Colin Wilson

Priestley

J B Priestley, The Last of the Sages

By

John Calder: Riverrun Press, 308pp. £15 order from our bookshop

There is a passage in Angus Wilson’s novel Hemlock and After that will undoubtedly afford amusement to literary historians of the future. A group of ‘cultured’ people are discussing a scheme for helping young writers, and someone remarks that Eliot has given his support, and that Maugham has subscribed handsomely. ‘I suppose you’ve got Priestley?’ says a rather catty type. ‘Bernard was not so easily caught. He ignored the remark. “Charles Morgan”, he said, smiling at Hubert, “is unfortunately in France.”‘ Hemlock and After appeared in 1951, and what is being implied is that Priestley is quite unmentionable – or certainly not in the same breath as Eliot, Maugham and Morgan.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,