Groups and enclaves

  • Suguna Ramanathan


A recurring theme in Snow’s novels is that of ‘man in conference’, a subject which no other novelist has handled with the same sustained curiosity and sense of conviction. In dealing with the inner workings of groups and the confrontation of individuals with groups, Snow demonstrates a sensitive aliveness not only to the language and matter but also to the many psychological undercurrents that surface on such occasions. The clearest treatment of groups and the men who comprise them are to be found in his novels The Masters and The Affair but more isolated examples can also be found in The Search and Homecomings. Illustrations in this chapter of Snow’s thoughts on what constitutes a group and holds it together, and on the individuals both snugly within it and loftily outside it, will be taken mainly from the four novels mentioned above.


Civil Servant Group Decision Bitter Sense Civil Service Examination Small Decision 
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  1. 1.
    E.W. Mandel, ‘C.P. Snow’s Fantasy of Politics,’ Queen’s Quarterly, 69 (1962) 24.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    C.P. Snow, The Masters (London: Penguin, 1969), p. 264.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C.P. Snow, ‘In the Communities of the Elite,’ TLS, 15 Oct 1971, p. 1249.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    C.P. Snow, Last Things (London: Macmillan, 1970), p. 32.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Richard Mayne, ‘The Club Armchair’, Encounter, 21 (1963) 76.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    C.P. Snow, The Light-and the Dark (New York: Scribner, 1947) p. 346.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    E.W. Mandel, ‘C.P. Snow’s Fantasy of Politics,’ Queen’s Quarterly, 69 (1962) 34. I am indebted to this article for its discussion of the individual versus the group.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    C.P. Snow, Homecomings (London: Penguin, 1866), p. 255.Google Scholar

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© Suguna Ramanathan 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suguna Ramanathan

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