The Forsyte Saga

Friday! It is getting cold again outside, but the weather people say that today snow squalls will torment us, and that by Sunday it will start to get warmer. Yesterday began with freezing rain, then snow squalls as the day progressed, and the wind, my how it howled all day, and into the night. This morning the sun is shining, a welcome sight. I’ve moved my chair to sit in the brightness of it, soaking it up.

The Forsyte Saga, written by John Galsworthy, captured my imagination in the early 1980s. At the time I was pregnant with Terra. My previous pregnancy had ended in miscarriage, which caused me much sorrow. So when I began to hemorrhage when pregnant with Terra, I was determined to bring the child into the world. By spring I was bedridden, unable to stand for more than a few minutes, able to sit for only short periods of time. Lying in bed for almost eight months, with an extremely precocious seven year old to care for, having just moved to Toronto, was very challenging, possibly the most challenging project I have ever attempted. No friends, no family, just my ex, Luna, and I weathering the storm. It was after several months of bed rest that I first picked up to read The Forsyte Saga. I read the entire work.

When we lived at the country house, I read the entire Forsyte Saga again, and enjoyed it just as much as I had reading it for the first time. I think the appeal is the honesty in character development, and in the description of the structure and maintenance of privilege during the era. And yet, for me, there is something about the story that is broader than a period piece. Perhaps it is the glimpse into the roots of avarice and hubris that fascinates me.

I watched the 2002 series production of The Forsyte Saga, starring Damian Lewis, Rupert Graves, and Gina McKee, among others, and enjoyed it immensely.

But I had not seen the 1967 Forsyte Saga BBC2 series, starring Eric Porter, Kenneth Moore, and Nyree Dawn Porter. I have just now watched the final credits scroll across the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Now I am considering an audio book version of the story, unabridged. It would be lovely to listen to it this summer while I am busy cooking and preserving the bounty that I anticipate Attila will bring in from the garden.

Worldly

Weather

-4°C
Date: 1:00 PM EST Friday 28 February 2020
Condition: Light Snow shower
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.2°C
Dew point: -6.7°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: SW 28 gust 39 km/h
Wind Chill: -12
Visibility: 6 km

Quote

“Did Nature permit a Forsyte not to make a slave of what he
adored? Could beauty be confided to him? Or should she not
be just a visitor, coming when she would, possessed for
moments which passed, to return only at her own choosing?
‘We are a breed of spoilers!’ thought Jolyon, ‘close and
greedy; the bloom of life is not safe with us. Let her come
to me as she will, when she will, not at all if she will
not. Let me be just her stand-by, her perching-place;
never-never her cage!”
The Forsyte Saga

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12 Responses to The Forsyte Saga

  1. Steve-Paul (SP) Simms says:

    My mum and I loved the original TV series every Sunday night on PBS, or NET as it was then. Years later I acted as a photo double for Michael York on The Road to Avonlea. I mentioned his work on The Forsyte Saga and he was dumbfounded that anyone would remember.

  2. Wow, Steve-Paul, what a warm and wonderful memory! I enjoyed seeing Michael York in the production, he was the only actor I was familiar with, lol. The series was so well done! Your time on The Road To Avonlea was before our time, but I do remember that you were the understudy for Keir Dullea in a Toronto production, although I cannot recall the name of the play! I do remember going to the restaurant with the cast after the show though, quite an experience for me!

  3. Bex Crowell says:

    I only have ever seen the version of TF Saga you first mentioned with Damien Lewis and loved it to pieces I will look for the earlier version now.

  4. Bex, I just recently bumped into the 1967 version, it is very well done, a bit “dated”, it is in black and white, and I love it!

  5. Steve-Paul (SP) Simms says:

    The few episodes of Avonlea I worked on were in 1990, the same year I worked on The Servant, so yes you would have known me. That year I also appeared in Street Legal and in two plays, Hamlet and Hedda Gabler. Oh, and I extra-ed in a stinker of a movie that went right to video, Car 54 – Where Are You? I remember you coming for lunch that day on Bayview, at Satay Satay.

  6. Teri says:

    I had to go and look up The Forsyte Saga and read a few pages. Wow, been a long time since my mind has been exercised by that style of writing.

    It’s supposed to be quite warm next week. That would be lovely. We’ve gotten a good 4+ inches of snow the last few days and I think I’ve had enough of this winter, though it hasn’t been a bad one.

    I’m hoping to be able to crack open the windows just a touch.

  7. Wow, Steve-Paul, I was unaware of all the things you were up to, too busy surviving I guess. I remember Hedda Gabler, Niki and I went to see you in that. I’ve no recollection of the lunch on Bayview, but then my memory triggers on unusual things, so i probably do, just not in the way you might expect. Good times!

  8. Teri, interesting that you say that, “been a long time since my mind has been exercised by that style of writing”, it is exactly how I felt when I began to listen to Jane Austen novels, it took a while to “get into it”, but it did happen.
    Warm would be lovely! Yes, snow here too. It has been a good winter, but not many sunny days here, and I that makes it feel longer to me. Opening windows, what a wonderful thought!

  9. Sounds like a very intriguing series! Good dramas, good writing, it can be such a joy and comfort! I sure enjoy the dramas on Sunday night via PBS.

  10. Joan, how I wish we could view PBS programming. I remember it from the time, years and years ago, that we had cable television and had access to it. The Forstye Saga is a great story to read, and the two productions of it have been quite wonderful.

  11. Sandra says:

    We are kindred spirits! I share your love for the Forsyte Saga. I’ve read the book twice, listened to it on audio book and watched the 2002 series. I’ll now have to search out the 1967 version. I loved the music in the 2002 series. I especially enjoyed Bryn Terfel singing Irene’s Song which I listen to on YouTube occasionally. The Saga is a masterpiece showcasing the smooth veneer of upper middle class Victorian society and the hidden pain and nastiness underpinning it before it all starts to crumble.

  12. Sandra, we are! I am going to look for Bryn Terfel singing Irene’s Song. I haven’t listened to an audio book of the story, yet, it is on my list though, I’ve been looking at it on audible. I agree with your take on the work, it is a masterpiece.
    My friend Paul Simpson-Housely used to banter with a few of his close friends, when we discussed literature, asking which character we idenfitied with. I would think about it, decide for myself, then he would guess, it was great fun. With The Forsyte Saga I identify most closely with Irene, and less so with Aunt Ann, and Smithers.