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An Inspector Calls and Other Plays (Penguin Modern Classics)

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His breakthrough came with the immensely popular novel The Good Companions, published in 1929, and Angel Pavement followed in 1930. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. His prolific output continued right up to his final years, and to the end he remained the great literary all-rounder. In the inspector’s final, monitory speech, he makes explicit a broader charge: “We don’t live alone. Some members of the Conservative Party, including Winston Churchill, expressed concern that Priestley might be expressing left-wing views on the programme, and, to his dismay, Priestley was dropped after his talk on 20th October 1940.

In the last play, The Linden Tree, the effect of the passage of time on human beings and families is explored in a conventional manner, making it the most "ordinary" of the lot. It's once again Kay's birthday party, this time the fortieth, but the occasion is far from pleasant: the Conways have lost their wealth, relationships have formed and broken down, and most of the family (except Alan) have become disillusioned and embittered. B. Priestley masterpiece is joined by three other powerful plays Time and the Conways, I Have Been Here Before and The Linden Tree. The play is both fatalistic (we keep making the same mistakes because we don’t know enough ahead of time to avoid them) and optimistic (with effort and perhaps luck, we can know); it could’ve been popular in the 60s.

The main story is an enjoyable one to read and teach though and I think particularly with the incredibly switched on class I had added to the enjoyment of it.The phrasing may sound old-fashioned, but the point is not; given that, in the modern period, we’re prone to expecting an apocalypse any day now, Priestley’s play, and his suggestion that if it comes the guilty party will not be them but us, is quite timely. It has a powerful political message which we will all learn in “fire, blood and anguish” if we don’t listen. Conway, her sons happy-go-lucky son Robin and quiet and perceptive Alan; daughters Hazel (pretty and rather silly), Madge (serious and political), Kay (creative and sensitive) and Carol(an exhilarating free spirit). In 1922, after refusing several academic posts, he went to London, where he soon established a reputation as an essayist and critic.

Again, time makes its entrance here in the form of history, on which Professor Linden has his own refreshingly different views.A policeman interrupts a rich family's dinner to question them about the suicide of a young working-class girl. Priestley here encapsulates many of the things I love about twentieth-century writing: chiefly among them the true realisation and reckoning with the passage of time in a turbulent century. This modern play includes class conflict and differences, the selfishness of individuals, capitalism vs communism, and greed being the root of all problems. Certainly the characters in the play are very engaging and the ending is excellent, namely the hint of the resurgence of the spirit of a great professor who has almost, but not quite, been crushed by circumstances outside his control. We work closely with publishers and authors to ensure that we offer the best books on the market for your child.

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