Novelist, screenwriter and playwright John Boynton Priestley OM (born 13 September, 1894 in Bradford, England; died 14 August 1984), better known as J. B. Priestley, is perhaps best known for work interrogating society and questioning the nature of time.
- Benighted (1927)
- Dangerous Corner (1932)
- Time and the Conways (1937)
- I Have Been Here Before (1937)
- When We Are Married (1938)
- An Inspector Calls (1945)
- The Linden Tree (1948)
Common Themes and Elements:
- Ambition Is Evil: In Time and the Conways Ernest Beevers becomes rich and successful, but is revealed as an unpleasant man and abusive husband. In An Inspector Calls, Mr Birling’s ambition is more important than the consequences for others.
- Dysfunctional Family: The Birlings and the 1937 Conways both count. The Lindens may not be quite so bad, but certainly have their moments.
- Family Disunion: Priestley seems to love this trope. The Linden Tree and Time and the Conways both use birthday gatherings.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The titular Inspector of An Inspector Calls falls into this category, as does Kay’s barely-remembered vision of the Bad Present in Time and the Conways. Dr Gôrtler of I Have Been Here Before starts in this category as well, but it’s mostly resolved by the end of the play.