Forsyte Saga

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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A sequence by J. Galsworthy, published 1922.

The three novels containing the story, The Man of Property (1906), In Chancery (1920), and To Let (1921, with two interludes, ‘Indian Summer of a Forsyte’, 1918, and Awakening, 1920), appeared together in 1922 as The Forsyte Saga, tracing the fortunes of three generations of the Forsyte family.

Soames Forsyte, a successful solicitor, the nephew of ‘old Jolyon’, lives in London surrounded by his prosperous old uncles and their families. He marries the penniless Irene and builds a country house for her, Robin Hill; when she falls in love with its architect, Bosinney, Soames asserts his rights over his property and rapes her. Bosinney is killed in a street accident and Irene returns to Soames. In Chancery describes the growing love of young Jolyon, Soames's cousin, for Irene; Irene's divorce from Soames and her happy marriage with Jolyon; and the birth of their son Jon. Meanwhile Soames marries Annette Lamotte and they have a daughter, Fleur. In To Let Fleur and Jon fall in love; Jon's father feels compelled to reveal the past of Irene and Soames, and the agonized Jon, in spite of Fleur's Forsyte determination, rejects her. She marries Michael Mont, the heir to a baronetcy, and when young Jolyon dies Irene leaves to join Jon in America. The desolate Soames learns that his wife is having an affair with a Belgian, and discovers that Irene's house, Robin Hill, is empty and to let.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

John Galsworthy (1867—1933) novelist and playwright