"The Forsyte Saga" was the title originally destined for that part of it which is called "The Man of Property"; and to adopt it for the collected chronicles of the Forsyte family has indulged the Forsytean tenacity that is in all of us. The word Saga might be objected to on the ground that it connotes the heroic and that there is little heroism in these pages. But it is used with a suitable irony; and, after all, this long tale, though it may deal with folk in frock coats, furbelows, and a gilt-edged period, is not devoid of the essential heat of conflict. Discounting for the gigantic stature and blood-thirstiness of old days, as they have come down to us in fairy-tale and legend, the folk of the old Sagas were Forsytes, assuredly, in their possessive instincts, and as little proof against the inroads of beauty and passion as Swithin, Soames, or even Young Jolyon. And if heroic figures, in days that never were, seem to startle out from their surroundings in fashion unbecoming to a Forsyte of the Victorian era, we may be sure that tribal instinct was even then the prime force, and that "family" and the sense of home and property counted as they do to this day, for all the recent efforts to "talk them out."
So many people have written and claimed that their families were the originals of the Forsytes that one has been almost encouraged to believe in the typicality of an imagined species. Manners change and modes evolve, and "Timothy's on the Bayswater Road" becomes a nest of the unbelievable in all except essentials; we shall not look upon its like again, nor perhaps on such a one as James or Old Jolyon. And yet the figures of Insurance Societies and the utterances of Judges reassure us daily that our earthly paradise is still a rich preserve, where the wild raiders, Beauty and Passion, come stealing in, filching security from beneath our noses. As surely as a dog will bark at a brass band, so will the essential Soames in human nature ever rise up uneasily against the dissolution which hovers round the folds of ownership. "Let the dead Past bury its dead" would be a better saying if the Past ever died. The persistence of the Past is one of those tragi-comic blessings which each new age denies, coming cocksure on to the stage to mouth its claim to a perfect novelty.
"He might wish and wish and never get it - the beauty and the loving in the world!"- The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
The Forsyte Saga is a series of novels about the vicissitudes of the members of one upper middle-class family, in England, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book has been professionally formatted for e-readers and contains a bonus book club leadership guide and discussion questions. We hope you’ll share this book with your friends, neighbors and colleagues and can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it.
Light, entering the vast room—a room so high that its carved ceiling refused itself to exact scrutiny—travelled, with the wistful, cold curiosity of the dawn, over a fantastic storehouse of Time. Light, unaccompanied by the prejudice of human eyes, made strange revelation of incongruities, as though illuminating the dispassionate march of history.
For in this dining hall—one of the finest in England—the Caradoc family had for centuries assembled the trophies and records of their existence. Round about this dining hall they had built and pulled down and restored, until the rest of Monkland Court presented some aspect of homogeneity. Here alone they had left virgin the work of the old quasi-monastic builders, and within it unconsciously deposited their souls. For there were here, meeting the eyes of light, all those rather touching evidences of man's desire to persist for ever, those shells of his former bodies, the fetishes and queer proofs of his faiths, together with the remorseless demonstration of their treatment at the hands of Time.
The annalist might here have found all his needed confirmations; the analyst from this material formed the due equation of high birth; the philosopher traced the course of aristocracy, from its primeval rise in crude strength or subtlety, through centuries of power, to picturesque decadence, and the beginnings of its last stand. Even the artist might here, perchance, have seized on the dry ineffable pervading spirit, as one visiting an old cathedral seems to scent out the constriction of its heart.
Such a day made glad the heart. All the flags of July were waving; the sun and the poppies flaming; white butterflies spiring up and twining, and the bees busy on the snapdragons. The lime-trees were coming into flower. Tall white lilies in the garden beds already rivaled the delphiniums; the York and Lancaster roses were full-blown round their golden hearts. There was a gentle breeze, and a swish and stir and hum rose and fell above the head of Edward Pierson, coming back from his lonely ramble over Tintern Abbey. He had arrived at Kestrel, his brother Robert's home on the bank of the Wye only that morning, having stayed at Bath on the way down; and now he had got his face burnt in that parti-coloured way peculiar to the faces of those who have been too long in London. As he came along the narrow, rather overgrown avenue, the sound of a waltz thrummed out on a piano fell on his ears, and he smiled, for music was the greatest passion he had. His dark grizzled hair was pushed back off his hot brow, which he fanned with his straw hat. Though not broad, that brow was the broadest part of a narrow oval face whose length was increased by a short, dark, pointed beard—a visage such as Vandyk might have painted, grave and gentle, but for its bright grey eyes, cinder-lashed and crow's-footed, and its strange look of not seeing what was before it. He walked quickly, though he was tired and hot; tall, upright, and thin, in a grey parsonical suit, on whose black kerseymere vest a little gold cross dangled.
