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By Nicolas Tredell (auth.)

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Additional info for C.P. Snow: The Dynamics of Hope

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He worked under Lord Hankey (1877–1963), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1940–41 in the government of Winston Churchill (1879–1965; PM 1940–45; 1951–55). The work was demanding but enjoyable. In a letter of 11 December 1940 to his brother Philip, he described himself as doing a rather important job which takes me behind the scenes in various ministries and sometimes to the outskirts of the War Ministry: rushing about in trains, interviewing vice-chancellors, reading War and Peace and the lesser Dostoevski [sic] novels in interminable journeys through the blackout: occupied, harassed, overworked and fairly cheerful.

The best-known and most critically esteemed novel of the series, The Masters, appeared in 1951. The New Men, about the attempt to produce a British atomic bomb and the impact on British scientists of the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, came out in 1954, and, together with The Masters, received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for that year. Homecomings followed in 1956 and The Conscience of the Rich in 1958. By the end of the decade, Snow’s widely-read fiction was becoming a source of critical controversy as it seemed to affront deeply entrenched ideas of what a novel should be.

All these people know each other well, but Philip’s fiancée, Tonia Gilmour, aged around 24, seems a stranger (though this later proves not quite true). It looks like a ‘pleasant yachting party’ but, as we would expect from a detective story, the group is later revealed to have ‘all sorts of emotional conflicts’ and ‘a curious assortment of personal relations’ (126, 127). P. 25 the next morning, Tuesday 8 September, Ian and Avice, who have gone up on deck together, realize that they are being steered by a corpse: Roger is at the tiller, shot through the heart, ‘the jovial, happy smile with which he would always greet a friend’ still on his face.

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