J. B. Priestley
John Boynton Priestley OM (13 September 1894 – 14 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.
- Those no-sooner-have-I-touched-the-pillow people are past my comprehension. There is something suspiciously bovine about them.
- "The Dark Hours", in Too Many People, and Other Reflections (1928).
- Shaw presumes that his friend Stalin has everything under control. Well, Stalin may have made special arrangements to see that Shaw comes to no harm, but the rest of us in Western Europe do not feel quite so sure of our fate, especially those of us who do not share Shaw's curious admiration for dictators.
- J. B. Priestley, The War - And After, in Horizon magazine (January 1940), reprinted in War Decade : An Anthology of the 1940s (1989) by Andrew Sinclair
- 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 ( 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 Been Here Before, Act II.
- 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.
- I Have Been Here Before, Act III.
- 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.
- Time and the Conways, p. 59-60.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Britain and the Nuclear Bombs", The New Statesman, 2 November 1957. This article led to the creation of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
- 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.
- Although we talk so much about coincidence we do not really believe in it. In our heart of hearts we think better of the universe, we are secretly convinced that it is not such a slipshod, haphazard affair, that everything in it has meaning.
- "A Coincidence," Going Up Stories and Sketches (1950)