In Strife, Galsworthy deals with industrial relations; in Justice, with prison life - it was one of the few plays to effect real reforms. The Eldest Son is also about injustice - one law for the rich, another for the poor; The Skin Game, Galsworthy's first commercial success, presents class conflict; while Loyalties, 'a crime drama', is about division and prejudice.
John Galsworthy is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
With his daughter and her husband he had been up here already, the afternoon before, and had taken a fancy to the place. Apart from the general attraction of a cemetery, this statue awakened the connoisseur within him. Though not a thing you could acquire, it was undoubtedly a work of art, and produced a very marked effect. He did not remember a statue that made him feel so thoroughly at home. That great greenish bronze figure of seated woman within the hooding folds of her ample cloak seemed to carry him down to the bottom of his own soul. Yesterday, in the presence of Fleur, Michael, and other people, all gaping like himself, he had not so much noted the mood of the thing as its technical excellence, but now, alone, he could enjoy the luxury of his own sensations. Some called it "Grief," some "The Adams Memorial." He didn't know, but in any case there it was, the best thing he had come across in America, the one that gave him the most pleasure, in spite of all the water he had seen at Niagara and those skyscrapers in New York. Three times he had changed his position on that crescent marble seat, varying his sensations every time. From his present position the woman had passed beyond grief. She sat in a frozen acceptance deeper than death itself, very remarkable! There was something about death! He remembered his own father, James, a quarter of an hour after death, as if--as if he had been told at last!
A red-oak leaf fell on to his lapel, another on to his knee; Soames did not brush them off. Easy to sit still in front of that thing! They ought to make America sit there once a week!
In the afternoon of the last day of April, 190-, a billowy sea of little broken clouds crowned the thin air above High Street, Kensington. This soft tumult of vapours, covering nearly all the firmament, was in onslaught round a patch of blue sky, shaped somewhat like a star, which still gleamed—a single gentian flower amongst innumerable grass. Each of these small clouds seemed fitted with a pair of unseen wings, and, as insects flight on their too constant journeys, they were setting forth all ways round this starry blossom which burned so clear with the colour of its far fixity. On one side they were massed in fleecy congeries, so crowding each other that no edge or outline was preserved; on the other, higher, stronger, emergent from their fellow-clouds, they seemed leading the attack on that surviving gleam of the ineffable. Infinite was the variety of those million separate vapours, infinite the unchanging unity of that fixed blue star.
Down in the street beneath this eternal warring of the various soft-winged clouds on the unmisted ether, men, women, children, and their familiars—horses, dogs, and cats—were pursuing their occupations with the sweet zest of the Spring. They streamed along, and the noise of their frequenting rose in an unbroken roar: "I, I—I, I!"
The crowd was perhaps thickest outside the premises of Messrs. Rose and Thorn. Every kind of being, from the highest to the lowest, passed in front of the hundred doors of this establishment; and before the costume window a rather tall, slight, graceful woman stood thinking: "It really is gentian blue! But I don't know whether I ought to buy it, with all this distress about!"
He walked along Holywell that afternoon of early June with his short gown drooping down his arms, and no cap on his thick dark hair. A youth of middle height, and built as if he had come of two very different strains, one sturdy, the other wiry and light. His face, too, was a curious blend, for, though it was strongly formed, its expression was rather soft and moody. His eyes—dark grey, with a good deal of light in them, and very black lashes—had a way of looking beyond what they saw, so that he did not seem always to be quite present; but his smile was exceedingly swift, uncovering teeth as white as a negro's, and giving his face a peculiar eagerness. People stared at him a little as he passed—since in eighteen hundred and eighty he was before his time in not wearing a cap. Women especially were interested; they perceived that he took no notice of them, seeming rather to be looking into distance, and making combinations in his soul.
Did he know of what he was thinking—did he ever know quite definitely at that time of his life, when things, especially those beyond the immediate horizon, were so curious and interesting?—the things he was going to see and do when he had got through Oxford, where everybody was 'awfully decent' to him and 'all right' of course, but not so very interesting.
