John Galsworthy - Nobel Laureate in Literature, Birthday and Family

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John Galsworthy's Personal Details

John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright, who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932

InformationDetail
BirthdayAugust 14, 1867
Died onJanuary 31, 1933
NationalityAmerican
FamousNobel Laureate in Literature, Nobel Laureates In Literature, Writers, Novelists, Playwrights
SpousesAda Pearson
Known asJohn Sinjohn, John Galsworthy OM
Universities
  • Harrow School
  • University of Oxford
  • New College
  • Oxford
Founder / Co-Founder
  • PEN American Center
  • PEN International
Birth PlaceKingston upon Thames
GenderMale
Sun SignLeo
Born inKingston upon Thames
Famous asNobel Laureate in Literature
Died at Age65

// Famous Nobel Laureate in Literature

John Galsworthy's photo

Who is John Galsworthy?

John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright, who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932. He came from a newly rich upper middle class commercial family. Trained as lawyer, he switched to writing as soon as his father died. Even before that he had penned four books under pseudonym. His works mainly dealt with the social class system prevalent at that time. He especially concentrated on the upper middle class to which his own family belonged. Although he treated his characters sympathetically, he highlighted their narrow-minded snobbishness and suffocating moral values. The acquisitive tendencies of this class were also projected by him as morally wrong. At the same time, he also campaigned for a variety of causes such as women’s right and animal protection through his writings. His play ‘Justice’ led to prison reforms. When in 1917, he was offered knighthood he rejected it saying writing was an author’s greatest reward. However, he later accepted Order of Merit and also the Nobel Prize. Although he was not at all gregarious by nature, he had a few close friends belonging to literary circle.

// Famous Nobel Laureates In Literature

Childhood & Early Life

John Galsworthy was born on August 14, 1867, in Kingston Hill in a wealthy family. His ancestors came from Devonshire farming stock; but at the time of his birth, they had accumulated considerable property and also owned shipping business.

His father, also named John Galsworthy, was an established solicitor and company director in London. He was quite charming and young Galsworthy used to idolize him. His mother, Blanche Bailey Galsworthy, was very religious and at the same time very fussy.

Junior John Galsworthy was the eldest son of his parents. He started his education under the tutors at home and later was admitted to a preparatory school at Bournemouth at the age of nine. From there he went to Harrow, where he distinguished as an athlete.

After passing out from Harrow young John Galsworthy was admitted to New College, Oxford. In 1889, he passed out from there with a degree in jurisprudence.

In 1890, he was called to bar; but as he wanted to specialize in marine law he joined his family’s shipping business and spent time travelling around the world.

In course of these voyages, Galsworthy met Joseph Cornard, who later became a celebrated writer. The two would-be authors became close friends. Sometime now, Galsworthy also started penning short stories for his own pleasure.

From 1897 to 1901, Galsworthy published four works under the pseudonym John Sinjohn at his own cost. His first book, published in 1897, was a collection of short stories titled ‘From the Four Winds’. ‘Jocelyn’, published in 1888 was his first full novel. He then published ‘Villa Rubein’ in 1900 and ‘A Man of Devon’ in 1901.

Galsworthy’s father passed away in 1904. He now inherited his father’s estate and became financially independent. By now, he had also realized that he was not fit for making a living out of law. He therefore, gave up his legal career and decided to devote all his time to writing.

Career

In 1904, Galsworthy published his first novel under his own name. Titled ‘The Island Pharisees’, the story is about an unusual young man called Richard Shelton. Galsworthy considered this book to be one of his most important works.

Two years later in 1906, Galsworthy published his first play, ‘Silver Box’. It depicts how different standards of justice are applied to people belonging to different classes and how theft by a rich and a poor man attract different repercussion. It was much appreciated by the critics.

In 1906, he also published ‘Man of Property’, which was later included in his famous trilogy ‘The Forsyte Saga’. Through this work, Galsworthy launched a scathing attack on upper middle class families, to which he himself belonged.

He then continued writing a number of novels, short stories and plays. Although he is now more famous as a novelist, initially he was better known as a playwright. ‘Strife’, written in 1907, is one of his most successful plays. It portrays the confrontation of labour and capital.

