Graham Greene & Esperanto (7): Confidential Agent (film) revisited

I already blogged about the film Confidential Agent (1945, 118 min.) and posted the trailer along with it. (For more information on the film see the IMDb site.)

For the novel Graham Greene created the character Dr. Bellows, naive creator of the artificial international language Entrenationo. You can find the video clip featuring Entrenatio and a few others here:

Confidential Agent -- (Movie Clip) Mr. Contreras

Here is the video clip in which Entrenationo appears:

Dr. Bellows, the naive inventor of this language, has no idea that his institute serves as a dangerous meeting ground for international intrigue and a life-and-death struggle.

In the novel, Greene creates an effective portrayal of an artificial language movement completely ineffective and oblivious to the real dangers of the world. Greene probably saw a parallel between Bellows/Entrenationo and Zamenhof/Esperanto. And while Esperantists have often parodied their own foolishness, and in some cases have criticized Zamenhof's political limitations, Zamenhof was no Bellows, and some Esperantists were politically astute, including those who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War, which though not named serves as the backdrop for Greene's novel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For all we know, Bellows could be based on some Idist. I notice that the OED has for "Idist" citations from "Encycl. Brit." (1926) so it wouldn't have been hard for Graham Greene to have found out about Ido. But what I'd really like to know is whether Greene made up the character based on something he read, or whether the character is based on someone he actually met.