Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 188

Lewis is ranked with Aldous Huxley and Evelyn Waugh as one of the finest interwar satirists. Unlike Huxley’s diffident intellectuals or Waugh’s innocent young men, Lewis’ characters tend to be persons of action. Rather than simply being content to absorb life’s buffetings, they flail through life trying to establish a place, albeit a tenuous one, amid the uncertainties and violence of the modern world.

Snooty Baronet generates an energy and develops a geographical scope worthy of Waugh’s novels. Unlike Lewis’ earlier novel, the Apes of God (1930), which is confined to London and its surroundings, Snooty Baronet encompasses a locale as wide as the far-flung reaches of the empire. Students of Lewis’ work have slighted this book, preferring The Apes of God or the later The Revenge for Love (1937), ignoring the advances made in this novel toward a greater dependence on narrative and character over polemic. The plot is diffuse, and the characters, especially Snooty, are at times unsympathetic, but the handling of point of view and the wonderful tension Lewis maintains between Snooty and the reader deserve better treatment than has been accorded them.

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