The Forsyte Saga

By John Galsworthy; Geoffrey Harvey | Go to book overview


THE Forsyte Saga was the title originally destined for the part of it which is called The Man of Property; and to adopt it for the collected chronicles of the Forsyte family has indulged the Forsytean tenacity which is in all of us. The word Saga might be objected to on the ground that it connotes the heroic and that there is little of heroism in these pages. But it is used with a suitable irony; and, after all, this long tale, though it may deal with folk in frock coats, furbelows, and a gilt-edged period, is not devoid of the essential heat of conflict. Discounting for the gigantic stature and blood-thirstiness of old days, as they have come down to us in fairy-tale and legend, the folk of the old Sagas were Forsytes, assuredly, in their possessive instincts, and as little proof against the inroads of beauty and passion as Swithin, Soames, or even young Jolyon. And if heroic figures, in days that never were, seem to startle out from their surroundings in fashion unbecoming to a Forsyte of the Victorian era, we may be sure that tribal instinct was even then the prime force, and that 'family' and the sense of home and property counted as they do to this day, for all the recent efforts to 'talk them out.'

So many people have written and claimed that their families were the originals of the Forsytes, that one has been almost encouraged to believe in the typicality of that species. Manners change and modes evolve, and 'Timothy's on the Bayswater Road' becomes a nest of the unbelievable in all except essentials; we shall not look upon its like again, nor perhaps on such a one as James or old Jolyon. And yet the figures of Insurance Societies and the utterances of Judges reassure us daily that our earthly paradise is still a rich preserve, where the wild raiders, Beauty and Passion, come stealing in, filching security from beneath our noses. As surely as a dog will bark at a brass band, so will the essential Soames in human nature ever rise up uneasily against the dissolution which hovers round the folds of ownership.

'Let the dead Past bury its dead'* would be a better saying if the Past ever died. The persistence of the Past is one of those tragi-comic blessings which each new age denies, coming


