It is many years since theatrical types have considered JB Priestley’s work to be in vogue, although the National Theatre’s adaptation of An Inspector Calls in the 1990s went some way towards resurrecting his reputation.
But the revelation of his uncredited influence on Hollywood reminds us just how important to modern culture this son of Bradford really was. He may indeed have invented the modern horror genre, we learn.
It is rare to find Priestley’s wider body of work on the national curriculum. As a result, it remains hidden from many young people. It deserves a wider audience.
In particular, English Journey, his 1934 travelogue, is one of the most important treatises on the effect of the First World War upon the following generation. Its lessons still resonate today.
The fact that 35 years after his death, his life continues to fascinate us, speaks volumes in itself.
We have the JB Priestley Society to thank for keeping his flame alive, and long may they continue to do so.