Background to An Inspector Calls

Revision notes on the background to the book An Inspector Calls.

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  • Created by: Lucy :)
  • Created on: 18-05-13 18:41

Background to Priestley

  • John Priestley gre up with 'people who read a great deal, cared a lot for at least one of the arts, and preferred real talk and... hot argument to social chit-chat'
  • joined infantry at 20, near death experiences
  • The Good Companions (1929) best-selling
  • 1930s concerned with the social inequality in Britian
  • 1932,38 first play Dangerous Corner
  • there was reoccurring themes:  effects of an individual's action over a passage of time + responsibility both individual and collective for those actions and their consquences
  • he talked on the Sunday night Postscripts on BBC radio, too critical of Government's actions under pressure from the Ministry of Information
  • height of his writing times, An Inspector Calls 1945
  • end of 1945, social history, literarcy criticism + autobiologies
  • served as a British delegate to UNESCO
  • honoured by Universities of Birmingham + Bradford --> freeman of the City in 1973
  • Order of Merit, 1977
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Theatrical Context

  • Musicals trying to claw back theatre audience from the pictures
  • Also comic farces and detective thrillers written by Agatha Christie and Emlyn Williams
  • The Old Vic company to host the play (AIC) damaged in war = relocated
  • 1st Oct 1946, play now performed
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The Story and In Performance

  • It was wrote in a week
  • sent to Moscow as no where in London
  • set in 1912
  • closer to the morality play genre (didactic)
  • naturalistic tone becomes more surreal
  • precise and demanding instructions to the actors
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Conditions of the time

  • there were huge social divisions between the upper and lower classes
  • few worker rights, working conditions
  • well-off women expected to marry
  • cheap, poor women, laybour
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Moral questions

Are we responsible for each other?

Should everyone look after themself?

Are we all connected to one another?

Does what we all say, think and do affect the lives of others?

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