Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Forsyte Saga (2002)
There was a Galsworthy revival a few years ago when Masterpiece Theater aired a BBC remake of The Forsyte Saga. We were glued to it at our house, took no phone calls from 8-9:30, and had to order takeout for our “TV parties” because we were too distracted to stir-fry broccoli. We gossiped about the Forsytes as if they were long-lost best dysfunctional friends. Was Soames nicer than we remembered? Was Irene too passive? We argued about whether languid Gina McKee was suitable as Irene, the artistic, gentle beauty coerced by her poor mother into marrying the wealthy Soames Forsyte, or whether we preferred the the gorgeous actress Nyree Dawn Porter from the 1967 series.
The Forsyte Saga (1967)
The underrated John Galsworthy, a neglected Nobel Prize winner and one of my favorite writers, was known primarily as a playwright in his day, though he is remembered now for The Forsyte Saga, a title that technically refers only to the first of three trilogies of autobiographical Forsyte novels, The Man of Property, In Chancery, and To Let. Alas, it is very difficult to find the other six novels: perhaps publishers think readers are fixated on the Soames-Irene-Jolyon triangle and will lose interest in subsequent generations. Not so!
Anyway, I was thrilled to find they are all available now at Borders, B&N, Amazon, etc. in individual paperback editions from the Headline Publishing Group. They even have book group guides in the back. I love it! I love the idea that you can coerce your friends into reading them by declaring them your book group choices. The last six are: The White Monkey, The Silver Spoon, Swan Song, Maid in Waiting, Flowering Wilderness, and Over the River.
Here are three of them.
I’m also thinking of Galsworthy because at a used bookstore I discovered for $5 a Scribners Compact Edition (1929) of Three Novels of Love by John Galsworthy, consisting of The Dark Flower, Beyond, and Saint’s Progress. I don't know these novels at all, but am very much looking forward to them. This book is Vol. 5 of a set, and I'm thinking of going back to pick up the others (only a few are left: the set is broken up).
Galsworthy may be my project for autumn - the leaves are already turning yellow on who-knows-what kind of tree on my street - though I'm certainly hoping we'll have quite a bit more summer.
There is also a LOT of Galsworthy at Gutenberg, etc. I always start with the BOOKS, though.
Posted by Frisbee at 8:04 PM