J.B. Priestley, like many of his Great War veteran contemporaries, was a time-haunted man. He was intrigued by the work of J.W. Dunne, not only to provide plots and ideas for his plays, but because he sought answers to deep questions about time and the meaning of life. You can hear more about Dunne and Priestley and time in I Have Been Here Before, a recent BBC Radio 3 documentary.
The broadcast highlights an extraordinary part of the J.B. Priestley Archive here at Bradford. Lecturer and author Katy Price discusses the “Time” letters written to Priestley by members of the public in response to his interest in precognition, dreams and other time-related phenomena. The letters show how people trusted Priestley, pouring out experiences and thoughts they had never shared with anyone else.
Further reading: Dr Price recently published an academic article which uses the evidence in the letters to explore mid-20th century mentalities and psychiatric experiences: Testimonies of precognition and encounters with psychiatry in letters to J. B. Priestley.
Priestley, Documentary, Realism and Democracy: open one-day conference sponsored by the J.B. Priestley Society.
9.45-17.00 West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. 25 October 2014.
There is still time to book a place at this fascinating conference, which includes Special Collections staff among the speakers.
It is eighty years since the publication of J.B. Priestley’s English Journey . The book influenced a whole generation on its appearance and has since inspired numerous responses and sequels. This conference aims both to do justice to that impact and also to consider wider issues raised by the documentary and social-realistic work of Priestley and his contemporaries in the Thirties and Forties. Alison Cullingford will introduce delegates to the Heinemann Scrapbook, which shows how the publisher whipped up interest in Priestley’s controversial comments on English cities (image above). Martin Levy will explore belatedness and Priestley’s social philosophy. Other speakers will cover aspects of cinema, Orwell, Muir, social fiction and Priestley’s wartime suspense stories.
To find out more and book your place, see the conference mini-website.
Download the Programme. JBPS 2014 Conference Running Order
Download the Poster. JBPS_Conference_Poster
Posted in Priestley, J.B.
Tagged 1930s, Archives, Cinema, Conferences, Documentaries, Film, J.B. Priestley, J.B. Priestley Society, Literature, Novels
The J.B. Priestley Society and National Media Museum present Johnson over Jordan. 12 October 2014, Bradford.
In the experimental play Johnson over Jordan (1939), J.B. Priestley explored the meaning of life – and death. Everyman Robert Johnson leads an ordinary family life, until he dies and is thrown into bewildering, terrifying, and, ultimately, moving afterlife experiences. This event offers the first opportunity to see the TV adaptation of the play since its original “Thursday Theatre” broadcast on BBC2 in 1965. The adaptation features a stellar cast, including Ralph Richardson, who created the part onstage, as Johnson.
A must-see for all Priestley fans and anyone with an interest in theatre, television or philosophy. You can book tickets via the National Media Museum website.