The Forsyte Saga
- Pages: 8
- Word count: 1760
- Category: Love
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For those who wish it, the following is a little bit of an intro to the reading of The Forsyte Saga Vol 1; henceforth designated by me as, TFS.
I. His Life:
He attended Harrow and New College, Oxford, training as a barrister and was called to the bar in 1890. However, he was not keen to begin practising law and instead travelled abroad to look after the family’s shipping business interests.
In 1895 Galsworthy began an affair with Ada Nemesis Pearson, the wife of one of his cousins. After her divorce the pair eventually married on 23 September 1905 and stayed together until his death in 1933. Prior to their marriage, they stayed clandestinely in a farmhouse called Wingstone in the village of Manaton on Dartmoor, Devon. From 1908 he took out a long lease on part of the building and made it their regular second home until 1923.
He is now far better known for his novels and particularly TFS, the first of three trilogies of novels about the Forsyte family and connected lives. These books, as with many of his other works, dealt with class, and in particular upper-middle class lives. Although sympathetic to his characters he highlights their insular, snobbish and acquisitive attitudes and their suffocating moral codes. He is viewed as one of the first writers of the Edwardian era; challenging in his works some of the ideals of society depicted in the preceding literature of Victorian England. The character of Irene in TFS is drawn from Ada Pearson even though her previous marriage was not as miserable as Irene’s.
John Galsworthy lived for the final seven years of his life at Bury in West Sussex. He died from a brain tumour at his London home, Grove Lodge, Hampstead.
Galsworthy was a dramatist of considerable technical skill. His plays often took up specific social grievances such as the double standard of justice as applied to the upper and lower classes in The Silver Box (1906) and the confrontation of capital and labour in Strife (1909). Justice (1910), his most famous play, led to a prison reform in England. Galsworthy’s reaction o the First World War found its expression in The Mob (1914), in which the voice of a statesman is drowned in the madness of the war-hungry masses; and in enmity of the two families of The Skin Game (1920). From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969
II. A Genealogy
This book, like War & Peace and many other long books, has a geneology associated with it. If you would like one version of the geneology to assist you in the reading of the book, you could access it here… http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/forsyte/swf/printable.html
III. The Structure
The Forsyte Saga, the first of three trilogies of novels is itself a trilogy: The Forsyte Saga, A Modern Comedy, End of the Chapter.
TFS consists of 3 Volumes:
The first part is The Forsyte Saga that consists of: The Man of Property,(Interlude) Indian Summer of a Forsyte, In Chancery, (Interlude) Awakening, To Let.
IV. Two Suggested Approaches As We Go Along….
Certain books are for fast reads and benefit from that approach. This particular book is possibly best appreciated at a slower pace. If you are uncomfortable with a slow pace then you will possibly not want to waste your time here.
Likewise, reading this book on the subway going to work might be a little difficult.
War and Peace can be a fast and interesting read but possibly not this one.
While we can do literary criticism as well as plot and character analysis lets also include favorite passages or quotations of the book that we really enjoy and think worth dwelling on.
I will add mine as we go along, but will wait for people to get going with the book before doing so.
Sample paper: The Forsyte Saga
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John Galsworthy, one of the greatest British writers, was a representative of the literary tradition, which has regarded the novel as a lawful instrument of social propaganda. He believed that it was the duty of an artist to state a problem, to throw light upon it, but not to provide a solution. Galsworthy fulfills this honorary duty of an artist in his great masterpiece, The Forsyte Saga (begun in 1906). With the brilliant combination of intelligent irony, symbolic characters and deep insight into problems the author tells a reader about four generations of the Forsyte family. One of the major problems connected with the family is that the Forsytes conduct their family lives, love, and appreciate art under the ideal of “property first”. The character of Aunt Ann, who is a beautiful and respected old lady, performs the role of symbolizing the Forsyte’s conception of family life. Through this character Galsworthy does not merely approach the concept of Forsyte’s family life with a banal “good or bad” scale. His ingenious insight goes beyond that and allows readers to detect the hidden problem with this conception. On one hand, Aunt Ann loves the Forsyte’s family and the subfamilies, which constitute the world of Forsytes. “It was her world, this family, and she knew no other, had never perhaps known any other.”
