The Light and the Dark

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The Light and the Dark: a novel
First edition cover
Author Charles Percy Snow
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Strangers and Brothers
Publisher London : Faber[1]
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 392[1]
Preceded by The Conscience of the Rich
Followed by The Masters

The Light and the Dark is the fourth novel in C. P. Snow's Strangers and Brothers series. Set in England in the lead-up to and during World War II, it portrays Lewis Eliot's friendship with the gifted scholar and remarkable individual Roy Calvert, and Calvert's inner turmoil and quest for meaning in life. Calvert was based on Snow's friend, Coptic scholar, Charles Allberry.[2] Their relationship is developed further in The Masters.

The title - The Light and the Dark - refers to the beliefs of Manichaeism, which the book refers to as "Christian heresy" but is now often referred to as religion in its own right. "In its cosmology, the whole of cosmology is a battle of the light against the dark. Man's spirit is part of the light, and his flesh of the dark."[3]

The title has resonance to the buildup to war, the sense of catastrophe so widespread in the 1930s, and Calvert's mental health problems.


  1. ^ a b c "Search result from Oxford University libraries"
  2. ^ Snow, P (2006). "C. P. Snow". Christ's College Magazine. 231: 67–9. 
  3. ^ Snow, C.P. The Light and the Dark. pp. 37–8.