Each man born into the world is born like Shelton in this book—to go a journey, and for the most part he is born on the high road. At first he sits there in the dust, with his little chubby hands reaching at nothing, and his little solemn eyes staring into space. As soon as he can toddle, he moves, by the queer instinct we call the love of life, straight along this road, looking neither to the right nor left, so pleased is he to walk. And he is charmed with everything—with the nice flat road, all broad and white, with his own feet, and with the prospect he can see on either hand. The sun shines, and he finds the road a little hot and dusty; the rain falls, and he splashes through the muddy puddles. It makes no matter—all is pleasant; his fathers went this way before him; they made this road for him to tread, and, when they bred him, passed into his fibre the love of doing things as they themselves had done them. So he walks on and on, resting comfortably at nights under the roofs that have been raised to shelter him, by those who went before.
Suddenly one day, without intending to, he notices a path or opening in the hedge, leading to right or left, and he stands, looking at the undiscovered. After that he stops at all the openings in the hedge; one day, with a beating heart, he tries one.
And this is where the fun begins.
Her predilection for things French came from childish recollections of school-days in Paris, and a hasty removal thence by her father during the revolution of '48, of later travels as a little maiden, by diligence, to Pau and the then undiscovered Pyrenees, to a Montpellier and a Nice as yet unspoiled. Unto her seventy-eighth year, her French accent had remained unruffled, her soul in love with French gloves and dresses; and her face had the pale, unwrinkled, slightly aquiline perfection of the 'French marquise' type—it may, perhaps, be doubted whether any French marquise ever looked the part so perfectly.
How it came about that she had settled down in a southern French town, in the summer of 1914, only her roving spirit knew. She had been a widow ten years, which she had passed in the quest of perfection; all her life she had been haunted by that instinct, half-smothered in ministering to her husband, children, and establishments in London and the country. Now, in loneliness, the intrinsic independence of her soul was able to assert itself, and from hotel to hotel she had wandered in England, Wales, Switzerland, France, till now she had found what seemingly arrested her. Was it the age of that oldest of Western cities, that little mother of Western civilisation, which captured her fancy? Or did a curious perversity turn her from more obvious abodes, or was she kept there by the charm of a certain church which she would enter every day to steep herself in mellow darkness, the scent of incense, the drone of incantations, and quiet communion with a God higher indeed than she had been brought up to, high-church though she had always been? She had a pretty little apartment, where for very little—the bulk of her small wealth was habitually at the service of others—she could manage with one maid and no "fuss."
The year was 1891, the month October, the day Monday. In the dark outside the railway-station at Worsted Skeynes Mr. Horace Pendyce's omnibus, his brougham, his luggage-cart, monopolised space. The face of Mr. Horace Pendyce's coachman monopolised the light of the solitary station lantern. Rosy-gilled, with fat close-clipped grey whiskers and inscrutably pursed lips, it presided high up in the easterly air like an emblem of the feudal system. On the platform within, Mr. Horace Pendyce's first footman and second groom in long livery coats with silver buttons, their appearance slightly relieved by the rakish cock of their top-hats, awaited the arrival of the 6.15.
The first footman took from his pocket a half-sheet of stamped and crested notepaper covered with Mr. Horace Pendyce's small and precise calligraphy. He read from it in a nasal, derisive voice: "Hon. Geoff, and Mrs. Winlow, blue room and dress; maid, small drab. Mr. George, white room. Mrs. Jaspar Bellew, gold. The Captain, red. General Pendyce, pink room; valet, back attic. That's the lot."
The groom, a red-cheeked youth, paid no attention. "If this here Ambler of Mr. George's wins on Wednesday," he said, "it's as good as five pounds in my pocket. Who does for Mr. George?" "James, of course."
The groom whistled. "I'll try an' get his loadin' to-morrow. Are you on, Tom?"
At the door of St. George's registry office, Charles Clare Winton strolled forward in the wake of the taxi-cab that was bearing his daughter away with"the fiddler fellow" she had married. His sense of decorum forbade his walking with Nurse Betty—the only other witness of the wedding. A stout woman in a highly emotional condition would have been an incongruous companion to his slim, upright figure, moving with just that unexaggerated swing and balance becoming to a lancer of the old school, even if he has been on the retired list for sixteen years.
