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But the most remarkable revision is surely the case of JB Priestley. Acclaimed for most of his life as a writer of hugely popular books and plays, which became part of the national imagination, he is now best known for that dramatic pot-boiler, An Inspector Calls and as a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament launched after Priestley wrote an article in this magazine.

To a modern readership his novels are — if they are considered at all — period pieces. Even The Good Companions , his breakout hit of , adapted many times for stage and screen, has fallen by the wayside. There are writers of the recent past who are not particularly well-read, but who are nevertheless well-considered: Patrick Hamilton, for example.

Priestley is neither well-read nor fashionable. For many readers, who would consider themselves well-informed, he never existed. In truth, he was never fashionable. Born in Bradford in , John Boynton Priestley came to prominence in the Twenties, that high watermark of literary modernism.

Even more conventional writers were treading a different path. Set in that context The Good Companions looked back to the 19th century, where Priestley felt at home. It was noted.

Perhaps the choicest comparison is with William Faulkner. The Sound and the Fury is considered one of the great novels of the past century. Yet it is wilfully obscure. The Good Companions , by contrast, is a rollicking adventure that grips the reader throughout its pages.


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He also used time distortion as the basis for a mystery drama with moral overtones, An Inspector Calls Many of his plays featured skillful characterizations of ordinary people in domestic settings. An adept radio speaker, he had a wide audience for his patriotic broadcasts during World War II and for his subsequent Sunday evening programs.

Priestley refused both a knighthood and a peerage, but he accepted the Order of Merit in Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.

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Start Your Free Trial Today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Bradford, urban area from built-up area , city, and metropolitan borough, metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, historic county of Yorkshire, northern England. He wrote successful articles and published his first novel in He wrote his first play in and went on to write 50 more. Much of his writing was controversial.

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He included new ideas about possible parallel universes and strong political messages. Post-war drama context: Political.

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Post-war dramas reflect the economic and political and social issues of the wartime period. Priestley wrote 'An Inspector Calls' after the First World War and like much of his work contains controversial, politically charged messages. For example, democracy versus dictatorships or socialism versus capitalism. Post-war drama context: Historical dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is very common in Inspector Calls!

J.B. Priestley

Dramatic irony is when only the audience knows about the ironic situation taking place in the play, which creates humour or suspense. At the beginning of the play, the Titanic is described as "unsinkable". We as an audience know this is wrong, but we also know the characters are oblivious.

Personalities J.B. Priestley (1944)

The characters also consider the chances of a world war - as this play is set before WW1 - to a post-WW2 audience. Priestley uses this small-scale 'microcosm' a situation which represents in miniature something much larger of the death of Eva Smith to allure to the deaths and murders of hundreds of thousands of citizens which would occur in just a few years after the play's period. During World War 2, he broadcast a popular weekly radio show which was attacked by the Conservatives for being too left-wing. The programme was eventually cancelled by the BBC for being too critical of the Government.