Studying An Inspector Calls? We are proud to have assisted the British Library in creating a fantastic new archive-based resource to help GCSE and A-level students, undergraduates and other learners enjoy and understand this work.
Poster for the first production of An Inspector Calls, in the USSR (archive reference PRI 9/1/7).
The resource, the Discovering Literature website, aims to set the Inspector and other great works of literature in their cultural, social and political contexts. Two new articles, specially commissioned for this project, explain the story and influence of An Inspector Calls:
Journalist and author Chris Power explores the meaning and structure of the play in his Introduction. He memorably describes AIC as a “a morality play disguised as a detective thriller” in which all the characters turn out to be guilty: guilty of selfishness, hypocrisy and callousness.
Special Collections Librarian Alison Cullingford contributed an article reflecting on the ways in which Priestley’s Bradford childhood and experiences in both World Wars shaped his political thinking and fuelled the anger and urgency that drive An Inspector Calls.
Both articles are extensively illustrated with high quality images from our Priestley archive and other collections, many made available online for the first time.
Do let us know if you find the material helpful in your study or teaching. We like feedback!
Did you know Bradford has its own Literature Festival? Over a hundred events celebrating the written and spoken word, from 15 to 24 May 2015, in a host of venues around the city.
The Festival has a distinctively Bradfordian flavour:
Bradford Reflections, by Tim Green – licence CC BY 2.0
- Venture into the Undercliffe necropolis – at twilight …
- Rediscover famous Bradfordians Humbert Wolfe and William Rothenstein and the city’s forgotten Jewish heritage
- Explore the incredible textiles of India and the riches of Urdu poetry
- Find out how Bollywood films portray male (often shirtless) beauty and style
Not to mention colleagues from Peace Studies at the University sharing their fascinating research: Dr Munro Price on Napoleon‘s downfall and Professor Paul Rogers discussing the rise of ISIS.
For venues, prices, tickets etc and many more events, check out the full programme on the Festival website.
I see that I haven’t yet written about the splendid work being done on the popular fiction of the early 20th century at Sheffield Hallam University. It’s time to put that right! SHU has an excellent collection of such works. This blog by Erica Brown chronicles the rediscovery of these often forgotten gems by a reading group. There’s lots of overlap with our Special Collections – they’ve even been reading J.B. Priestley!
Recently the group turned their attention to the work of Willie Riley, whose archive we have at Bradford. Riley is a wonderful example of an author who was a best-seller and a household name, thanks to his delightful debut Windyridge, but whose popularity has waned since.
Riley is now having a mini-revival, thanks to the efforts of former Bradford University student David Copeland, who has written extensively about Willie, uncovered archives and made many fascinating connections. On 25 October 2013, David will talk about Willie as part of an event on Yorkshire writers during Sheffield’s Off the Shelf festival. Find out more in this article from Saturday’s Yorkshire Post.
Windyridge Revisited dustjacket – my favourite dustjacket in Special Collections!
Posted in Bradford, Literature, Religion, Riley, Willie, Yorkshire
Tagged Fiction, Literature, Novelists, Novels, Sheffield Hallam University, Special Collections, Willie Riley, Yorkshire
J.B. Priestley’s great novel of the City of London and the working lives of Londoners during the Depression, Angel Pavement, will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Sunday 5 May 2013 at 3 pm. Part 2 will be broadcast on Sunday 12. I expect it will be available to listen online for some time after the broadcasts.
We’ve just put the latest edition of the catalogue of the J.B. Priestley Archive online.
YMCA “On active service” letterhead from one of J.B. Priestley’s letters home.
Lots of new things and improvements in response to readers’ needs, including:
- Enhanced section on Priestley’s unpublished scripts for books, plays, television and film. These include collaborations with Fred Hoyle and Iris Murdoch. Lots of detail on the physical nature of the scripts e.g. amendments by Priestley.
- More letters, notably Priestley’s incredible Great War letters from the trenches.
- Detailed cataloguing of files on Priestley’s art collection, indexing the artists he collected.
- Programmes, press cuttings and other responses to Priestley 2008-2012. Definite revival of interest, encompassing several less well known plays, and from scholarly, political and literary angles.
