J. B. Priestley
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Books By J. B. Priestley
'We don't live alone ... We are responsible for each other'
A policeman interrupts a rich family's dinner to question them about the suicide of a young working-class girl. As their guilty secrets are gradually revealed over the course of the evening, 'An Inspector Calls', J. B. Priestley's most famous play, shows us the terrible consequences of poverty and inequality. The other powerful plays in this collection - 'Time and the Conways', 'I Have Been Here Before' and 'The Linden Tree' - explore time, fate, free will and the effects of war.
'A vastly talented and exceptionally versatile and wise writer' Iris Murdoch
'Priestley was volcanic, fertile ... and never dull' Anthony Burgess
If you enjoyed An Inspector Calls, you might like Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
by J. B. Priestley
Introduced by Barry Cryer
Foreword by Tom Priestley
Foreword by Dame Judi Dench
Biographical background by Lee Hanson
The Good Companions on stage and Screen by Lee Hanson
In the great depression between the wars, ordinary Yorkshireman, Jess Oakroyd, disreputable schoolteacher, Inigo Jollifant and Colonel’s daughter, Miss Trant are all unhappy and unsure about what to do with their lives. Each seizes the opportunity to flee their current situation to seek adventure on the open road. Fate then brings them together and into the presence of a down-at-heel and fractious theatrical touring company. With Miss Trant’s money, their modest talents and buckets of enthusiasm they form a travelling troupe who proceed to sing, dance, drink and argue their way through the pavilions, provincial theatres, towns, seaside lodging houses and market fairs of Twenties’ England.
The winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1929, The Good Companions is a captivating, hilarious, riotous and unforgettable carnival of English life.
"Priestley is a writer whom I admire. I remember reading The Good Companions in one fell juvenile swoop." Melvyn Bragg
“A truly great novel.” The Sunday Times
“Wonderful vitality… describes with unfailing truth and humour the rich fabric of English provincial life.” The Daily Telegraph
“One of the great novels of the 20th Century.” Paul Johnson, The Spectator
“A wonderful story.” Dame Judi Dench
“Picaresque, picturesque… If you have not read it I envy you, it lies ahead…” Barry Cryer
by J. B. Priestley
Introduced by John Sutherland
A First Word by Tom Priestley
Priestley and the Critics: A Well Worn Path by Lee Hanson
Tucked away in the City of London, lies a dingy, almost forgotten side street known as Angel Pavement. Here can be found the headquarters of Twigg & Dersingham, suppliers of veneers and inlays to the cabinet-making trade. Business is bad and getting worse. The firm is fighting for its life and its staff are gripped by the fear of insolvency and redundancy. Into their midst descends the mysterious and charming Mr. Golspie and his beautiful daughter, Lena. Together they set in train a sequence of events that will transform the lives of everyone who works there.
Shot through with Priestley’s trademark social conscience, Angel Pavement is one of the great London novels; a vivid evocation of the 1930s metropolis in an age of recession. It is also a brilliant and startlingly relevant examination of what happens to a group of workers when the destructive force of a rapacious financial predator is unleashed among them.
“There’s a part of London no-one can take from me, because I invented it.” J. B. Priestley
“The whole fabric of the few lives, are opened up to us with a warm and generous assiduity that is entirely convincing… Magnificent.” The Times
“A novel by a man who thoroughly enjoys the whole spectacle of life and can communicate his enjoyment.” The Daily Telegraph
“A marvellous writer.” David Hockney
“A lost classic from the teeming world of Depression-era London.”
An Inspector Calls combines an intriguing plot line with insightful social commentary and superb characterisation, resulting in a truly thought-provoking piece of theatre.
On a spring evening in 1912, in an English town the wealthy Birling family receive an unexpected visit from a police inspector investigating the suicide of a young woman. Surely none of them could have anything to do with her sad fate… or could they?
-Unabridged, full original script.
-Full colour graphic novel format.
-Includes dramatis personae.
-Culturally significant ebook for home, schools and libraries.
-Optimized for kindle devices and features panel magnification.
Published with the permission of The Estate of J. B. Priestley for which the publisher extends their sincere thanks.