But on the other hand, the author interprets her love in a surprising to a reader way. This interpretation identifies a serious problem within the Forsyte’s conception of family life. Old and kind Aunt Ann looks at the members of the family through the prism of property instinct. “All their little secrets, illnesses, engagements, and marriages, how they were getting on, and whether they were making money,” the author writes, “All this was her property.” This approach to family life is very controversial. Aunt Ann, as well as the majority of the Forsytes, do love and care about their families. But still, their love and care resemble a deep concern an owner has in highly valuable property. In a similar manner beautiful and rebellious Irene, Soames’ wife, becomes for her husband a mere “investment”, which is highly valuable for him. But despite the attitude Soames and his close relatives demonstrate to Irene, her character is crucial for the novel. Her identity represents the concept of romantic and altruistic love, which is in conflict with the concept of love shared by the Forsytes. Of course, Soames has passion for Irene. “He’s fond of her, I know, ‘thought James.
“Look at the way he’s always giving her things.” These words of James, Soames’ father, serve as a good definition of the Forsytean concept of love. But as the time goes by and Irene alienates from her husband both physically and emotionally to the extent of abhorrence, Soames looks at his past feelings in a different way. Using the change in attitudes of Soames, Galsworthy develops a more elaborate definition of the Forsytean concept of love and passion. Soames does not understand how his property, Irene, in whom he invested so much love and passion, can be confiscated from him. He fights for his property. But after Soames realizes that he lost Irene, he attempts to get rid of her, as stockbrokers get rid of defaulted bonds. Irene knows that a Forsyte’s heart will never understand her concept of love, unless she speaks in the “language of property”. That is why when James rebukes her for not being a good wife to Soames, she quietly replies, “I can’t give him something I do not have.” Again, the Galsworthy’s genius does not merely expose the concept of Forsyte’s love through analysis of the actions Soames’ love produces. The author, as a real surgeon, makes a careful cut in Soames’ heart and shows the readers the intentions and thoughts, which produce his actions.
This allows readers to realize that the concept of Forsytean love is based on the property instinct as well. The sense of property is also the obstacle, which prevents Forsytes from appreciating art for the sake of art and enjoying beauty for the sake of beauty. The defining symbol of the Forsytean conception of art and beauty is the collection of paintings, which Soames gathers throughout his life. On one hand, Soames loves his paintings and spends hours contemplating them. The visual appearance of Soames’ actions, correlated with the world of art and beauty, does not reveal his real intentions. Only the author’s insight into the motives that govern the Forsytes? attitude towards art and beauty help the reader to understand the actual concept of art appreciation, which is shared by virtually all members of the Forsyte family.
After the exposure to the writer’s insight, the readers see that Soames sells the paintings, which fall in price, without any regret. And the dominant criteria for him in deciding to buy a painting is the probability that the price of the painting will increase in the future, not the beauty of this piece of art. The art of John Galsworthy does not only have impact on the evolution of world literature in terms of giving a masterful example of thorough and original analysis of the ebbing history and culture of Britain of his epoch. In The Forsyte Saga Galsworthy implicitly recognizes the social role of an artist. He starts the worldwide relay of socially conscious artists, whose main goal is to be “the surgeons the modern soul needs”. Surgeons, who will find ?diseases? within the bodies of the contemporary societies, debunk the wrong conceptions, and appoint aesthetic values to humanity.
D.H. Lawrence on John Galsworthy, in Phoenix
Galsworthy, John. The Forsyte Saga: The Man Of Property; In Chancery; To Let, 1921, Vanilla Electronic Texts. Osgood, Charles. The Voice of England, 2nd Ed., 1935, 1952 Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, p. 75. EssayPlant.com professional writers can assist you in preparation of your World and US Literature Essays. Their writing experience allows them to grasp the topic and quickly develop a successful paper on your topic. Do not procrastinate, order Custom Literature Essay now!