. 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.
After all, not only has Daldry found success with An Inspector Calls in the last few decades he has also amassed numerous other credits as well. As a filmmaker he has directed the likes of Billy Elliot and The Reader, whilst his other stage credits include Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre , The Audience at the Apollo and Gielgud Theatre , Skylight at the Wyndham’s Theatre and Rat In The Skill at the Royal Court Theatre. Such productions on the on and off the stage have earned numerous awards and nominations.
“We do not live alone,” the Inspector says in his final speech, “we are members of one body.” This perhaps is the most important and central theme of the play: that we have a duty to other people, regardless of social status, wealth, class, or anything else. There is, Priestley observes, such a thing as society, and he argues that it is important that people be aware of the effects of their actions on others. The Birlings, of course, initially do not think at all about how they might have affected Eva Smith, but they are forced to confront their likely responsibility over the course of the play.