- Some sections renumbered for ease of use (don’t worry if you’re using the old numbers, we can cross-refer between them).
More on all the above in future blog posts!
Posted in Bradford, Hawkes, Jacquetta, Literature, Peace, Politics, Priestley, J.B., Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales
Tagged Archives, Art, Catalogues, Film, First World War, J.B. Priestley, Letters, Manuscripts, Paintings, Plays, Special Collections, Television
Special Collections will be closed for the Easter Break from Friday 29 March-Tuesday 2 April inclusive. We’re thrilled that J.B. Priestley features at the Bradford Eastercon on the Saturday. In honour of which, here is a detail from the wonderful dustjacket of Priestley’s uncorrected proof copy of Of Time and Stars: the worlds of Arthur C. Clarke (for which Priestley wrote the introduction).
Our reproduction doesn’t do justice to the amazingly purple, pink, orange and yellow original, which also (I think) introduces Clarke’s stories very well as does JBP’s typically quirky and personal introduction.
Whether you’re going to Eastercon or not, we wish you a very happy Easter!
Posted in Bradford, Literature, Priestley, J.B., Service News and Updates
Tagged 1970s, Arthur C. Clarke, Books, Easter, Eastercon, J.B. Priestley, Science Fiction, Special Collections
Introducing Priestley SpecFic
J.B. Priestley was fascinated by the possibilities of time, space, dreams and the fantastic or weird. Alongside the famous time plays, he used these ideas in TV scripts, essays, short stories and novels, ranging from Snoggle, a charming tale of a friendly alien, to the terrifying nuclear war scenario of Level 7. This spring, a convention and a publisher celebrate Priestley’s speculative fiction.
Ghost of Honour
Detail from dustjacket of Benighted by J.B. Priestley (Heinemann)
Priestley will be “Ghost of Honour” at this year’s Eastercon: Eightsquared, in Bradford over the Easter weekend, featuring a lecture by Lee Hanson, Chair of the J.B. Priestley Society. As the Eastercon blog says, “[Priestley’s] quietly durable work is well worth a fresh look as modern literary writers increasingly adopt SF ideas and themes. Priestley was doing that decades ago, as well as using elements of the fantastic to address political and social debates …”
Back to the Old Dark House
Detail from cover of The Other Place, by J.B. Priestley (Corgi)
Valancourt Books are issuing two classics of the weird by Priestley: Benighted, the tale of travellers benighted at an “old dark house”, which became a horror classic in its film form, and The Other Place, disquieting short stories, including “The Grey Ones” and “Uncle Phil on TV”.
There’s plenty of good stuff in the latest issue of the J.B. Priestley Society Journal (October 2012, volume 13)
Blue plaque for J.B. Priestley at 34 Mannheim Road, Bradford. The family didn’t move from there straight to Saltburn Place as has traditionally been thought …
- JC Eastwood on Priestley’s family homes in Bradford – clearing up a mystery!
- Professor Maggie Gale of Manchester University on Priestley as a “man of the theatre” – the text of her 2012 Society lecture.
- Priestley’s bibliographer Alan Day on JB’s links with novelist Phyllis Bentley and their opinions of each other’s writings. Alan Day also looks at a series of “short uplift articles” Priestley wrote for Lever Brothers in 1940 as part of a promotion for Sunlight Soap. Fascinating parallels to the Postscripts!
- Trevor Johnson writes about Priestley and Thomas Hardy, in particular the former’s use of Hardy’s poem in the Postscript about the Isle of Wight Volunteers of 16 June 1940.
- Philip Scowcroft surveys music in Priestley’s writings.
There is also a reprint of a Priestley rarity, “The Soul of Revue”, originally published in 1925 and hitherto unknown.
The Journal isn’t available online*, but is sent in print form to all members of the Society and is available in libraries, including ours of course.
*yet, watch this space!
Posted in Literature, Priestley, J.B., Yorkshire
Tagged Bradford, Drama, J.B. Priestley Society, Journals, Music, Phyllis Bentley, Priestley, Theatre, Thomas Hardy, World War II