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Everybody is a conformist of some conformity, and so were the English upper class in the thirties as the winds of change challenged the dogmas of the Empire. A story of individual emotional struggle within the impositions of society towards the end of the Forsyte saga. A plot of love and conflict revolving around a Great War veteran and poet, his adoring fiancée, and a bigoted dandy: the unconventional Wilfrid Desert, the son of a lord, a loner who renounced Christianity for Islam when Arab fanatics threatened him at pistol point; the charming Dinny Cherrell, a patrician girl who loved him and was prepared to defy her world’s moral code for him; and the elegant horse breeder Jack Muskham, a formalist sticker who used all plausible means to ostracise him for bringing the country into disrepute.
John Galsworthy (1867–1933), Nobel Prize for literature, 1932, was educated at Harrow and Oxford. A barrister turned writer under the influence of the novelist Joseph Conrad (1857–1924), he published his first novel, Jocelyn, in 1898. Two years later, he married his common law wife of ten years. A Man of Property, the first of the Forsyte novels, was published in 1906; the first cycle of The Forsyte Saga, his most widely known work, was completed in 1922. The second part of the Forsyte chronicles, under the name of A Modern Comedy, appeared in 1929. Published posthumously, in 1935, was The End of the Chapter, which consisted of Maid in Waiting (1931), Flowering Wilderness (1932), and Over the River (1933); this last series concerns the Cherrells, cousins of the younger Forsytes. Galsworthy debuted as a socially inspired dramatist with Strife, in 1909, which was followed by other plays.