View Full Version : Galsworthy vs. de la Roche?

Mary Sue
08-20-2006, 11:32 AM
Just curious about this. Years ago, I read Mazo de la Roche's 16-book series about the Whiteoaks of Jalna. Like the Forsyte chronicles, it covers the life of a family from the 19th to the 20th centuries. But whereas Galsworthy gives us 3 trilogies--- spanning 1886 to 1932---, Ms. de la Roche encompasses a full century and more (1848 to 1954).

How do the two series compare? Having read both, I think Galsworthy by far the better author. Notwithstanding, there's something oddly appealing about the Jalna books. Galsworthy's "antihero," Soames, rapes his unwilling first wife, a fact that later will play havoc with his daughter's happiness. Similarly, Mazo de la Roche gives us a somewhat unsympathetic hero, Renny, who breaks up his brother's marriage and then goes on to deny HIS daughter the chance to be with the man she loves.

Further parallels? The parallels abound. Galsworthy's heroine Irene---an outsider to the Forsytes---abandons Soames to be with his cousin; while de la Roche's heroine Alayne---similarly, an outsider to the Whiteoaks--- abandons HER first husband to be with his brother. Coincidence? I kinda doubt it. The first Jalna book came out in the 1920's, AFTER the publication of Galsworthy's first trilogy and, I believe, contemporaneously with A Modern Comedy.

So did Mazo de la Roche copy Galsworthy? Or was she simply following the tried-and-true romantic formula of that period? In her later books, set in the 1950's, the young heroine is Adeline, on whom father Renny dotes. And while Adeline is portrayed as quite a different type than Fleur Forsyte, she's as spoiled as Fleur and as thwarted in her love life. Galsworthy, in his final trilogy, creates the character of Ferse, a mentally unbalanced and suicidal man. Likewise in the Jalna books we have "Finch," a bisexual, neurotic young man who suffers several breakdowns and (once) attempts suicide....

You decide.

08-26-2007, 11:32 PM
Though your analysis is very interesting, and well-documented, I can't really agree unless I find proof that mazo d.l.Roche actually read those novels - any bio mentioning it? RThe correspondence you have established remain a tad far-fetched to me. Alayne spends her life trying to integrate the Whiteoaks while Irene is the persona that disintegtrates the Forsyte family. I consider myseld as a specialist of both sagas and I still believe this is all coincidence. But your theory is very well exposed and I must congratulate you for your acute sense of observation.

07-31-2009, 04:23 AM
Vraiment bien!

Merci, c'est justement ce que je cherchais

Merci beaucoup
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