Interestingly, ‘Strife’ was initially refused by several theatre managers. Ultimately, it opened on March 9, 1909 at Duke of York’s Theatre and received good reviews. By and by, it opened in other theatres and became very popular. The play has also been adapted for several television productions.

Through his dramas, Galsworthy tried to project different social grievances. His next play, ‘Justice’, enacted in 1910, was part of a campaign to reform prisons. It portrayed life inside the prison very realistically. The feeling it roused ultimately led to prison reforms.

When the World War I set in, Galsworthy tried to join military service; but was refused. So he joined a hospital in France as an orderly and continued writing.

In 1917, he was offered knighthood by Prime Minister David Lloyd George. However, he believed that a writer’s reward should come from writing and so he refused it. His plays continued to address social issues like women’s rights, class system and censorship.

In 1921, Galsworthy cofounded PEN International, an international club for authors and became its first president. He served in that capacity until 1932, after which the responsibility was taken over by H. G. Wells.

Major Works

John Galsworthy is best remembered for his trilogy ‘The Forsyte Saga’. First published under that name in 1922, it is actually a series of three novels and two interludes written between 1906 and 1921. These books chronicle the life of three generations in an upper middle class extended family, almost similar to his own.

’The Skin Game’ (1920) and ‘Loyalties (1922) are two of his best known plays. Among them, the former had been made into films twice in a decade. However, Galsworthy considered ‘Loyalties’ to be his best. In an interview, he had said that it was his only play, which he knew, no theater manager would refuse.

Awards & Achievements

In 1919, John Galsworthy received Belgian Palmes d'Or.

On June 3, 1929, he was awarded the Order of Merit by King George V of the United Kingdom. He was earlier offered knighthood but refused.

In 1932, John Galsworthy received the Nobel Prize in Literature. However, at that time he was too ill to receive the award in person and died within six weeks of it.

Personal Life & Legacy

A love affair between John Galsworthy and Ada Nemesis Pearson Cooper began in 1985. This was in spite of the fact that she was the wife of his first cousin Major Arthur Galsworthy. For ten years they met clandestinely in a farmhouse in Devon. It is said that Irene in ‘The Forsyte Saga’ was modeled after Ada.

The couple got married on September 23, 1905, after Ada’s divorce came through. They did not have any children and remained together till his death in 1933.

Towards the end of his life Galsworthy developed brain tumor and died on January 31, 1933 in his London home. His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered over the chalk hills of South Downs. A memorial was erected in his honor at the Highgate New Cemetery in North London.

Another memorial was sculpted by well-known artist Eric Gill and placed in the cloisters of his alma mater New College, Oxford.

In Kingston, a road and a hospital have been named after Galsworthy. The Kingston University has also dedicated a new building to his name.

Trivia

After Galsworthy’s death the popularity of his works began to decline. Interest in his literary works renewed once more when in 1967, the television adaption of his ‘The Forsyte Saga’ by BBC became highly successful.

