Priestley, J. B.
(John Boynton Priestley), 1894–1984, English author. An extraordinarily prolific writer, Priestley worked in a variety of genres. He first wrote literary criticism as a student at Cambridge, thereafter producing such celebrated volumes as The English Novel
(1927) and Literature and Western Man
(1960). His many novels include The Good Companions
(1929), Angel Pavement
(1930), Bright Day
(1946), It's an Old Country
(1967), and The Image Men
(1969). In his plays he experimented with expressionist forms and psychological themes; see Time and the Conways
(1937), and with social criticism in dramas like Dangerous Corner
(1932). Other plays include An Inspector Calls
(1945), The Glass Cage
(1957), and When We are Married
(1938), revived with great success in 1986. Priestley also wrote mystery stories, personal history, and social criticism, English Journey
(1934), Rain upon Gadshill
(1939), Thoughts in the Wilderness
(1957), and The Happy Dream
(1976). His works of history include The Edwardians
(1970) and Victoria's Heyday
(1972). His reminiscences, published between 1962 and 1977, cover the full spectrum of British 20th Century culture.
See study by D. Hughes (1958, repr. 1979).
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