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Author profile of John Galsworthy

Updated on March 7, 2015

John Galsworthy was the son of a successful Solicitor born on the 14 August 1867, Kingston Hill, Surrey, England as a young child he was brought up in a privileged family, he went to Eton school in Harrow. As a youngster, he would spend his spare time reading novels by Charles Dickens and Richard Kipling, his keen interest in literature which would influence him later on in life. When, he was older he was accepted into Oxford University to study Law.

Having left University in 1890 specializing in marine law he was accepted to the Lincoln Bar, however after returning from traveling at the age of twenty-eight he decided not to enter the Lincoln Bar. Instead, he decided to become a writer, his first book he wrote was a collection of short stories From the four winds and his second novel Jocelyn writing under a pen name of John Sinjohn. Both novels were published, however, the sales of the books were not successful with the general public. It would take another eleven years for Galsworthy to become established as a writer and playwright.

Falling in love with his wife's cousin Ada whom she had recently divorced from his cousin Arthur. Galsworthy married Ada in 1905 in the same year his father died leaving his vast fortune to him. In 1906 at the age of thirty-ninety nine Galsworthy wrote his first play, The Sliver Box which was his first successful breakthrough, the play proved popular with theater audiences. His third book The Man of Property which was the first of the long-running saga of the Forsythe for which he was well known for writing. His next novel was Island of Pharisees which was a satirical story in which the main character Richard Skelton, see's the entire class system of society of wealthy, people pretending not to notice society’s problems. It features the main characters whose unhappy marriage, based on his own cousin’s marriage to Galsworthy wife Ada. Finally achieving recognition and success amongst readers, Galsworthy was now being taken seriously as a British author and playwright. Country House and Patrician were two of his next novels which were written up to the beginning of the First World War.

By the time war broke out in Europe Galsworthy was considered too old for military service at the age of forty-seven. Galsworthy wrote The Mob in 1914 describing the way he felt about the First World War which told a story of the masses rising up against a Statesman. For the next four years, he supported wounded and disabled soldiers that came back from the war on the Western Front. After the war, Galsworthy wrote further volumes of the popular Forsythe Saga written over the next seven years. In 1919 Lloyd George, the Prime Minister offered Galsworthy a knighted hood for his achievements in literature. He declined the Prime Minster's offer of a knighthood 1919, as Galsworthy felt that writing as equally a sufficient reward. In 1929, he accepted the Belgian Palmes d'Or the Order of Merit, following the award he wrote his last novel The Forsythe Change which was a collection of short stories. In 1932, Galsworthy was award the Nobel Prize for Literature for his long and outstanding contribution to writing. January the following year Galsworthy died at his home in Hampstead Heath.


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