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THE FORSYTE SAGA is a series of three novels and two shorter episodes chronicling the lives of the leading members of an upper middle class British family during the early twentieth century The Forsytes are only a few generations removed from their humble farmer origins making several of the family members keenly aware of their status as new money not entirely accepted within the upper echelons of British society


10 thoughts on “The Forsyte Saga

  1. says:

    The first time I read this book I was going up the I had just crossed the Atlantic with three friends on a yacht and got off in Fortaleza Brazil I thought this would be my one and only chance to see the so I stuffed a backpack full of the necesssaries abandoned the rest and got a bus to Belem at the mouth of the A month later having explored Belem Santarem and a few other small places I found myself in Manaus 1000 miles up the It took me a few weeks to sort out a guide I could afford as I didn't want to join a tourist party and although previously my travels had been on my own I wanted to leave the towns the river boats roads and really penetrate the jungle and obviously I couldn't do that on my own I was lucky enough to find an Indian who had been a tour guide but was now returning to his village on a lake several hundred miles away He spoke English Portuguese and Xingu and was happy for a smallish fee to take me alongAnd this is where the Forsyte Saga comes in Travelling by small boat bus river boats and sometimes walking miles to reach another place on the red laterite road to get to another tributary and another boat several days later we reached the village During that journey there had been long periods of just waiting while trees were chopped down to bypass huge potholes ones big enough to have 6' Victoria Regina water lilies floating in them and I read the only book I brought the 800 page Forsyte Saga Despite it being a big book it wasn't really heavy as the pages were tissue thin Which was good because as I read them I ripped them out and used them Tissue indeedLater in the village which was floating houses and ones built on stilts about 40 altogether spread out around a lake that took a motorboat over two hours to go around I was shown the local variant of toilet tissue It was a largish uite thick leaf whose furriness made it very soft and when crushed it released a very soothing slightly scented liuid a natural body lotion I did learn the name in Xingu but never in English I wish I could remember what it was because it was so much nicer than any toilet tissue I have ever used and I would grow it in pots in the bathroomSo 5 stars to the Forsyte Saga for a brilliant story and being so damn useful in a time of great need


  2. says:

    The Forsyte Saga The Forsyte Chronicles #1 3 John GalsworthyThe Forsyte Saga first published under that title in 1922 is a series of three novels and two interludes published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize–winning English author John Galsworthy They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of a large commercial upper middle class English family similar to Galsworthy's own Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors the family members are keenly aware of their status as new money The main character Soames Forsyte sees himself as a man of property by virtue of his ability to accumulate material possessions – but this does not succeed in bringing him pleasureThe Forsyte saga John Galsworthy ‏‫‬‭Leipzig‏‫‬‭ Bernhard Tauchnitz‏‫‬‭ 1938 ‏‫‬‭ 1317 تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و چهارم ماه آوریل سال 1975 میلادیعنوان داستانهای خانواده فورسایت؛ نویسنده جان گالزورثی؛زندگی سه نسل از یک خانواده ‌ی پرقدرت ویکتوریایی را به تصویر می‌کشد؛ خانواده‌ ای که در ظاهر، قوی و متکبر بوده، و اعتماد به نفس بالایی دارند ولی در زیر این سطح ظاهری، از هسته‌ ای بدخیم، از روابط ناشاد و بی‌رحمانه، که سرشار از تنش و حسادت است، رنج می‌برندتاریخ بهنگام رسانی 08041399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا شربیانی


  3. says:

    This is a titanic masterpiece of a multi generational story of a fictional English family that spans the Victorian Edwardian and post World War I eras For the first one hundred pages or so I found myself having to freuently refer to the Forsyte family genealogical chart; however by the end of the book I knew all of the characters and their place in the family intimately Like all families Galsworthy has created a world of very real and human characters in the Forsyte family; a family bound as much by their name and at times even their dysfunction Many of the novel's characters exhibit the full range of emotion and feeling including love greed hatred passion jealousy lust truth honesty betrayal and so forth; it is all there within this family The Forsytes Once started I could not put this book down easily; it is that compelling I fully understand why John Galsworthy was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932 For those who love novels of and about England The Forsyte Saga is a must read


  4. says:

