Galsworthy – to Let

Galsworthy – to Let

Ga John Galsworthy (1867 — 1933) TO LET (1922) This novel is the last volume of the Forsyte Saga. It marks both the end of the first stage in the development of the Forsytes and the beginning of the second, post-war stage in the chronicles of their doings. That final stage is the subject of Galsworthy’s second trilogy, the Modern Comedy, where the younger generation of the Forsytes are depicted against the background of England’s post-war decay. In the following extract the novelist holds up to ridicule the decadence of modem art.

He puts his ideas into the mouth of Soames Forsyte whom he formerly satirized as the “man of property”. Soames’s scornful bewilderment at sight of Expressionist paintings renders to a certain degree the feelings of the novelist himself. CHAPTER I Encounter Arriving at the Gallery off Cork Street, however, he paid his shilling, picked up a catalogue, and entered. Some ten persons were prowling round. Soames took steps and came on what looked to him like a lamp-post bent by collision with a motor omnibus. It was advanced some three paces from the wall, and was described in his catalogue as “Jupiter”.

He examined it with curiosity, having recently turned some of his attention to sculpture. “If that’s Jupiter,” he thought, “I wonder what Juno’s like. ” And suddenly he saw her, opposite. She appeared to him like nothing so much as a pump with two handles, lightly clad in snow. He was still gazing at her, when two of the prowlers halted on his left. “Epatant”[1] be heard one say. “Jargon! ” growled Soames to himself. The other boyish voice replied: “Missed it,[2] old bean;[3] he’s pulling your leg. When Jove and Juno created he them,[4] he was saying: “I’ll see how much these fools will swallow”.

And they’ve lapped up a lot. ”[5] “You young duffer[6]! Vospovitch is an innovator. Don’t you see that he’s brought satire into sculpture? The future of plastic art, of music, painting, and even architecture, has set in satiric. It was bound to. People are tired – the bottom’s tumbled out of sentiment. ” “Well, I’m quite equal to taking a little interest in beauty. I was through the war. You’ve dropped your handkerchief, sir. ” Soames saw a handkerchief held out in front of him. He took it with some natural suspicion, and approached it to his nose.

It had the right sent – of distant Eau de Cologne – and his initials in a corner. Slightly reassured, he raised his eyes to the young man’s face. It had rather fawn-like ears, a laughing mouth, with half a toothbrush growing out of it on each side, and small lively eyes above a normally dressed appearance. “Thank you,” he said; and moved by a sort of irritation, added: “Glad to hear you like beauty; that’s rare, nowadays. ” “I dote on it,” said the young man; “but you and I are the last of the old guard, sir. ” Soames smiled. If you really care for pictures,” he said, “here’s my card. I can show you some quite good ones any Sunday, if you’re down the river and care to look in. ” “Awfully nice of you, sir. I’ll drop in like a bird[7]. My name’s Mont – Michael. ” And he took off his hat. Soames, already regretting his impulse, raised his own slightly in response, with a downward look at the young man’s companion, who had a purple tie, dreadful little sluglike whiskers, and a scornful look – as if he were a poet! It was the first indiscretion he had committed for so long that he went and sat down in an alcove.

What had possessed him to give his card to a rackety[8] young fellow, who went about with a thing like that? And Fleur, always at the back of his thoughts, started out like a filigree figure from a clock when the hour strikes. On the screen opposite the alcove was a large canvas with a great many square tomato-coloured blobs on it, and nothing else, so far as Soames could see from where he sat. He looked at his catalogue: “No. 32 — ‘The Future Town’ — Paul Post. ” “I suppose that’s satiric too,” he thought. “What a thing! ” But his second impulse was more cautious. It did not do to condemn hurriedly.

There had been those stripey, streaky creations of Monet’s[9], which had turned out such trumps; and then the stippled school,[10] and Gauguin* [11]. Why, even since the Post-Impressionists[12] there had been one or two painters not to be sneezed at. During the thirty-eight years of his connoisseur’s life, indeed, he had marked so many “movements”, seen the tides of taste and technique so ebb and flow, that there was really no telling anything except that there was money to be made out of every change of fashion. This too might quite well be a case where one must subdue primordial instinct, or lose the market.

