Priestley's England: J. B. Priestley and English Culture
Annotation Priestleys England is the first full-length academic study of J B Priestley - novelist, playwright, screen-writer, journalist and broadcaster, political activist, public intellectual and popular entertainer, one of the makers of twentieth-century Britain, and one of its sharpest critics. From his scathing analysis of a slump-stricken nation in the best-selling English Journey, to his popular wartime broadcasts which paved the way to 1945 and the welfare state, his post-war critique of Admass and the Cold War (he was a co-founder of CND), and his continual engagement with the question of Englishness, Priestley addressed the key issues of the century from a radical standpoint in fiction, journalism and plays which appealed to a wide audience and made him one of the most successful writers of his day, in a career which spanned the 1920s and the 1980s. Priestleys England explores the cultural, literary and political history of twentieth-century Britain through the themes which preoccupied Priestley throughout his life: competing versions of Englishness; tradition, modernity, and the decline of industrial England; Americanisation, mass culture and Admass; cultural values and broadbrow culture; consumerism and the decay of the public sphere; the loss of spirituality and community in the nervous excitement, the frenzy, the underlying despair of our century. It argues that Priestley has been unjustly neglected for too long: we have a great deal to learn both from this extraordinary, multi-faceted man, and from the English radical tradition he represented. This book will appeal to all those interested in the culture and politics of twentieth-century Britain, in the continuing debates over Englishness to which Priestley made such a key contribution, and in the life and work of one of the most remarkable and popular writers of the past century.
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