    Note Jan 26 2020 I just edited this review to insert an accidentally omitted word in one placeAs a kid growing up my home town only could receive three TV stations ABC CBS NBC Our part of Iowa got a PBS station in 1968 and one of the first programs I was able to see on it was the BBC miniseries The Forsyte Saga starring Eric Porter and Nyree Dawn Porter who had the same last name but weren't related I highly recommend that version and not the wretched 2002 03 remake of which I saw very little but enough that I didn't want to see Watching this inspired me while it was still running to read the hardcover omnibus edition published by Charles Scribner's Sons with prefaces by the author and by his widow Ada Galsworthy which includes The Man of Property 1906 the bridging story Indian Summer of a Forsyte In Chancery 1920 the bridging story Awakening and To Let 1921 Though I didn't know it at the time this was only part of the larger corpus of Galsworthy's Forsyte Chronicles which included two trilogies I was surprised that the miniseries actually included the first of those A Modern Comedy and other material He also wrote a lot of non Forsyte related short fiction and plays; but besides this trilogy I've never read any of his work except for his outstanding story ualityThis is a multi generational there are significant characters representing three generations family saga beginning in 1886 and continuing on to the years following World War I focusing on the upper middle class Forsyte family fictional embodiments of the high VictorianEdwardian affluent Galsworthy's own native milieu The inside of the front and back covers has a Forsyte family tree I'm currently reading a Jane Austen novel and there are similarities and differences in their literary visions and approaches Both write pretty much exclusively about their own moneyed class with very little attention to servants or employees; both have written what could be called novels of manners in a Realist mode and both have a concern with domestic life courtship and marriages happy and otherwise And neither have much use for the obsession with amassing and increasing property that too often was the ruling principle of life in their circles But there are also differences beyond the obvious ones occasioned by a significant gap of time between their writings and by the differences in perspective between a male and a female writer most obvious in that Galsworthy's major viewpoint characters Soames and Young Jolyon are maleGalsworthy tends to be critical of British upper crust society and to view it as monolithic and constraining He also doesn't have Austen's strong moral and spiritual grounding which isn't ostentatiously paraded in her novels but which uietly undergirds them He was the product of a generation which had largely lost its religious faith Young Jolyon's one awkward attempt at religious conversation with his young adult son is revealing and replaced it mostly with a now unrivaled open faith in money which the author found wanting Galsworthy's own faith is mostly in the refining influence of culture and art and in romantic Love but the latter often tends to be misinterpreted as sexual infatuation and even in these novels people tend to be hurt and not only by confining social s as a result of other's fanatical service to that deity His own life experiences also play an enormous part in shaping this trilogy view spoilerHe had an adulterous affair with his cousin's wife which caused that couple's divorce and subseuently married her It's not a coincidence that the central plot line here exactly recreates that kind of triangle hide spoiler


  5. says:

