Greatest Literature banner

The Forsyte Saga

Critique • Quotes

The Man of Property, first editionThe Man of Property first edition
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Publication of series The Forsyte Saga

Publication of novel The Man of Property

Literature form
Novels, stories


Writing language

Author's country

Novel approx. 110,000 words

Novels and stories in the saga ▽ Novels and stories in th saga △

The Man of Property, novel, 1906

• "Indian Summer of a Forsyte", story, 1918

In Chancery, novel, 1920

• "Awakening", story, 1920

To Let, novel, 1921

Notable lines

Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight—an upper middle-class family in full plumage.

— First line, The Man of Property

"Let the dead Past bury its dead" would be a better saying if the Past ever died. The persistence of the Past is one of those tragi-comic blessings which each new age denies, coming cocksure on to the stage to mouth its claim to a perfect novelty.

— Preface to The Man of Property

When a Forsyte was engaged, married, or born, the Forsytes were present; when a Forsyte died—but no Forsyte had as yet died; they did not die; death being contrary to their principles, they took precautions against it, the instinctive precautions of highly vitalized persons who resent encroachments on their property.

The Man of Property

Danger — so indispensable in bringing out the fundamental quality of any society, group, or individual — was what the Forsytes scented; the premonition of danger put a burnish on their armour. For the first time, as a family, they appeared to have an instinct of being in contact, with some strange and unsafe thing.

The Man of Property

To every man of great age—to Sir Walter Bentham himself—the idea of suicide has once at least been present in the ante-room of his soul....

The Man of Property

Morals had changed, manners had changed, men had become monkeys twice-removed, God had become Mammon—Mammon so respectable as to deceive himself: Sixty-four years that favoured property, and had made the upper middle class; buttressed, chiselled, polished it, till it was almost indistinguishable in manners, morals, speech, appearance, habit, and soul from the nobility. An epoch which had gilded individual liberty so that if a man had money, he was free in law and fact, and if he had not money he was free in law and not in fact. An era which had canonised hypocrisy, so that to seem to be respectable was to be. A great Age, whose transmuting influence nothing had escaped save the nature of man and the nature of the Universe.

In Chancery

And in young Jolyon's face he slammed the door.

— Last line, The Man of Property

The stable clock struck the quarter past. The dog Balthasar stretched and looked up at his master. The thistledown no longer moved. The dog placed his chin over the sunlit foot. It did not stir. The dog withdrew his chin quickly, rose, and leaped on old Jolyon’s lap, looked in his face, whined; then, leaping down, sat on his haunches, gazing up. And suddenly he uttered a long, long howl.
But the thistledown was still as death, and the face of his old master.
Summer—summer—summer! The soundless footsteps on the grass!

— Lasgt lines, "Indian Summer of a Forsyte"

And only one thing really troubled him, sitting there—the melancholy craving in his heart—because the sun was like enchantment on his face and on the clouds and on the golden birch leaves, and the wind's rustle was so gentle, and the yewtree green so dark, and the sickle of a moon pale in the sky. He might wish and wish and never get it—the beauty and the loving in the world!

— Last lines, To Let


Critique • Quotes