The Nobel Prize in Literature 1932
Born: 14 August 1867, Kingston Hill, United Kingdom
Died: 31 January 1933, London, United Kingdom
Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom
Prize motivation: “for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga”
Prize share: 1/1
John Galsworthy came from a wealthy English family with businesses in many countries. He studied law but abandoned his plans to become a lawyer and instead traveled widely to look after the family’s businesses. During his travels he became acquainted with the writer Joseph Conrad, who became a close friend. Returning from his travels, he published two collections of short stories under the pseudonym John Sinjohn before his breakthrough with the novel The Island Pharisees, which was published under his own name.
Today Galsworthy is mainly remembered for The Forsyte Saga series. His contemporaries highly regarded him as a playwright, whose plays often dealt with social issues about class and justice. His breakthrough as a novelist came with publication of The Island Pharisees, which criticized the egotism of England’s powerful elite. With The Forsyte Saga–consisting of three novels and two short stories–he went from being a radical critic of contemporary culture with satire as a primary weapon to delineating increasingly complex character portraits with greater warmth.