    THE FORSYTES REVISITEDOR SIPPING CHICKEN SOUP AND SMELLING WARM STRAWBERRIESRereading the book which you once loved might be risky On the one hand you may repeat a delightful experience On the other hand the colours of butterflies that you felt in your stomach years ago might have faded away I was aware of this jeopardy when I decided to reread ‘The Forsyte Saga‘ by John Galsworthy Because of the pandemic I was yearning for something already tested something which will let me forget about reality The thing I needed was a total immersion into a fictional word I read ‘The Forsyte Saga‘ for the first time many years ago when I was 15 to be exact It was a revelation I remember my best friend Ania asked me for a book recommendation and without hesitation I advised her to read the book by Galsworthy which I had just finished Unfortunately this recommendation turned out to be a complete failure Ania hated the book She found it annoyingly boring Beware of that if I ever start persuading you to read anything 😊 The Forsyte family treeWhat has changed in my reaction to this novel over the years? The most striking difference is the way I see the characters In the past I perceived Soames as a monster and Irene as a harmed victim Now I don’t see them in black and white only any Soames is a repelling character indeed but I felt a glimpse of empathy this time And although Galsworthy compares Irene to an angel and seems to have a crush on her himself I had some slight reservations this timeAnother difference the most obvious one the language It was the first time I read this novel in English The Polish translation was lovely but this time I had a closer connection with Galsworthy’s proseThe ‘Forsyte Saga‘ is a soothingly traditional novel – I didn’t feel apt for literary experiments this time but one thing struck me the original way Galsworthy depicts the relationship between Bosinney and Irene They are never alone even when they think there’s nobody watching them they are being observed We gather the information about them from details scattered all over the story from observations made by other characters Nevertheless it’s one of the subtlest love stories I have ever readThe way Galsworthy portrays the world already gone is moving He doesn’t pay attention to details as intensely as Zola but the way he depicts the fleeting spirit of the past is beautiful I loved the lyrical parts spiced with melancholy and enlighted with a spark of ironyGalsworthy’s comments about art are remarkable He must have been a connoisseur So many traces to follow For example it was intriguing to look up the works of art he mentions describing Irene and to compare them with my impressions Titian’s ‘Heavenly Love’ detail ’In shape and colouring in its soft persuasive passivity its sensuous purity this woman’s face reminded him of Titian’s ‘Heavenly Love’ a reproduction of which hung over the sideboard in his dining room’ I love this passage although my mental image of Irene is a bit different from Titian's painting But it’s nothing compared to the shock I felt when I saw Irene in photos from the TV series 'The Forsyte Saga' 2002 2003I wonder why Galsworthy’s freuent descriptions of Irene’s divine golden hair contrasting with her dark eyes were completely ignored With all due respect Gina McKee looks like an antithesis of IreneAnother thing I adore in this saga is the way Galsworthy depicts nature and if I had to pinpoint the things I enjoyed the most this would be on top of the list Some of these descriptions stayed within me for years All senses of the reader are involved smell included we even dreamily sniff ‘air mysteriously scented with warm strawberries’And last but not least London I think Galsworthy painted with words one of the most impressive literary portraits of the city I enjoyed these passages a lot and wished there were even If I ever travel to London again a pilgrimage following the 'Forsyte trail' is a must As Galsworthy gives even the exact addresses it’s going to be easy London Piccadilly Circus c1900My complaints are just a few some characters definitely deserved attention from the author than they actually received but then we would have a two thousand pages long monstrosity of a novel For instance I wish the portraits of a picturesue throng of Soames’ elderly aunts were profound I loved the way Galsworthy presented unforgettable Juley but the others kept in the shadow Besides I struggled with the beginning of the third volume I found this part of the saga weaker irritating at times and was even considering uitting but I'm glad I finished Generally speaking the first volume in my opinion was the most enthralling And the last grievance I'm not a huge fan of coincidental meetings in novel plots and there were uite a few I used to reread a lot when I was a child I tended to finish a book and then turn to the first page at once and start again from scratch I think I revisited ‘Anne of the Green Gables‘ the most freuently At present with so many books waiting impatiently to be discovered and so little time rereading is not my priority but hopefully it will change ‘The Forsyte Saga‘ is a strong argument for Anne Fadiman wrote in her foreword to ‘Rereadings‘ ’If a book read when young is a lover that same book reread later on is a friend This may sound like a demotion but after all it is old friends not lovers to whom you are most likely to turn when you need comfort Fatigue grief and illness call for familiarity not innovation In bed with the flu you do not say “Hey I’ve never tried Afghan food Let’s order some takeout and heavy on the turmeric” You crave chicken soup’ ‘The Forsyte Saga‘ was this kind of chicken soup for me Maybe a bit lukewarm at times but pleasantly comforting I’m longing for another helping already


  6. says:

    Galsworthy's classic is probably best approached in mid life when the truth begins to dawn that an Age like Keats' joy is only really sighted as it's waving good bye When youth is something we begin to refer to as an attribute we once possessed When loss begins to carry as much outraging weight as the pursuit of an aim or a dream or a station There is a uality of consciousness we enter into as we mature that is informed by resignation and grief and it is this perspective to which Galsworthy's tale will resonate His issues are safety and fortification ownership and identification the remorseless march of Time and the amorphous nature of achievement That life is what one makes of it and can be nothing is not I think a view that can be fully appreciated by those who are new to the struggle with acceptance All this to say The Forsyte Saga will prove a passable book to one who has yet to encounter his first grey hair And to one who has stumbled across a few? May prove to be a good deal Composed as a trilogy connected by two short stories the saga of the Forsyte family is a lengthy work taking place in Britain at the tail end of the Victorian Age Central as a tent post here is the character of Soames Forsyte a man of property whose restricted vision of life imbues him with the rock hard stability his extended family reuires to keep their affairs in order Such resolute capitalistic practicality will not however assist him in understanding his distant and devastatingly beautiful wife Irene Her restlessness in their union is becoming so pronounced that he's decided to build her a magnificent house conveniently located far from town where she may like his artwork be privately and fittingly displayed This works out about as well as one imagines it might and produces the conflict in which Galsworthy's larger themes are groundThe first hundred pages are a slog; there's no way around that But the story blossoms in both drama and depth as the stakes mount and reputations writhe There's none of Austen's light touch here or Woolf's magnetic stream of consciousness This is a traditional voice cached in a traditional structureand thoroughly appropriate for its fin de siècle explorations to my eye If you've got a little time and perhaps than a little existential fatigue here's a solid choice of treatment