Poor Betty! He thought of her with irritated sympathy—she need not have given way to tears on the door-step. She might well feel lost now Gyp was gone, but not so lost as himself! His pale-gloved hand—the one real hand he had, for his right hand had been amputated at the wrist—twisted vexedly at the small, grizzling moustache lifting itself from the corners of his firm lips. On this grey February day he wore no overcoat; faithful to the absolute, almost shamefaced quietness of that wedding, he had not even donned black coat and silk hat, but wore a blue suit and a hard black felt. The instinct of a soldier and hunting man to exhibit no sign whatever of emotion did not desert him this dark day of his life; but his grey-hazel eyes kept contracting, staring fiercely, contracting again; and, at moments, as if overpowered by some deep feeling, they darkened and seemed to draw back in his head. His face was narrow and weathered and thin-cheeked, with a clean-cut jaw, small ears, hair darker than the moustache, but touched at the side wings with grey—the face of a man of action, self-reliant, resourceful. And his bearing was that of one who has always been a bit of a dandy, and paid attention to "form," yet been conscious sometimes that there were things beyond. A man, who, preserving all the precision of a type, yet had in him a streak of something that was not typical. Such often have tragedy in their pasts.
In the year —— there dwelt on Hampstead Heath a small thin gentleman of fifty-eight, gentle disposition, and independent means, whose wits had become somewhat addled from reading the writings and speeches of public men. The castle which, like every Englishman, he inhabited was embedded in lilac bushes and laburnums, and was attached to another castle, embedded, in deference to our national dislike of uniformity, in acacias and laurustinus. Our gentleman, whose name was John Lavender, had until the days of the Great War passed one of those curious existences are sometimes to be met with, in doing harm to nobody. He had been brought up to the Bar, but like most barristers had never practised, and had spent his time among animals and the wisdom of the past. At the period in which this record opens he owned a young female sheep-dog called Blink, with beautiful eyes obscured by hair; and was attended to by a thin and energetic housekeeper, in his estimation above all weakness, whose name was Marian Petty, and by her husband, his chauffeur, whose name was Joe.
One early April afternoon, in a Worcestershire field, the only field in that immediate landscape which was not down in grass, a man moved slowly athwart the furrows, sowing—a big man of heavy build, swinging his hairy brown arm with the grace of strength. He wore no coat or hat; a waistcoat, open over a blue-checked cotton shirt, flapped against belted corduroys that were somewhat the color of his square, pale-brown face and dusty hair. His eyes were sad, with the swimming yet fixed stare of epileptics; his mouth heavy-lipped, so that, but for the yearning eyes, the face would have been almost brutal. He looked as if he suffered from silence. The elm-trees bordering the field, though only just in leaf, showed dark against a white sky. A light wind blew, carrying already a scent from the earth and growth pushing up, for the year was early. The green Malvern hills rose in the west; and not far away, shrouded by trees, a long country house of weathered brick faced to the south. Save for the man sowing, and some rooks crossing from elm to elm, no life was visible in all the green land. And it was quiet—with a strange, a brooding tranquillity. The fields and hills seemed to mock the scars of road and ditch and furrow scraped on them, to mock at barriers of hedge and wall—between the green land and white sky was a conspiracy to disregard those small activities. So lonely was it, so plunged in a ground-bass of silence; so much too big and permanent for any figure of man.
I would not like to believe that our faith in the value of imaginative art has diminished, that we think it less worth while to struggle for glimpses of truth and for the words which may pass them on to other eyes; or that we can no longer discern the star we tried to follow; but I do fear, with him, that half a lifetime of endeavour has dulled the exuberance which kept one up till morning discussing the ways and means of aesthetic achievement. We have discovered, perhaps with a certain finality, that by no talk can a writer add a cubit to his stature, or change the temperament which moulds and colours the vision of life he sets before the few who will pause to look at it. And so—the rest is silence, and what of work we may still do will be done in that dogged muteness which is the lot of advancing years.
Other times, other men and modes, but not other truth. Truth, though essentially relative, like Einstein's theory, will never lose its ever-new and unique quality-perfect proportion; for Truth, to the human consciousness at least, is but that vitally just relation of part to whole which is the very condition of life itself. And the task before the imaginative writer, whether at the end of the last century or all these aeons later, is the presentation of a vision which to eye and ear and mind has the implicit proportions of Truth.
