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The Forsyte Saga

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(1922)



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 possessionsóbut this does not succeed in bringing him pleasure.

Separate sections of the saga, as well as the lengthy story in its entirety, have been adapted for cinema and television. The first book, The Man of Property (1906), was adapted in 1949 by Hollywood as "That Forsyte Woman", starring Errol Flynn, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon and Robert Young. The BBC produced a popular 26-part serial in 1967, that also dramatised a subsequent trilogy concerning the Forsytes, A Modern Comedy. In 2002, Granada Television produced two series for the ITV network called The Forsyte Saga and The Forsyte Saga: To Let, and the two Granada series made their runs in the US as part of Masterpiece Theatre. In 2003, The Forsyte Saga was listed on the BBC's The Big Read poll of the UK's "best-loved novel".

This novel is not one book, but six. "The Man of Property" begins in 1886, at the engagement party of young June Forsyte and a Bohemian architect, Philip Bosinney. Almost all the Forsytes (whom Galsworthy describes as a “species” of wealthy Englishman) are present. There are the mid-Victorian “old Forsytes”, the “younger Forsytes” who are Late-Victorian, who have inherited incomes and property. The predominant character, Soames Forsyte, is unhappily married to an enigmatic, beautiful woman, Irene, whose friendship with Bosinney, along with Soames’ possessiveness, becomes a tragic love affair. It begins a family feud throughout the Saga, ravaging the lives of many, including the next generation. This is much more than a love story, but a brilliant study of Victorian, Edwardian and post-war manners. Soames is the most constant character and one either loves or hates him for his beliefs and actions. This is also true of Irene, whose character is still being debated today.--Submitted by Gwynhwyfar


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The Forsyte saga

I haven`t already read this book till the end nd I don`t know if the heroes will change much or not. I`d like to know your attitude to Soames and mabe express your opinion about the others characters. As for me, I feel some sympathy to him. Maybe just the fact that he was brought up in such a kind of family made him such an unpleasant kind of owner and his strange habit to explain every human feeling by self profit?

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John Galsworthy

    Volume I. The Man of Property

    Volume II. Indian Summer of a Forsyte

    Volume II. In Chancery

    Volume III. Awakening

    Volume III. To Let

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