The works of JB Priestley were considered either fabulous or peculiar or in some cases inflammatory, but like so many works of great literature, they tend to come back into favour many, many years after publication. In Priestley case, perhaps the time is right in today’s world to grasp fully where he was coming from when he wrote many of this great pieces such as the much loved novel The Good Companions in 1929, Let the People Sing in 1939 and The Magicians in 1954 amongst the many.
In Time and the Rose Garden an interesting and informative Forward has been written by his great grandson Luke Goaman-Dodson where he comes to the conclusion that to really understand JB’s works, perhaps you need to be slightly older. Even though J.B. had become well known for his works based in Edwardian times and the social comedy of those years, there was much, much more to his writing than was apparent.
Noted for writing long and in his words ‘self-indulgent essays’ such as Man and Time in 1964, he was also a much loved broadcaster and social commentator with the BBC, particularly during WWII. It was noted that he was the second most listened to man after Churchill. As a playwright he had a different platform to enjoy with Dangerous Corner produced in 1932 and perhaps his best known play An Inspector Calls in 1945. It is considered his plays are far more diverse than his novels with his passion for the Theory of Time forming the basis for Time and the Conroy’s in 1937.
Anthony Peake has done a masterful work in researching this diverse author who firmly believed in the Jungian theory of Collective Consciousness, dystopian reality and time slip. He also discusses Priestley’s beliefs in what he referred to as the ‘Immortal Observer’, his muse, of which Priestley said could be considered as located in the Sixth Dimension and was largely responsible for his phenomenal output over the years.
That J.B. was a prolific writer is undisputable, that his work was always well received is defiantly debatable, that he left a legacy of words, created from the times in which he lived, as much as by his somewhat radical beliefs and lusty lifestyle, is considered a treasure now only really being understood.
For anyone with a serious interest in literature, or written works that were always slightly different, this in-depth dissection of the life of John Boynton (JB) Priestley OM (13 September 1894 – 14 August 1984) and his beliefs is well worth reading.
|Publisher||John Hunt Pulishing|