J. B. Priestley

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The really happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery, even when they have to take a detour.
Sir James Jeans
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John Boynton Priestley, OM (1894-09-131984-08-14) was an English playwright, novelist, social commentator, biographer, literary critic, screenwriter and broadcaster. Though now rather unfashionable, in his heyday he was one of the best-known British writers of his generation, combining popular success with critical respect.

See also An Inspector Calls.


  • Living in age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.
    • "The Disillusioned", in The Balconinny, and Other Essays ([1929] 1969) p. 30.
  • Our great-grand-children, when they learn how we began this war by snatching glory out of defeat, and then swept on to victory, may also learn how the little holiday steamers made an excursion to hell and came back glorious.
    • "Postscript to the News", broadcast on BBC radio, June 5, 1940; published in The Listener, June 13, 1940.
  • I can't help feeling wary when I hear anything said about the masses. First you take their faces from 'em by calling 'em the masses and then you accuse 'em of not having any faces.
    • Saturn Over the Water (1961) ch. 2.
  • It is hard to tell where the MCC ends and the Church of England begins.
  • Most writers enjoy two periods of happiness – when a glorious idea comes to mind and, secondly, when a last page has been written and you haven’t had time to know how much better it ought to be.
  • Much of writing might be described as mental pregnancy with successive difficult deliveries.


  • Marriage is like paying an endless visit in your worst clothes.

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