The Atlantic Bookshelf: A Guide to Good Books

Among young English writers, ,J. B. Priestley’s star is definitely in the ascendant. Born in 1894, he was in the upper reaches of his education when the war Broke out. Four and a half years’ service in the Duke of Wellington’s and Devon regiments did him no serious harm, and at Cambridge, after the Armistice, his wit, his editorship of an undergraduate journal, and his writing made him a marked man. He did his Loudon apprenticeship in drub Street with more than usual distinction; he wrote genial essays, the biographies of George Meredith and Peacock for the English Men of Letters Series, and volumes on the English novel and English humor. In 1927 alone five books bore his signature. He was adviser to a London publishing house, and essayist for the Saturday Review. In 1928 he collaborated with Hugh Walpole in writing a novel, Furthiny Hall, and the experience and the friendship with Walpole had their effect. The Good Companions, Mr. Priestley’s first big novel, was instantaneous in its success; in England it sold over 100,000 copies and in the United States the sales have now passed that figure. This success released Mr. Priestley from journalism, from which he has retired in order to devote himself wholly to his creative writing.