Last modified on 29 November 2014, at 03:36

J. B. Priestley

John Boynton Priestley OM (13 September 189414 August 1984) was an English playwright, novelist, social commentator, biographer, literary critic, screenwriter and broadcaster. Though now rather unfashionable, in his heyday he was one of the best-known British writers of his generation, combining popular success with critical respect.

See also An Inspector Calls, I Have Been Here Before and Time and the Conways.

QuotesEdit

  • Those no-sooner-have-I-touched-the-pillow people are past my comprehension. There is something suspiciously bovine about them.
  • Living in age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.
    • "The Disillusioned", in The Balconinny, and Other Essays ([1929] 1969) p. 30.
  • I suppose -- in the last resort -- you trust life -- or you don't. Well -- I don't. There's something malicious . . . corrupt . . . cruel . . . at the heart of it. We don't belong. We're a mistake.
  • I have lived longer than you. I have thought more, and I have suffered more. And I tell you there is more truth to the fundamental nature of things in the most foolish fairy tales than there is in any of your complaints against life.
  • Remember what we once were and what we thought we'd be. And now this. And it's all we have, Allan, it's us. Every step we've taken -- every tick of the clock -- making everything worse. If this is all life is, what's the use? Better to die, like carol, before you find it out, before Time gets to work on you. I've felt it before, Allan, but never as I've done tonight. There's a great devil in the universe, and we call it Time.
  • But the point is, now, at this moment, or at any moment, we're only a cross-section of our real selves. What we really are is the whole stretch of ourselves, all our time, and when we come to the end of this life, all those selves, all our time, will be us -- the real you, the real me. And then perhaps we'll find ourselves in another time, which is only another kind of dream.
    • Time and the Conways, p. 60.
  • Our great-grand-children, when they learn how we began this war by snatching glory out of defeat, and then swept on to victory, may also learn how the little holiday steamers made an excursion to hell and came back glorious.
    • "Postscript to the News", broadcast on BBC radio, June 5, 1940; published in The Listener, June 13, 1940.
  • In plain words; now that Britain has told the world she has the H-Bomb, she should announce as early as possible that she has done with it, that she proposes to reject, in all circumstances, nuclear warfare. This is not pacifism. There is no suggestion here of abandoning the immediate defence of this island . . . No, what should be abandoned is the idea of deterrence-by-threat-of-retaliation. There is no real security in it, no decency in it, no faith, hope, nor charity in it.
  • I can't help feeling wary when I hear anything said about the masses. First you take their faces from 'em by calling 'em the masses and then you accuse 'em of not having any faces.
    • Saturn Over the Water (1961) ch. 2.
  • It is hard to tell where the MCC ends and the Church of England begins.
  • In spite of recent jazzed-up one-day matches, cricket to be fully appreciated demands leisure, some sunny warm days and an understanding of its finer points.
    • The English (1973).
  • Most writers enjoy two periods of happiness – when a glorious idea comes to mind and, secondly, when a last page has been written and you haven’t had time to know how much better it ought to be.
  • Much of writing might be described as mental pregnancy with successive difficult deliveries.

External linksEdit

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