narrative is framed as retreat into the author's subconscious. Get it? If we are to excuse the biases borne by authors writing eighty years ago, you too can excuse my modern biases in giving the book a negative review. Jun 09, Josephine Ensign rated it it was ok. A deeply disturbing book to read, mainly because of how blithely racist it and Graham Greene are, but I read it to gain insight into one of Greene's more flawed novels that I love: A Burnt-Out Case. A Burnt-Out Case, set in a leprosy settlement along the Congo River, wasn't published until , but it contains significant traces of Journey Without Maps.

Jul 27, Amerynth rated it did not like it Shelves: adventure , unfinished , memoir , nonfiction , africa , hiking , read Another of the " greatest adventure books" that I found it impossible to get through -- I abandoned Greene's book when I was three-quarters of the way through after realizing it wouldn't get much better. I found Greene's general attitude toward those he met on his walk across Liberia and his treatment of his porters to be really irritating.

Nothing much of interest happens on his walk across the country either. A grating narrator and a tepid account of what should have been a grand adventure h Another of the " greatest adventure books" that I found it impossible to get through -- I abandoned Greene's book when I was three-quarters of the way through after realizing it wouldn't get much better. A grating narrator and a tepid account of what should have been a grand adventure helps make this book extremely dull.

I really, really like the fictional world of Graham Greene's novels but just as I'd never make a true life explorer, on this evidence GG made a lousy chronicler of his real overland travels. I lost the will to live somewhere during his report about a church service in Sierra Leone and didn't make it much further never mind as far as Liberia.


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  7. Seriously random and seriously dull. Sep 09, Daniel Warriner rated it really liked it. Journey Without Maps is Graham Greene's account of his travels as a young man in Liberia, a one-month walk north to south through the country. I enjoyed this one for several reasons. First, Greene's novels are told in different voices. There are the hard-boiled narrators of his potboilers and the literary storytellers of his more serious works, and so to hear Greene's actual voice was new for me. Second, the account itself is interesting, and Greene had plenty of time on the long walk to Journey Without Maps is Graham Greene's account of his travels as a young man in Liberia, a one-month walk north to south through the country.

    Second, the account itself is interesting, and Greene had plenty of time on the long walk to look back on his life growing up, and he includes that reflection in the account because it becomes in a sense part of the journey. Actually, there are a lot of comparisons between Greene's life back home, as well as European civilization in general, and life in Liberia.

    Journey Without Maps by Graham Greene - AbeBooks

    And he throws psychoanalysis into that too, writing: The method of psychoanalysis is to bring the patient back to the idea which he is repressing: a long journey backwards without maps, catching a clue here and a clue there, as I caught the names of villages from this man and that, until one has to face the general idea, the pain or the memory.

    I've read that some of what Greene wrote in this book isn't accurate. I looked up one of the tribes the Buzies he encountered but couldn't find this name online, and Google Maps didn't know quite a few of the villages he mentioned. Though, you can't blame Greene considering that, according to him, only two rudimentary maps of the country existed when he visited the American one with a blank band through its center with only the word "CANNIBALS" crossing it.

    Greene meets many peculiar characters in the book, drinks whisky daily, gets very sick towards the end, and makes lots of observations, all written with his singular style and gift for understanding human nature. This book is considered a classic of adventure travel. However I found it rather boring. Greene travels on foot sort of through Liberian interior in the 30's and this book is his travelogue. The country is divided somewhat between the "civilized" coastal areas and the "uncivilized" and unmapped - hence the title interior.

    The This book is considered a classic of adventure travel. The most disappointing part of the book for me is that Greene chooses to focus purely on his experience of each village. The travel between villages is rarely mentioned at all so we don't really learn anything about the country itself. Each village has something unique about it but they all tended to run together and after a while I found my self losing track with what chief was from what village and which village was friendly or not. If you are not of a certain age and nationality ie English and from that era a lot of the references Greene makes will be lost on you.

    The reader years hence will be sometimes confused. I found that to be the case quite a bit in this book. Greene is recognized as a great writer and it is possible that this is a great book. I think I might have to reread it to appreciate it. However I'm not inclined to at this point. I can't truthfully say I enjoyed this book, despite my love of Graham Greene. Being Greene, the writing soars at times, but for the most part I struggled with the tedium, which may simply reflect the tedium of the journey itself. Clearly Greene himself struggles with it.

    He makes vague claims about casting off civilised sophistication and searching for the primitive self, but I do struggle with his motivations for undertaking such a miserable trek. Hundreds of miles of monotonous jungle, village I can't truthfully say I enjoyed this book, despite my love of Graham Greene. Hundreds of miles of monotonous jungle, village after festering village, will-sapping heat, mosquitos, jiggers, an endless fight to keep the hired native carriers in line, and the ever-present risk of running out of whiskey.

    Perhaps it all seemed like a good idea at the time? I remember once thinking the same thing about a holiday on the Gold Coast For reasons known only to Greene, he chooses to dispense of the female cousin who accompanied him with just the occasional mention, and in the end we know next to nothing of her, or her journey. And it's hard to not notice Greene's fascination with black breasts. One wonders whether he was aware of it as he wrote, or whether it infected the manuscript in cod-Freudian fashion.

    Perhaps it was simply the novelty of exposed boobs? They weren't common in post-Victorian England, as we all know. Anyway, by the time Greene made the beach at Monrovia, I was only too glad to climb into the surf boat with him and board the steamer that whisked us away from s Liberia. He'd had enough.

    So had I. Aug 11, Audrey rated it liked it. Graham Greene, English literary great, traveled through Liberia in the s. There are the usual scenes of witches, danger, creepiness, rats, cockroaches, and bumbling bureaucrats. However, there are also paragraphs like the following: "Today our world seems peculiarly susceptible to brutality.