My personal interpretation of the title of Angel Pavement.


When I first picked up a novel by John Boynton Priestley "Angel Pavement" and read the title, I thought that this book will be about a very poor district, where a very religious people live, or, on the contrary, where there is a very rich house where a very imperious people live and who love to organize lavish balls, and one may say that they lead a rather sinful way of life. But in both cases, these people live on a fairly well-known street. But I could not have imagined that the novel was going to be about a small office "Twigg and Dersingham” that sales veneers and inlays, its employees and the incidents that changed their lives drastically. And that Angel Pavement is a little old street, and it has its fair share of sooty stone, and greasy walls, crumbling brick and rotting woodwork, but somehow it has never found itself on the stage of history. Kings, princes, great bishops, have never troubled it; murders it may have seen, but they have all belonged to private life; and no literary masterpiece has ever been written under one of its roofs…[1]

This small, unassuming street is contrasted to indifferent, hearty, bourgeois London, but at the same time it is a miniature of the "working" city – in this desolate running street with dark, cold houses, modest laborers are leading their miserable lives.[2]

Angel Pavement is the life itself for the main characters - a routine life without any kind of incidents, which is contrasted to the pompous posh life of London. But one day their lives and the life of “Twigg and Dersingham” undergo some changes, which are a result of Mr. Golspie’s arrival. To my mind, Mr. Golspie can be treated as an angel, whose appearance changed the life of the street. Perhaps it [the door] will open, one morning, to admit an angel, who, after looking up and down the little street for a moment, will suddenly blow the last trumpet.[3]

In my opinion, the author on purpose described Angel Pavement as such a small and nondescript street. Thus, he wanted to show the universal character of the situations that occur in it. He wanted to show that something like this could happen to everyone and thus wanted to warn his readers. When it seems that life has reached a deadlock and will never change for the better, there could happen something that will change the routine. But one should not lose his head for joy, and let things take their course, as these changes do not always lead to a happy end.

To sum it all up, I want to say that the title of the book has a dual character and that is why it has a touch of irony in it. The author made it on purpose as he wanted to confuse the reader a bit. And in my opinion it is the title of the book that gives it the unique charm and makes it very exciting.


[1] JB Priestley, “Angel Pavement”, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974, p.20

[2] JB Priestley, “Angel Pavement”, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974, p.462

[3] JB Priestley, “Angel Pavement”, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974, p.21