C. P. Snow

C. P. Snow: (Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow of Leicester), 1905–80, English author and physicist. Snow had an active, varied career, including several important positions in the British government. He served as technical director of the ministry of labor from 1940 to 1944; as civil service commissioner from 1945 to 1960; and as parliamentary secretary to the minister of technology from 1964 to 1966. As a novelist, Snow was particularly noted for his series of 11 related novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers. The series traces the career of Lewis Eliot from his boyhood in a provincial town, through law school and years as a fellow at Cambridge, to an important government position; in many respects Eliot's career parallels that of Snow himself. Although the series has been read as a study of power, or as an analysis of the relationship between science and the community, it is primarily a perceptive and frequently moving delineation of changes in English life during the 20th cent. Among the novels in the series are Strangers and Brothers (1940), The Masters (1951), The New Men (1954), The Affair (1960), Corridors of Power (1964), and Last Things (1970). Snow's other novels include The Search (1934), In Their Wisdom (1974), and A Coat of Varnish (1979); Science and Government (1961), a collection of essays concerning the vocation of the scientist; biographical studies such as A Variety of Men (1967), The Realists (1978), and The Physicists (1981); and Public Affairs (1971), a collection of lectures about the benefits and dangers of technology. His 1959 Rede Lecture on The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, lamenting the increasing gulf between "literary intellectuals" and "scientists," provoked widespread and heated debate. He was married to the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson. Snow was knighted in 1957 and created baron (life peer) in 1964.

See studies by J. Thale (1964), R. G. Davis (1965), and P. Boytinck (1980).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

C.P. Snow: The Politics of Conscience
Frederick R. Karl.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1963
Strangers and Brothers
C. P. Snow.
Scribner, 1960
The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
C. P. Snow.
Cambridge University Press, 1959
Homecoming
C. P. Snow.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1956
The Search
C. P. Snow.
MacMillian, 1959
Time of Hope: A Novel
C. P. Snow.
Macmillan, 1950
Continuance and Change: The Contemporary British Novel Sequence
Robert K. Morris; Harry T. Moore.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1972
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "C. P. Snow: Strangers and Brothers: The Morality of History"
Contemporary British Novelists
Charles Shapiro.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1965
Librarian’s tip: "C. P. Snow: The Unreason of Reason" begins on p. 114
Contemporaries
Alfred Kazin.
Little, Brown, 1962
Scientism: Philosophy and the Infatuation with Science
Tom Sorell.
Routledge, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "The Snow-Leavis Controversy" begins on p. 98
The Columbia History of the British Novel
John J. Richetti; John Bender; Deirdre David; Michael Seidel.
Columbia University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "The Reaction against Modernism: Amis, Snow, Wilson" begins on p. 895
The Fourfold Tradition: Notes on the French and English Literatures, with Some Ethnological and Historical Asides
Rayner Heppenstall.
New Directions, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of C. P. Snow begins on p. 224
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