The Vision of J.B. Priestley
Drawing on private and published sources, Roger Fagge takes an in-depth look at J.B. Priestley's work, seeking to reclaim him as an important English thinker. Priestley grew up in Bradford, and served on the front line in the First World War, before attending Cambridge and embarking on a career as a writer. A committed radical, he wrote widely for the press, as well as producing autobiographies, social criticism and plays. This work revealed a growing interest in the meaning of Englishness and the start of a long-running relationship with America. Priestley achieved even greater influence during the early years of World War II via his popular BBC radio 'postscripts'. His later career, however, saw his faith in the people give way to a disillusionment with the spread of the Americanised mass society, although his critical response to the latter maintained a perceptive engagement with world. The Vision of J.B. Priestley charts the continuities, strengths and weaknesses in the author's long career, and his vision of an outward looking radical Englishness.