J. B. Priestley's Time Plays

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The British author J. B. Priestley wrote a number of dramas during the 1930s and 40s, which have come to be known as his Time Plays.[1] They are so called because each constructs its plot around a particular concept of time. In the plays, various theories of time become a central theatrical device of the play, the characters' lives being affected by how they react to the unusual temporal landscape they encounter.[2]

The Time Plays comprise:

Of all the theories of time employed in the plays, Priestley professed to take only one seriously: that of J. W. Dunne as expounded in his book An Experiment with Time. However, his acceptance of the theory is qualified. Dunne's theory involved an infinite regress of time dimensions and levels of the self and Priestley rejected more than the first few time dimensions, which were sufficient to explain both the passage of time and precognition.[4]


  1. ^ Robert Skloot; "The Time Plays of J. B. Priestley", Quarterly Journal of Speech, Volume 56, Issue 4 (1970), Pages 426-431.[1]
  2. ^ JB Priestley's son on An Inspector Calls - Cambridge News 16 October 2011
  3. ^ a b c Priestley (1964) p134
  4. ^ J. B. Priestley; Man and Time (1964)

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