Play copyright © J. B. Priestley 1945
Adaption and illustration copyright © Classical Comics 2012
Priestley has a special tenderness for Eden End and for it he created some of his most fragile, gentle characters. The stoical Dr Kirby, his younger son Wilfred, desperate to prove himself a man of the world, and Lilian, the daughter who stayed at home, are a sharply observed and instantly recognisable family, with all its dreams and disappointments.
'Abundant life flows through J.B. Priestley's books. He was the last of his kind.' - Stan Barstow
'J.B. Priestley is one of our literary icons of the 20th century. And it is time that we all became re-acquainted with his genius.' - Dame Judi Dench
Philip and Margaret Waverton and their friend Roger Penderel are driving through the mountains of Wales when a torrential downpour washes away the road and forces them to seek shelter for the night. They take refuge in an ancient, crumbling mansion inhabited by the strange and sinister Femm family and their brutish servant Morgan. Determined to make the best of the circumstances, the benighted travellers drink, talk, and play games to pass the time while the storm rages outside. But as the night progresses and tensions rise, dangerous and unexpected secrets emerge. On the house's top floor are two locked doors; behind one of them lies the mysterious, unseen Sir Roderick Femm, and behind the other lurks an unspeakable terror. Which is more deadly: the apocalyptic storm outside the house or the unknown horrors that await within? And will any of them survive the night?
Benighted (1927), a classic 'old dark house' novel of psychological terror, was the second novel by J. B. Priestley (1894-1984), better known for his classics The Good Companions (1929), Angel Pavement (1930) and Bright Day (1946). The basis for James Whale's 1932 film The Old Dark House, Benighted returns to print for the first time in fifty years. This edition includes the unabridged text of the first British edition, a new introduction by Orrin Grey, and a reproduction of the rare jacket art of the 1927 Heinemann edition.
by J. B. Priestley
Introduced by Barry Cryer and Roy Hudd
A First Word by Tom Priestley
Variety was his Spice of Life by Michael Nelson
Lost Empires is J. B. Priestley’s late masterpiece. The First World War is looming and the music halls are thriving. Into the backstage world of dingy lodging houses, outrageous characters and decaying variety stages comes Richard Herncastle, an aspiring painter who has agreed to travel the country with his Uncle Nick, the half lovable, half-monster, master illusionist. Once inside this comic and tragic world Richard becomes caught in a triangle of love, jealousy, temptation and sexual adventure.
Vividly imagined, authentic and richly-coloured, Lost Empires is a humorous and occasionally disturbing coming-of-age story as well as a haunting portrait of a way of life and a society soon to change forever.
“His best for many books… Conveys a marvellous sense of period.”
A Major novel. Nostalgic but often disturbing” Sunday Express
“If you've read this before, embark on a return journey. If you haven't, I envy you.” Barry Cryer
“My favourite of all his work… a storyteller supreme, a master of his craft.” Roy Hudd
“Priestley looks not only inwards at his characters, but outwards, towards the great events that shape their lives, outwards at history.” John Braine
'[A] most satisfactory suspense story. It has the advantage of being different and witty and full of the kind of observation that will delight many.' - Best Sellers
'[A] cosy, old-fashioned detective story.' - Francis Iles, Guardian
'[C]omfortably old-fashioned novels are hard to come by these days. Good old Priestley has written a good old book.' - The Critic
'[T]his is an enjoyable story, with plenty of moral social comment.' - Times Literary Supplement
'In Salt is Leaving Priestley offers the best of the detective genre. It is almost a classic yet it has a zip and freshness that sets it apart.' - Victoria Advocate
Dr Salt is leaving the dismal and depressing town of Birkden, and his departure can't come soon enough. Recently widowed and newly retired from the practice of medicine, Salt looks forward to starting a new life in a sunnier clime. But before he can go, he must solve the mystery of the disappearance of one of his patients, Noreen Wilks, a young woman in urgent need of a life-saving drug. Believing she's just a flighty young person who has run away, the police refuse to investigate, but Salt has reason to suspect foul play. Joining forces with Maggie Culworth, whose father has also inexplicably vanished, Salt must contend with powerful forces desperate to conceal the truth as he follows the clues towards a shocking and macabre conclusion.
