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Before writing A Burnt-Out Case, Greene went—as usual—on location to find inspiration for a dramatic plot and characters and to collect contextual and technical information to compose its background. During the five weeks Greene spent in the Belgian Congo he kept a diary, which was published eleven months after the novel.

This widely available published version of his “Congo Journal” however, differs strongly from the original manuscript of Greene’s diary. In fact, Greene subjected the manuscript not to one, but to at least five revisions before allowing it to go to print. The revisions involved, among other things: the addition of a whole set of footnotes providing explanations and knowledge Greene gathered after returning from the Congo; deletion of passages of an erotic nature; omission of references to his extramarital affairs in Europe; modification of originally depreciative portrayals of persons he had met in the Congo (some of these portrayals he turned into squarely opposite, positive ones); putting his host Dr. Lechat less in the foreground; and other types of significant alterations.

Using an easy-to-follow chart, this article compares the original manuscript (column 1) with

Josephine Reid’s typescript and Greene’s revision of Reid’s typescript (column 2), the galley proofs, Greene’s revision of the galley proofs, and final publication (column 3) with a focus that includes only modifications pertinent to the content of Greene’s perceptions and experiences with persons, places, events, and himself.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Journal title
    • Graham Greene Studies

  • Volume
    • 2

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022