C. P. Baron Snow of Leicester Snow (Charles Percy, Baron Snow of Leicester Snow) Biography
(1905–80), (Charles Percy, Baron Snow of Leicester Snow), Strangers and Brothers, George Passant
British novelist and essayist, born in Leicester, educated at University College, Leicester, and Christ's College, Cambridge. In the early stages of his career he was committed to science. He held many important public and academic posts, and was created Baron in 1964. Most of Snow's novels form part of an eleven-volume sequence entitled Strangers and Brothers, narrated by Lewis Eliot, a character whose career follows fairly closely to that of the author, who rose from an obscure background. Power and the abuse of power, possessive love, and the bureaucracy of organized groups are central themes in much of his work. The first volume of the sequence, originally Strangers and Brothers (1940) and retitled George Passant (1973), is set mainly during Eliot's youth, and introduces the eccentric utopian character of the title. Others include Time of Hope (1949), describing Eliot's childhood and early life as a lawyer and his marriage to Sheila Knight; The Masters (1951), perhaps Snow's best-known novel, concerning a Cambridge college involved in a dispute over the election of a new Master; The New Men (1954), in which Eliot's brother, Martin, examines a group of scientists developing the atomic bomb; Homecomings (1956); The Affair (1960); Corridors of Power (1964), set in Parliament and which introduced the catchphrase for the workings of civil servants and parliamentarians; and The Sleep of Reason (1968), centring on the trial of the Moors murderers. Novels outside the sequence include New Lives for Old (1934) and The Malcontents (1972). The most notable, and controversial, of his non-fiction works is his 1959 Rede Lecture, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959). He has written many other works including plays, often in collaboration with his wife Pamela Hansford Johnson, and a life of Trollope (1975). His essays on the need for education in science were influential for a time.