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The Forsyte Saga
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vi
  • Note on the Text xxii
  • Select Bibliography xxiii
  • A Chronology of John Galsworthy xxiv
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 9
  • Book I - The Man Of Property 13
  • Part I 15
  • Chapter I - 'At Home' At Old Jolyon'S 15
  • Chapter II - Old Jolyon Goes To The Opera 31
  • Chapter III - Dinner At Swithin'S 45
  • Chapter IV - Projection Of The House 59
  • Chapter V - A Forsyte Menage 68
  • Chapter VI - James At Large 74
  • Chapter VII - Old Jolyon'S Peccadillo 83
  • Chapter VIII - Plans Of The House 90
  • Chapter IX - Death Of Aunt Ann 98
  • Part II 107
  • Chapter I - Progress Of The House 107
  • Chapter II - June's Treat 114
  • Chapter III - Drive With Swithin 120
  • Chapter IV - James Goes To See For Himself 130
  • Chapter V - Soames And Bosinney Correspond 140
  • Chapter VI - Old Jolyon At The Zoo 154
  • Chapter VII - Afternoon At Timothy's 160
  • Chapter VIII - Dance At Roger's 172
  • Chapter IX - Evening At Richmond 180
  • Chapter X - Diagnosis Of A Forsyte 190
  • Chapter XI - Bosinney On Parole 198
  • Chapter XII - June Pays Some Calls 203
  • Chapter XIII - Perfection Of The House 211
  • Chapter XIV - Soames Sits On The Stairs 218
  • Part III 223
  • Chapter I - Mrs Macander's Evidence 223
  • Chapter II - Night In The Park 233
  • Chapter III - Meeting At The Botanical 237
  • Chapter IV - Voyage Into The Inferno 249
  • Chapter V - The Trial 259
  • Chapter VI - Soames Breaks The News 267
  • Chapter VII - June's Victory 277
  • Chapter VIII - Bosinney's Departure 284
  • Chapter IX - Irene's Return 292
  • Interlude - Indian Summer Of A Forsyte 299
  • Book II - In Chancery 347
  • Part I 349
  • Chapter I - At Timothy's 349
  • Chapter II - Exit A Man Of The World 357
  • Chapter III - Soames Prepares To Take Steps 367
  • Chapter IV - Soho 372
  • Chapter V - James Sees Visions 378
  • Chapter VI - No-Longer-Young Jolyon At Home 384
  • Chapter VII - The Colt And The Filly 393
  • Chapter VIII - Jolyon Prosecutes Trusteeship 397
  • Chapter IX - Val Hears The News 404
  • Chapter X - Soames Entertains The Future 412
  • Chapter XI - And Visits The Past 416
  • Chapter XII - On Forsyte Change 421
  • Chapter XIII - Jolyon Finds Out Where He Is 431
  • Chapter XIV - Soames Discovers What He Wants 436
  • Part II 441
  • Chapter I - The Third Generation 441
  • Chapter II - Soames Puts It To The Touch 449
  • Chapter III - Visit To Irene 457
  • Chapter IV - Where Forsytes Fear To Tread 462
  • Chapter V - Jolly Sits In Judgment 469
  • Chapter VI - Jolyon In Two Minds 476
  • Chapter VII - Dartie Versus Dartie 480
  • Chapter VIII - The Challenge 490
  • Chapter IX - Dinner At James's 494
  • Chapter X - Death Of The Dog Balthasar 500
  • Chapter XI - Timothy Stays The Rot 504
  • Chapter XII - Progress Of The Chase 510
  • Chapter XIII - 'Here We Are Again!' 514
  • Chapter XIV - Outlandish Night 523
  • Part III 527
  • Chapter I - Soames In Paris 527
  • Chapter II - In The Web 532
  • Chapter III - Richmond Park 536
  • Chapter IV - Over The River 542
  • Chapter V - Soames Acts 543
  • Chapter VI - A Summer Day 546
  • Chapter VII - A Summer Night 552
  • Chapter VIII - James In Waiting 554
  • Chapter IX - Out Of The Web 558
  • Chapter X - Passing Of An Age 565
  • Chapter XI - Suspended Animation 574
  • Chapter XII - Birth Of A Forsyte 580
  • Chapter XIII - James Is Told 586
  • Chapter XIV - His 590
  • Interlude - Awakening 595
  • Book III - To Let 617
  • Part I 619
  • Chapter I - Encounter 619
  • Chapter II - Fine Fleur Forsyte 634
  • Chapter III - At Robin Hill 640
  • Chapter IV - The Mausoleum 647
  • Chapter V - The Native Heath 655
  • Chapter VI - Jon 663
  • Chapter VII - Fleur 668
  • Chapter VIII - Idyll On Grass 673
  • Chapter IX - Goya 676
  • Chapter X - Trio 686
  • Chapter XI - Duet 691
  • Chapter XII - Caprice 697
  • Part II 707
  • Chapter I - Mother And Son 707
  • Chapter II - Fathers And Daughters 711
  • Chapter III - Meetings 724
  • Chapter IV - In Green Street 733
  • Chapter V - Purely Forsyte Affairs 738
  • Chapter VI - Soames's Private Life 744
  • Chapter VII - June Takes A Hand 753
  • Chapter VIII - The Bit Between The Teeth 757
  • Chapter IX - The Fat In The Fire 763
  • Chapter X - Decision 770
  • Chapter XI - Timothy Prophesies 774
  • Part III 785
  • Chapter I - Old Jolyon Walks 785
  • Chapter II - Confession 792
  • Chapter III - Irene! 798
  • Chapter IV - Soames Cogitates 802
  • Chapter V - The Fixed Idea 808
  • Chapter VI - Desperate 811
  • Chapter VII - Embassy 818
  • Chapter VIII - The Dark Tune 825
  • Chapter IX - Under The Oak-Tree 830
  • Chapter X - Fleur'S Wedding 832
  • Chapter XI - The Last Of The Old Forsytes 841
  • Explanatory Notes 851


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