// Famous Novelists

John Galsworthy awards

YearNameAward

Other

Nobel Prize in Literature

John Galsworthy biography timelines

  • // 14th Aug 1867
    John Galsworthy was born on August 14, 1867, in Kingston Hill in a wealthy family. His ancestors came from Devonshire farming stock; but at the time of his birth, they had accumulated considerable property and also owned shipping business.
  • // 1889
    After passing out from Harrow young John Galsworthy was admitted to New College, Oxford. In 1889, he passed out from there with a degree in jurisprudence.
  • // 1890
    In 1890, he was called to bar; but as he wanted to specialize in marine law he joined his family’s shipping business and spent time travelling around the world.
  • // 1904
    Galsworthy’s father passed away in 1904. He now inherited his father’s estate and became financially independent. By now, he had also realized that he was not fit for making a living out of law. He therefore, gave up his legal career and decided to devote all his time to writing.
  • // 1904
    In 1904, Galsworthy published his first novel under his own name. Titled ‘The Island Pharisees’, the story is about an unusual young man called Richard Shelton. Galsworthy considered this book to be one of his most important works.
  • // 23rd Sep 1905 To 1933
    The couple got married on September 23, 1905, after Ada’s divorce came through. They did not have any children and remained together till his death in 1933.
  • // 1906
    Two years later in 1906, Galsworthy published his first play, ‘Silver Box’. It depicts how different standards of justice are applied to people belonging to different classes and how theft by a rich and a poor man attract different repercussion. It was much appreciated by the critics.
  • // 1906
    In 1906, he also published ‘Man of Property’, which was later included in his famous trilogy ‘The Forsyte Saga’. Through this work, Galsworthy launched a scathing attack on upper middle class families, to which he himself belonged.
  • // 1907
    He then continued writing a number of novels, short stories and plays. Although he is now more famous as a novelist, initially he was better known as a playwright. ‘Strife’, written in 1907, is one of his most successful plays. It portrays the confrontation of labour and capital.
  • // 9th Mar 1909
    Interestingly, ‘Strife’ was initially refused by several theatre managers. Ultimately, it opened on March 9, 1909 at Duke of York’s Theatre and received good reviews. By and by, it opened in other theatres and became very popular. The play has also been adapted for several television productions.
  • // 1910
    Through his dramas, Galsworthy tried to project different social grievances. His next play, ‘Justice’, enacted in 1910, was part of a campaign to reform prisons. It portrayed life inside the prison very realistically. The feeling it roused ultimately led to prison reforms.
  • // 1917
    In 1917, he was offered knighthood by Prime Minister David Lloyd George. However, he believed that a writer’s reward should come from writing and so he refused it. His plays continued to address social issues like women’s rights, class system and censorship.
  • // 1919
    In 1919, John Galsworthy received Belgian Palmes d'Or.
  • // 1920 To 1922
    ’The Skin Game’ (1920) and ‘Loyalties (1922) are two of his best known plays. Among them, the former had been made into films twice in a decade. However, Galsworthy considered ‘Loyalties’ to be his best. In an interview, he had said that it was his only play, which he knew, no theater manager would refuse.
  • // 1921 To 1932
    In 1921, Galsworthy cofounded PEN International, an international club for authors and became its first president. He served in that capacity until 1932, after which the responsibility was taken over by H. G. Wells.
  • // 3rd Jun 1929
    On June 3, 1929, he was awarded the Order of Merit by King George V of the United Kingdom. He was earlier offered knighthood but refused.
  • // 1932
    In 1932, John Galsworthy received the Nobel Prize in Literature. However, at that time he was too ill to receive the award in person and died within six weeks of it.
  • // 31st Jan 1933
    Towards the end of his life Galsworthy developed brain tumor and died on January 31, 1933 in his London home. His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered over the chalk hills of South Downs. A memorial was erected in his honor at the Highgate New Cemetery in North London.
  • // 1967
    After Galsworthy’s death the popularity of his works began to decline. Interest in his literary works renewed once more when in 1967, the television adaption of his ‘The Forsyte Saga’ by BBC became highly successful.
  • // 1985
    A love affair between John Galsworthy and Ada Nemesis Pearson Cooper began in 1985. This was in spite of the fact that she was the wife of his first cousin Major Arthur Galsworthy. For ten years they met clandestinely in a farmhouse in Devon. It is said that Irene in ‘The Forsyte Saga’ was modeled after Ada.

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John Galsworthy's FAQ

  • What is John Galsworthy birthday?

    John Galsworthy was born at 1867-08-14

  • When was John Galsworthy died?

    John Galsworthy was died at 1933-01-31

  • Where was John Galsworthy died?

    John Galsworthy was died in Hampstead

  • Which age was John Galsworthy died?

    John Galsworthy was died at age 65

  • Where is John Galsworthy's birth place?

    John Galsworthy was born in Kingston upon Thames

  • What is John Galsworthy nationalities?

    John Galsworthy's nationalities is American

  • Who is John Galsworthy spouses?

    John Galsworthy's spouses is Ada Pearson

  • What was John Galsworthy universities?

    John Galsworthy studied at Harrow School, University of Oxford, New College, Oxford

  • Which company or organization was founded by John Galsworthy?

    John Galsworthy was the founder/co-founder of PEN American Center, PEN International

  • What is John Galsworthy's sun sign?

    John Galsworthy is Leo

  • How famous is John Galsworthy?

    John Galsworthy is famouse as Nobel Laureate in Literature