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An Inspector Calls and Other Plays (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

J. B. Priestley
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Mar 2001 Penguin Modern Classics

Previously published as Time and the Conways and Other Plays, J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls and Other Plays collects four groundbreaking works by a master playwright in Penguin Modern Classics.

An Inspector Calls, written at a time when society was undergoing sweeping transformations, has been produced as a successful film, and enjoyed repeated revivals since it was first produced in 1946. While holding its audience with the gripping tension of a detective thriller, it is also a philosophical play about social conscience and the crumbling of middle class values. Time and the Conways and I Have Been Here Before belong to Priestley's 'time' plays, in which he explores the idea of precognition and pits fate against free will. The Linden Tree also challenges preconceived ideas of history when Professor Linden comes into conflict with his family about how life should be lived after the war.

John Boynton Priestley (1894-1984) was born in Bradford, the son of a schoolmaster. On receiving an ex-officers' grant after the First World War, Priestley went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 1922, after refusing several academic posts, he went to London, where he soon established a reputation as an essayist and critic. With his third and fourth novels, The Good Companions (1929) and Angel Pavement (1930), he found great success and established an international reputation. This was enlarged by the plays he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s, notably Dangerous Corner (1932), Time and the Conways (1937) and An Inspector Calls (1945), which have been translated and produced all over the world.

If you enjoyed An Inspector Calls, you might like Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Priestley was volcanic, fertile ... [and] never dull'

Anthony Burgess, Observer


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An Inspector Calls and Other Plays (Penguin Modern Classics) + An Inspector Calls: York Notes for GCSE 2010
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (29 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014118535X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141185354
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

J.B. Priestley, the son of a schoolmaster, was born in Bradford in 1894. After leaving Belle Vue High School, he spent some time as a junior clerk in a wool office. (A lively account of his life at this period may be found in his volume of reminiscences, Margin Released.) He joined the army in 1914, and in 1919, on receiving an ox-officers' grant, went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 1922, after refusing several academic posts, and having already published one book and contributed critical articles and essays to various reviews, he went to London. There he soon made a reputation as an essayist and critic. he began writing novels, and with his third and fourth novels, The Good Companions and Angel Pavement, he scored a great success and established an international reputation. This was enlarged by the plays he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s, some of these, notably Dangerous Corner, Time and the Conways and An Inspector Calls, having been translated and produced all over the world. During the Second World War he was exceedingly popular as a broadcaster. Since the war his most important novels have been Bright Day, Festival at Farbridge, Lost Empires and The Image Men, and his more ambitious literary and social criticism can be found in Literature and Western Man, Man and Time and Journey Down a Rainbow, which he wrote with his wife, Jacquetta Hawkes, a distinguished archaeologist and a well-established writer herself. It was in this last book that Priestley coined the term 'Admass', now in common use. Among his latest books are Victoria's Heydey (1972), Over the Long High Wall (1972), The English (1973), Outcries and Asides, a collection of essays (1974), A Visit to New Zealand (1974), The Carfitt Crisis (1975), Particular Pleasures (1975), Found, Lost, Found, or the English Way of Life (1976), The Happy Dream (1976), English Humour (1976) and an autobiography, Instead of the Trees (1977). In 1977 J. B. Priestley received the Order of merit. He died in 1984.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There is a party at the Conways, this autumn evening of 1919, but we cannot see it, only hear it. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a very clear point 3 Sep 2009
By Basma
Format:Paperback
'An Inspector Calls' is a really interesting play that makes a very specific point and makes it very clearly. It definitely gives you something to think about as it shows how all the characters are linked and how peoples' actions affect others. You do get caught up in the play and the end is almost breathtaking. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something intelligent, yet easy to understand.

The other plays in the book don't have the same effect as this play, unfortuneately. Only 'Time and the Conways' has a resembling effect that 'An Inspector Calls' has. Nevertheless... the book is worth getting for that one play.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good service, good play. 4 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent service...well packaged and delivered promptly. The book was as expected ... Crisp and new. The play, as always, clever with a final twist.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Inspector Calls - J.B. Priestley 9 May 2011
By Ingrid
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
J.B. Priestley needs no introduction - he was known for his volumes of written work from the 1930's, if not before. An Inspector Calls is just as relevant today as when it was first produced as a play in 1946. Showing how many well-to-do and powerful people thrive on keeping the poor and vulnerable down - even to the point of death.

This particular edition contains four plays: Time and the Conways. I have Been Here Before. An Inspector Calls.
The Linden Tree.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece 20 Jun 2014
By David
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Work of art.

Great work from one of the masters of British Writing. An Inspector Calls is still true today.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I first read this play when I was 14. I didn't understand all the socio-economic and political issues until I was 19. It was during this period that I became a confirmed socialist (or rather left leaning in my politics).

When I first read the play - I remember a few classmates being confused that one family encountered the same girl, which went beyond coincidence. This is NOT the case - that's just a twist - if you had believed that then you'll not be able to sympathise with Eva Smith's plight (society prefers strong characters even if they are victims suffering the utmost misfortune).

The play intends to illustrates the inequality between the classes - how dangerous this inequitable situation is if there are no safeguards. Eva is just a random chick - imagine if things were going against you because you "dallied" with a powerful/wealthy family/ corporate/ entity - well if there are no laws protecting you - you are screwed.

Prior to Clement Atlee's government, there was no Welfare State. Poor working class women who became pregnant, were abandoned. Women were also too frightened to report incidents of rape if committed by a member of the "respectable" class.

There was no NHS, hence healthcare was the luxury of the privileged classes (child mortality rates were atrocious prior to the NHS).

The play conveys the vulnerability of women such as Eva. We see how Sheila (a middleclass wealthy girl) uses her wealth to intimidate a shopkeeper into sacking Eva over a whim. This action demonstrates the lack of employment laws and the necessity to enforce these laws.
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3.0 out of 5 stars For the student of J.B. Priestley 27 Aug 2014
By manley
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rather heavy for modern readers. very well written of course but a dated mode of expression.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It has all the text and is easy to read 16 Oct 2014
By Tobie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for a play reading group. It has all the text and is easy to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend to all 26 Jun 2014
By Solmaz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
lovely and cheap item . thank you for a fast service . Recommend to all
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