  7. says:

    “He had long forgotten the small house in the purlieus of Mayfair where he had spent the early days of his married life or rather he had long forgotten the early days not the small house – a Forsyte never forgot a house – he had afterwards sold it at a clear profit of four hundred pounds”There you have it Nine hundred pages of delicious soap opera wrapped around sly commentary on the acuisitiveness and striving of the British upper middle classes around the turn of the twentieth century The Forsytes aren't landed aristocracy like Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey They're only a couple of generations removed from farmers But they've been successful in trade in publishing at the bar and they live in ongepotchket Victorian splendor faithfully served by retainers and housemaids in London and its environs Galsworthy was himself the product of a wealthy family and trained as a barrister before traveling abroad meeting Joseph Conrad and envisioning a different life He fell in love with the wife of his cousin an army major and married her after a ten year affair and her eventual divorce He was among the first writers to deal with social class in his work and to challenge the s and ideals reinforced by the Victorian writers who preceded him Notably but not surprisingly given his personal life he defied the standard view of women as property and defended their right to leave unhappy marriages “'I don't know what makes you think I have any influence' said Jolyon; 'but if I have I'm bound to use it in the direction of what I think is her happiness I am what they call a “feminist” I believeI'm against any woman living with any man whom she definitely dislikes It appears to me rotten'”It is the unhappily married woman referred to here around whom much of The Forsyte Saga revolves Irene I reen ee disastrously married to a “man of property” is the antithesis of a Forsyte She represents beauty and art and passion and free will Before reluctantly marrying Soames Forsyte she extracted a promise that he would let her go if it didn't work out His failure to do so drives the story and a multi generational family estrangement While Galsworthy thoroughly develops the other primary characters Irene is a beautiful cipher at the center of the novel We never get her point of view; we see her through the eyes of others and can only infer her thoughts and feelings The Forsyte Saga features a huge cast of characters but the family tree that accompanies most editions is needed only at the beginning To Galsworthy's credit we uickly get to know the main characters and the chorus of peripheral relatives that swirl around them There are births deaths betrayals couplings uncouplings recouplings and generational upheaval all conveyed in deft eminently readable prose a short 900 pages This is a sumptuous wallow of a book with redeeming social value


  8. says:

    The Man of PropertyThe Man of Property is the first book in what would eventually turn out to be the nine volume Forsyte Saga the work for which Galsworthy is chiefly remembered It was made into a TV series not so long ago which is how I'd heard of it but I hadn't read it until I picked it up to read in an airport recently in order to pass the time thanks to interminable flight delays It really did uite nicelyThe writing is very much of its time 1906 and for those who are not used to late Victorian or early Edwardian prose I think it could prove a little tough going at times I grew up devouring books from that period so as far as I was concerned it was a very comfortable read Galsworthy does veer a little towards what would be considered sentimentalism nowadays but he avoids the overt mawkishness which now makes uite a substantial amount of the literature of that period nigh on unreadable for me at any rateThe double focus of the book on the Forsyte family and on the marriage between Soames and Irene Forsyte is interesting and I think helps to reinforce what Galsworthy was trying to get at the futility of acuiring money and material goods while neglecting the things which truly matter in life The Forsyte family is drawn well though at times it felt as if he was using too many examples for the reader to follow easily The fact that there are ten Forsyte siblings many of whom have children of their own means that you really have to get the genealogy straight in your head before you can read on very farHis depiction of the marriage of Soames and Irene was I think the most successful part of the novel The levels of complexity he displays here are very impressive both of them possess sympathetic ualities and repulsive ones Despite Soames' rape of his wife he shows such a complete inability to understand her try as he might that all my revulsion was mixed with pity; while Irene's state though saddening was tempered by her inability to break out of that wall of stone which seems to surround her personalityThere's really enough of a hook in this that I've got the next two volumes in the series lined up to read soon If you've got any sort of interest in this period of history I really would recommend these booksIn ChanceryPerhaps a little slower moving than the first book and the plot moves in a way which is familiar and predictable in its Victorian ness in a way which is very reassuring to me; especially since nineteenth century novels are my version of comfort reading Although the resolution Irene marrying young Jolyon; Soames marrying Annette is obvious from very near the beginning of the novel Galsworthy sketches out the movements of the novel with assurance and elegance Thematically the novel hangs well with the rest of the series and is a wonderful sketch of a particular strata of English society around the turn of the last centuryTo LetI didn't like this one uite so much as the preceding two Galsworthy follows the same formula as in the first two books the tragedy of an unsuitable relationship and how it can damage an entire family with an added Romeo and Juliet style twist However I never really came to feel for Fleur and Jon the way I did for the characters of the preceding generations of Forsytes Soames Irene and Young Jolyon still continued to be the characters I wanted to see of Still the same rambling elegant Victorian stye prose that I love thoughI don't know if I would particularly recommend this as a book on its own; still as a part of the series as a whole its probably a good idea to read it if only because it rounds out the characters' stories for you to a large extent