The only detective story by the prolific playwright and novelist J. B. Priestley (1894-1984), Salt is Leaving (1966) was originally written for the author's own amusement but has gone on to be recognized as a classic of the mystery genre. This edition features a new introduction by Mark Mason.
Once passionate about the theatre, playwright Martin Cheveril is now disillusioned and contemplating a change of career. His new play, a bitter and cynical piece, is about to premiere when something strange happens. After stumbling upon an old pamphlet about a talented young actress named Jenny Villiers who died in 1846, Cheveril dozes off and finds himself somehow transported back to the theatre of her day. By some mysterious means, he will find himself a spectator of the tragedy of Jenny's life and death-a tragedy whose effects will echo strangely into the present day.
One of the prolific J. B. Priestley's favourites among his own books, the unusual ghost story Jenny Villiers (1947) returns to print at last in this new edition. Ten other classic titles by Priestley are also available from Valancourt.
"J.B. Priestley is one of our literary icons of the 20th century. And it is time that we all became reacquainted with his genius." - Judi Dench
"One of the finest and most popular storytellers of the last hundred years." - Margaret Drabble
"[T]he story is novel in its incidents and he exploits skilfully the dramatic possibilities of extending human vision into normally hidden dimensions." - The Guardian
"Mr. Priestley has always been a man of vision ... The Magicians has a theme of the first importance." - Spectator
Sir Charles Ravenstreet, in his mid-fifties, is unmarried and childless and lives only for his work in the fast-paced world of business. When he is forced out of his job to make room for someone younger, Sir Charles finds himself at a loose end and facing the dismal prospect of an empty future. Believing he can make use of Sir Charles, the sinister Lord Mervil seeks to enlist his aid in a scheme to earn a fortune by manufacturing a new drug that relieves its users of all anxiety and will reduce the masses to a state of docility and mindless euphoria. But a plane crash and an encounter with three strange old men determined to thwart Lord Mervil's plans will lead Sir Charles to the exciting discovery that when he suspected his life might be over, it had really only just begun.
One of the most enjoyable novels by the prolific J.B. Priestley (1894-1984), The Magicians (1954) is both a whimsical story of the strange and fantastic and a sharply satirical fable of modern life. This 60th anniversary edition features a new introduction by Lee Hanson and the original jacket art by Val Biro.
"[T]he most completely unified novel that Mr. Priestley has written . . . an exciting tale for holiday reading. The novel is, in short, something like a masterpiece ... would do credit to any novelist." - Manchester Guardian
"Mr. Priestley is in lighter and more fanciful mood in this new novel of his ... He has pleasant little excitements to offer and some sufficiently entertaining passages of dialogue ... an interesting Wellsian fantasy ... a smooth and pleasant mixture of sentiment and thrills." - Times Literary Supplement
"Grand melodrama and mystery ... [a] fast-paced adventure story.... It's a well conceived tale, exceptionally well told - and makes first rate vacation reading." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[D]esigned to raise our hair ... piling menace on suspense, and desolation on both, and letting us hear the brilliant minutes tick away in Californian light. For this is a horror story - with a difference.... a very wild story ... love, horror, death, and escape." - The Spectator
"Wicked and bizarre ... communicates the author's excitement to the reader." - Saturday Review
"No one who likes Priestley will be disappointed or disillusioned by this book." - New York Times
Three strangers, each on a separate mission, converge in the California desert. Jimmy Edlin is hot on the trail of a religious cult he believes is responsible for his brother's murder; George Hooker is a physicist in search of a missing colleague; and Malcolm Darbyshire is an Englishman looking for a beautiful heiress who has vanished without a trace. When the three men come together and discover that their situations are intertwined, they join forces to try to unravel these mysteries. Braving danger and death at every turn, they follow a trail of clues that leads to an explosive conclusion, as they uncover a sinister group whose insane philosophy calls for the destruction of all life on earth and who possess the awesome power to bring about doomsday!
Written against the backdrop of the rise of Hitler and Mussolini and with the threat of the Second World War looming, The Doomsday Men (1938) is one of J.B. Priestley's most thrilling novels and a story with frightening implications. This edition, the first in over fifty years, features a new introduction by Jonathan Barnes and a reproduction of the original jacket art.