2. History of the novel

- in 1944 Graham Greene wrote THE TENTH MAN four years before THE THIRD MAN

- the manuscript was bought by MGM but never filmed.
Greene writes: "The reason I had signed the contract was that I feared when the war came to an end and I left government service that my family would be in danger from the precarious nature of my finances. I had not before the war been able to support them from writing novels alone. I had indeed been in debt to my publishers until 1938, when Brighton Rock sold eight thousand copies and squared our accounts temporarily ...
I had no confidence in my future as a novelist and I welcomed in 1944 what proved to be an almost slave contract with MGM which at least assured us all enough to live on for a couple of years in return for the idea of The Tenth Man....".

- the existence of the novel fell into oblivion
"In 1948 when I was working on The Third Man I seem to have completely forgotten a story called The Tenth Man which was ticking away like a time- bomb somewhere in the archives of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in America..."

- it was rediscovered in 1983
"In 1983 a stranger wrote to me from the United States telling me that a story of mine called The Tenth Man was being offered for sale by MGM to an American publisher.
I didnīt take the matter seriously. I thought that I remembered -incorrectly, as it proved- an outline which I had written towards the end of the war under a contract with my friend Ben Goetz, the representative of MGM in London. Perhaps the outline had covered two pages of typescript - there seemed, therefore, no danger of publication, especially as the story had never been filmed..."

- and finally published in 1985
"Then recently came the astonishing and disquieting news that Mr Anthony Blond had bought all the book and serial rights on the mysterious story for a quite large sum, the authorīs royalties of course to be paid to MGM.

  Tenth Man Cover  

Graham Greene, The Tenth Man


He courteously sent me the typescript for any revision I might wish to make and it proved to be not two pages of outline but a complete short novel of about thirty thousand words.

What surprised and aggravated me most of all was that I found this forgotten story very readable - indeed I prefer it in many ways to The Third Man, so that I had no longer any personal excuse for opposing publication even if I had the legal power, which was highly doubtful.
All the same Mr Blond very generously agreed to publish the story jointly with my regular publishers, The Bodley Head..."

(the quotes are from Graham Greeneīs 'Introduction' to "The Tenth Man")


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