  9. says:

    Fin de siècle art of the first and finest magnitude; I am floored I must gaze a while longer upon this blue 💎 diamond before I can try to give it justice by writing a thorough review So much comes out of this including novel treatments of love art marriage and the English bourgeousie as well as what was apparently then pub 1918 and set 1880 on a feminist viewpoint a woman is not subjugated to her husband upon marriage he cannot thereafter have her whenever he wantsReally and unexpectedly extraordinary


  10. says:

    I found The Forsyte Saga on the shelf of my local library a couple of years ago and it has been a decided favorite of mine ever since While “saga” is not the first word to come to mind when thinking about the British upper middle class in the later days of Victoria it is apt The story is a multigenerational examination of family and tradition in a time of transition and it examines the various institutions and ideas that were under the most pressure to change as the British Empire declined from its former glory As a microcosm of the English nouveau riche at the turn of the century the Forsytes are affected by the great changes ushered in at that time shifting attitudes about marriage new concepts in art and literature the breakdown of strict class distinctions the impact of the first World War and new ideas concerning the importance of ownership and acuisition to name a fewStarting at the end of my list the Forsytes are nothing if not acuisitive; there is a reason the first of the three volumes is called “A Man of Property” Ownership is a defining feature of the upper middle class since it is their money and property rather than blood and birth that has established their niche in society The Forsytes though representative of their kind are not homogeneous and there are dissenters within the ranksOld Jolyon the patriarch of the clan appears as stolid and respectable as any English gentleman behind his cloud of cigar smoke but beneath the surface is a restlessness and love of beauty that is belied by his club dinners calling cards and investments in the four percents His son is also called Jolyon known as Young Jolyon or Jo and he is a variation of his father only stripped of his respectability and bared to the derision of the world after leaving his first wife for love and the life of an artist The third generation of Old Jolyon’s direct line his granddaughter June is even further separated from the priorities of her grandfather’s generation The contrast of the generations operates throughout the various branches of the family from Old Jolyon’s brothers and sisters on down the line to their grandchildren but it is definitely the Jolyon branch of the family that encouraged my interest and sympathy the mostOn the opposite side of the family is James a bit of a sad sack miser and his son Soames While Soames is set up in contrast to the soft hearted Jolyon and his side of the family he still manages to attract a sympathetic glance from time to time if only because he seems to be blind to the fact that owning something does not preclude happiness Unfortunately it is Soames’ beautiful wife Irene that must be subjected to Soames’ most extreme uest to possess and causes him to act in ways that make him in simpler terms than it deserves the villainThe spirit of conflict that threads its way through the three volumes is embodied by Irene She is the wild beauty that sweeps through the ordered somewhat stifled existence of the Forsytes and changes everything Looking at Irene it would not seem possible that she could be the tempest that uproots so many; she is uiet and reserved rarely revealing what is roiling beneath her cool exterior At first I was tempted to dislike Irene as much as I disliked Soames view spoilersince her solution to her loveless marriage is an affair with the lover of her best friend hide spoiler