Graham Greene, again

I’ve been thinking a lot about Graham Greene lately, and not just because of my afternoon drinking with priests. I read Monsignor Quixote on this trip, and am currently re-reading The Lawless Roads.

In Roads, Greene describes the Mexican desert and says that he cannot see beauty in landscapes that are “unemployed or unemployable.” For Greene, only land that can be used – fertile, verdant land – is truly beautiful. Only “Romantics” see God in deserts and on barren mountain tops.

I know that Greene traveled in Africa, but I don’t know if he ever saw the Sahara. I wonder how Greene would describe Algeria’s dunes and palmeries – surely better than I do – but most of all I wonder if he would see beauty there.