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Galsworthy's life and works
* Concise introductions to the novels and other texts
* ALL 17 novels published before 1923, with individual contents tables
* Includes Galsworthy's first novel JOCEYLN, which he later refused to reprint – appearing here for the first time in digital format
* Images of how the books were first printed, giving your eReader a taste of the Edwardian texts
* Excellent formatting
* Unique contents table for the Forsyte Saga novels
* Chronological and alphabetical contents tables for the essays, poetry and short stories
* The complete plays, fully indexed, with a special introductory essay by Leon Schalit
* Rare short story, poetry and essay collections available nowhere else
* Special criticism section, with essays by writers such as Joseph Conrad, evaluating Galsworthy’s contribution to literature
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
Please note: to comply with US copyright restrictions, six late novels, three short story collections and four non-fiction books cannot appear in this edition. Once new texts enter the US public domain, they will be added as a free update.
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The Forsyte Saga
THE ISLAND PHARISEES
THE MAN OF PROPERTY
THE COUNTRY HOUSE
THE DARK FLOWER
INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE
THE BURNING SPEAR
A MAN OF DEVON
SALVATION OF A FORSYTE
The Short Story Collections
FROM THE FOUR WINDS
THE INN OF TRANQUILLITY
THE LITTLE MAN AND OTHER SATIRES
The Short Stories
LIST OF SHORT STORIES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
LIST OF SHORT STORIES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
INTRODUCTION TO GALSWORTHY'S PLAYS by Leon Schalit
INDEX OF PLAYS
The Poetry Collections
DEVON AND OTHER SONGS FOR MUSIC
IN TIME OF WAR
FOR LOVE OF BEASTS
THE ENDLESS DREAM
LIST OF POEMS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
LIST OF POEMS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
ADDRESSES IN AMERICA
STUDIES AND ESSAYS
LIST OF ESSAYS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
LIST OF ESSAYS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
JOHN GALSWORTHY: AN APPRECIATION by Peter Thomason
JOHN GALSWORTHY by Joseph Conrad
A GLANCE AT TWO BOOKS by Joseph Conrad
GALSWORTHY: A SURVEY by Leon Schalit
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In Chancery begins where The Man of Property—and its subsequent interlude—left off, pursuing Soames and Irene Forsyte across Edwardian England, meanwhile highlighting the failing marriage of Soames’s sister, Winifred. Galsworthy juxtaposes the two relationships while bringing more members of the Forsyte clan into the drama, making for one of the most thought-provoking and entertaining satires on marriage and social class in the annals of British literature.
Following the events of The Man of Property and the brief and profoundly touching interlude Indian Summer of a Forsyte, siblings Soames and Winifred find themselves facing marital discord. Both Forsytes contemplate divorce, though Soames finds he is unwilling to let go of Irene, stalking her at home and abroad despite her reluctance to reconcile. When Irene inherits money from a patriarch within the Forsyte clan, Soames begins to suspect infidelities between his wife and his cousin Jolyon. But are his suspicions based on reality or the possessiveness that has haunted his marriage all along?
Meticulously detailed and deliciously suspenseful, In Chancery is the pivotal second installment in the acclaimed Forsyte Saga and one of Nobel laureate John Galsworthy’s finest novels.
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Old loves threaten to jeopardize a family’s future in the final installment of the Forsyte Saga. Part social satire, part melodrama, this captivating novel brings to fascinating life author John Galsworthy’s preoccupations with class, gender, and morality.
Soames and Irene Forsyte have finally separated after years of turmoil. Irene is now wed to Soames’s cousin Jolyon and Soames to Annette. But when the children of these marriages, second cousins unaware of the prolonged and painful family saga that has slowly unfolded across generations, uncover the dark history, their parents will stop at nothing to put an end to their love affair. Soames’s daughter, Fleur, is charming and beautiful, but does she have the same tendencies toward possessiveness that drove a wedge between Soames and Irene? Or will the young aristocrat Michael Mont succeed in winning Fleur’s hand, thus restoring the family to wealth and prominence? And does Soames find a morbid reflection of himself when he combs through the effects of his departed Uncle Timmy, a lifelong recluse and hoarder?
To Let brings to a fitting conclusion John Galsworthy’s engrossing saga of family life and the conflicting demands of romance and social class. The Forsyte Saga is a masterpiece of British literature, as pertinent and as resonant today as it was in Edwardian England.
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