John Galsworthy

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John Galsworthy
Autograph Galsworthy.svg

John Galsworthy (born August 14, 1867 in Kingston Hill, Surrey , England , † January 31, 1933 in London ) was an English writer and playwright . His novel series The Forsyte Saga is considered a classic in modern English literature. In 1932 Galsworthy received the Nobel Prize for Literature .


Galsworthy 1932

The son of wealthy parents, Galsworthy attended Harrow School , a well-known private school. He studied law at Oxford University New College and became a barrister in 1890 . However, he showed little interest in the profession of lawyer and instead went to sea, where he met the Polish writer Joseph Conrad , who aroused his interest in literature. Galsworthy published his first works under the pseudonym John Sinjohn.

Galsworthy's first play The Silver Box was staged with success in 1906. In the same year he wrote the novel The Man of Property , the first part of the successful series The Forsyte Saga . From 1918 John Galsworthy was a jury member on the committee for the award of the Hawthornden Prize , the oldest literary prize in Great Britain.

In 1921 he became the first president of the international writers' association PEN. In 1929 he was elected as an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters . From 1931 he was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . He died of complications from a brain tumor in 1933 , six weeks after he was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Artistic creation

Galsworthy's best-known works to this day are the novel series The Forsyte Saga and its sequels A Modern Comedy and End Of The Chapter . His work was characterized by lively characters, purity of style, skillful dialogue and good legibility.

Many of his works contain criticism of the social situation, especially the British class system . In numerous novels and dramas he criticized the materialism of the upper class - often through ironic portrayals of the upper class and the nobility. Another recurring motif is the depiction of unhappily married women.

Sigmund Freud writes about the novella The Apple Tree 1930 in Chapter IV of The Uneasiness in Culture in a footnote: “Among the poems of the subtle Englishman J. Galsworthy, who is now generally recognized, I valued a little story early on, entitled: ' The Apple Tree '. It shows in a vivid way how in the life of today's civilized man there is no longer any room for the simple, natural love of two human children. "

Works (in selection)

Novel trilogies

  • The Forsyte Saga (German EA The Forsyte Saga , first part of the “trilogy” with two “insertions”, Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1925, 2 volumes)
    • The Man Of Property (1907, Eng. The Rich Man )
    • The Indian Summer Of A Forsyte (1918, German post-summer - "insert")
    • In Chancery (1920, In fetters )
    • Awakening (1920, German awakening - "insertion")
    • To Let (1921, German for rent )
  • A Modern Comedy (German EA Modern Comedy , second part of the “trilogy” with two “insertions”, Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1929)
    • The White Monkey (1924, German EA The White Monkey , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1926)
    • The Silver Spoon (1926, German EA The Silver Spoon , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1927)
    • Swan Song (1928, German EA Schwanengesang , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1928)
  • End Of The Chapter (German EA Das Ende vom Lied. The Cherrell Chronicle , third and final part of the "Trilogy", Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1935 with a foreword by Ada Galsworthy, December 1934)
    • Maid In Waiting (1931, German EA A girl is waiting , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1931)
    • Flowering Wildness (1932, German EA Blühende Wildnis , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1932)
    • Over The River (1933, German EA Over the Current , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1933)

Other works

  • To the four winds (1897)
  • Jocelyn (1898)
  • Villa Rubein (1900, German 1931)
  • The Silence (1901)
  • The Island Pharisees (1904, German 1916 On England's Pharisee Island )
  • The Country House (1907, dt. The mansion )
  • Fraternity (1909, German world brothers )
  • The Patrician (1911, German EA Der Patrizier , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1925)
  • The Dark Flower (1913, German EA The Dark Flower , Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Berlin / Vienna / Leipzig 1925)
  • The Apple Tree, Tales from Caravan 1 (1926, German The Apple Tree )
  • A long-ago Affair, Tales from Caravan 2
  • Beyond (1917, German EA Jenseits , published by Th. Knaur Nachf. Berlin, before 1925)
  • Collected Poems (1934)


  • The silver box (1906, German 1909 The cigarette box ; 2019 The silver case )

Film adaptations


  • Dudley Barker: John Galsworthy, Gentleman and Poet. Zsolnay, Vienna a. a. 1964.
  • James Gindin: John Galsworthy's life and art. An alien's fortress. Macmillan, Basingstoke, et al. a. 1987. ISBN 0-333-40812-8
  • Johanna Kroener: The technique of realistic drama in Ibsen and Galsworthy. Tauchnitz, Leipzig 1935. (= contributions to English philology; 28)
  • Jan MacDonald: The “new drama” 1900–1914. Harley Granville Barker, John Galsworthy, St. John Hankin, John Masefield. Macmillan, Basingstoke, et al. a. 1986. ISBN 0-333-30873-5
  • Ralph Hale Mottram : John Galsworthy . Longmans Green, London et al. a. 1953. (= Writers and their work; 38)
  • Kurt Otten: The English novel. From naturalism to the art of consciousness. E. Schmidt, Berlin 1986. (= Basics of English and American Studies ; 15) ISBN 3-503-02237-6
  • Anne Holden Rønning: Hidden and visible suffrage. Emancipation and the Edwardian women in Galsworthy, Wells, and Forster. Lang, Bern a. a. 1995. ISBN 3-906750-07-8
  • Wilhelmine Schmitz: Man and society in the works of John Galsworthy. Pöppinghaus, Bochum-Langendreer 1936. (= Cologne English studies; 27)
  • Maria Slavtscheva (ed.): John Galsworthy: The silver case. A comedy in three acts. Translated by Viola Fei Gresik, Julia Elisabeth Keller, Lena Schulte, Sandra Maria Staschok, Sarah Zahira Touihrat, Ann-Kathrin Zettl and Lukas Maria Dominik. Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2019. ISBN 978-3-8253-6975-0
  • Sanford V. Starlight: John Galsworthy. Twayne, Boston 1987. (= Twayne's English authors series; 447) ISBN 0-8057-6947-1
  • Rudolf Weiss : The Janus head of traditional modernism. The Drama Aesthetics of St. John Hankins and John Galsworthy. WVT, Trier 2002. (= CDE studies; 9) ISBN 3-88476-514-0

Web links

Commons : John Galsworthy  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Henry Seidel Canby (Ed.): Saturday Review. Volume 6. Saturday Review Associates, 1929, p. 1161.
  2. ^ JC Squire, Rolfe Arnold Scott-James: The London Mercury. Volume 33. Field Press Limited, 1936, p. 102.
  3. ^ Honorary Members: John Galsworthy. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed March 11, 2019 .