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.