C.P. Snow: The Politics of Conscience

C.P. Snow: The Politics of Conscience

C.P. Snow: The Politics of Conscience

C.P. Snow: The Politics of Conscience

Excerpt

At the times this preface is being written, the present book is the only one devoted to a full consideration of the novels of C.P. Snow. Frederick R. Karl has made a thorough and illuminating analysis of all of Snow's fiction, from his detective story of 1932 (Death Under Sail) to the latest volumes in the Strangers and Brothers series. And for that series Mr. Karl has compiled an interesting table of events, paralled by one which lists the principal facts of C.P. Snow's own life.

Charles Percy Snow, who is now formally Sir Charles Snow, was born in 1905 in Leicester, in many ways the counterpart of those Midland or Northern cities which have subsequently produced the writers known as the Angry Young Men (in another book in this Crosscurrents series, William Van O'Connor gives good reasons for prefembly using the other name they are known by which supplies the title for his volume: The New University Wits). Though Snow came from poverty, like many of them, his work has little in common with theirs, largely because he is a figure of the Establishment. Similarly, he has little in common with two prominent earlier writers who, like him, were poor boys who obtained their education by winning scholarships: D.H. Lawrence and H.C. Wells. Wells was, like Snow, a Man with scientific interests, but both his social-comedy and his science-fiction novels are generally different from the works of C.P. Snow, though the latter's second book, New Lives For Old (1933), is somewhat in the vein of Well's fantasies.

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