Created on: February 18, 2013 Last Updated: February 19, 2013
John Galsworthy was a Nobel Prize winning British author. Five of his novels, collectively known as "The Forsyte Saga", remain the most notable of his works, but in addition to writing novels John Galsworthy also wrote 27 plays, 173 short stories, 5 collections of essays, and 3 collections of poetry.
John Galsworthy was born on Aug 14, 1867 at Kingston Hill in Surrey. His father was a City Solicitor, and John was also destined to practice the law. After completing his education at Harrow, he studied at New College, Oxford and qualified for the bar in 1890.
In order to practice marine law, John Galsworthy went on a long sea voyage. His true interest was not the law, however, it was literature. John Galsworthy enjoyed reading Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Rudyard Kipling, Herman Melville, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, and Emile Zola.
Galsworthy first started to write fiction to pass the time and for pleasure. The author Joseph Conrad was serving on a merchant ship when he and Galsworthy met in the South Seas. They became lifelong friends, and Galsworthy was encouraged by Conrad to focus on his writing.
In 1897 Galsworthy paid for the publication of "From the Four Winds", a collections of stories that appeared under the pseudonym of John Sinjohn. In 1904 his first major novel, The Island Pharisees, was published under his own name. His books did not sell well and he made no money from his first four self-published books.
The Forsyte Saga
Galsworthy had a long love affair, lasting for at least ten years before his marriage to Ada Pearson. She was divorced from his cousin, Arthur.J. Galsworthy, and John’s father disapproved of her. John and Ada did eventually marry, in 1905. The first of his Forsyte novels, "The Man of Property" (1906), was loosely based on the previous unhappy marriage of Ada and Arthur.
It was his goddaughter who suggested to John Galsworthy that he should go on writing about the fictional Forsyte family. Her idea inspired him to go ahead and complete a trilogy, with "In Chancery" (1920) and "To Let" (1921). Galsworthy continued the sequence of Forsyte family chronicles with "The White Monkey" (1924), "The Silver Spoon" (1926) and "Swan Song" (1928).
John Galsworthy’s first play, "The Silver Box" (1906), was a success. His most famous play, "Justice" (1910), increased awareness of the need to reform the prison system in England. All his plays were serious commentaries on injustices
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