J.B.PRIESTLEY by Susan Cooper


Portrait Of An Author
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This is not really a biography (J. B. seems to be an unusually unhelpful subject) but an appreciation, encompassing yards and yards of excerpts from Priestley's circa fifty plays, novels and essay collections. It is this quality of energetic engagement on a variety of fronts as well as a disengagement of self from psychical combat that has perhaps caused Priestley's fiction to be shouldered off by the critics as outmoded, in content as in style, and slight. But thanks to Miss Cooper's clipping service, one is treated to some marvellous effortless singing dialogue and a crowd of characters that Dickens-like (Priestley-Cooper hate the comparison) build to solidity before your very eyes. They're generally a likable lot and as their creator says: ". . . novelists and dramatists should like a lot of people. Shakespeare did. Novelists today hate everybody." Miss Cooper, after a chronological examination, but no real evaluation, of the oeuvre, discusses his intrinsic views on nationalism and religion -- he opts for an England becoming, and as for religion: ". . . man lives under God in a great mystery." Although adoring, she wisely limns J. B. as a "giant" rather than a genius and this is a young celebration of another Old Party.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1971
ISBN: 0434142913
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1971