He got up and stood before the picture, trying hard to see it with the eyes of other people. Above the tomato blobs was what he took to be a sunset, till some one passing said: “He’s got the airplanes wonderfully, don’t you think! ” Below the tomato blobs was a band of white with vertical black stripes, to which he could assign no meaning whatever, till some one else came by, murmuring: “What expression he gets with his foreground! ” Expression? Of what? Soames went back to his seat. The thing was “rich”, as his father would have said, and he wouldn’t give a damn for it.

Expression! Ah! they were all Expressionists[13] now, he had heard, on the Continent. So it was coming here too, was it? He remembered the first wave of influenza in 1887 — or 8 — hatched in China, so they said. He wondered where this —this Expressionism — had been hatched. The thing was a regular disease! ??? ?? ??? ?? ????, ?????? ? ??????? ?? ????-?????, ?? ???????? ???? ???????, ????? ??????? ? ?????. ?? ???? ????????? ??????? ?????? ???????????. ???? ?????? ???????? ? ????-??, ??? ?????????? ??? ??????? ?? ???????? ?????, ????????????? ?? ???????????? ? ?????????. ??? ???? ????????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????? ? ? ???????? ??????? “????????”. ???? ? ???????????? ?????????? ??, ??? ??? ? ????????? ??????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ??????????. “???? ??? ??????, – ????? ??, – ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ” ? ?????, ??? ??? ????????, ?? ????? ? ??. ?????? ?????????? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ??????? ?? ????????? ? ????? ????????, ?????? ???????????? ??????. ?? ?????? ?? ??? ? ??????????, ????? ??????, ????? ? ???, ???????????? ????. – ???????????????! – ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ???. – ????????? ????????! – ????????? ??? ???? ????. ???????????? ????? ??????? ????????: – ?????, ???????! ?? ?? ?????????????? ??? ?????????. ??, ????? ???????? ???? ??????????? ???????, ?????, ????????????: “?????????, ??? ????????? ?? ???? ???????”. ? ??????? ??????? ? ????????????. – ?? ??, ??????? ????????! ???????? – ???????. ?? ?????? ?????, ??? ?? ?????? ? ?????? ??????? ??????? ????????????? ?????????, ??????, ????????, ???? ??????????? – ? ??????. ?????? ?? ????????. ????? ????? ??? ???????????????? ??? ?????: ?? ??? ??????? ?????? ????????????????. – ???. ?? ? ?????? ???? ?????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ? ???????. ? ?????? ????? ?????. ?? ???????? ??????, ???. ???? ?????? ?????????? ??? ??????? ??????. ? ???? ??? ? ???????? ??? ????????????????? ? ?????? ? ????. ????? ??? ?????????? – ???? ????? ??????????, ????? ? ??????. ????????? ????????????. ???? ?????? ????? ?? ???????? ????????. ? ???? ???? ??? ?????, ????????? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ? ????????? ????? ?????. ? ?????? ?????? ????????????????. – ????????? ???, – ?????? ?? ?, ???????? ???????????? ?????? ??????????, ???????: – ??? ???????, ??? ?? ?????? ???????; ? ???? ??? ??? ????????. – ? ?? ??? ???????, – ?????? ??????? ???????. – ?? ?? ? ????, ???, ????????? ????????????? ?????? ???????. ???? ?????????. ???? ?? ? ????? ???? ?????? ????????, ??? ??? ??? ????????. ? ????? ??????????? ? ???? ???????? ??? ????????? ???????? ??????, ???? ??? ?????? ?????, ??????? ?? ????, ????????? ?? ???. – ??????? ???? ? ????? ???????, ???. ??????? ??????????. ???? ????? ????, ????? ????. ?? ???????? ???? ?????. ????, ??? ??????????? ? ????? ????????? ??????, ????? ?????? ????????? ????? ? ????????? ?? ??????? ?? ??????? ?????. ??????? ???????, ???????????? ?????, ????? ??? ????????, ? ???????????? ??????????? ????? – ????????, ????! ?? ????? ??? ???? ? ?????? ??? ???????? ???????? ?????????? ?, ?????????????, ?????? ? ????. ??? ???? ??? ?????????? ???? ???? ???????? ??????-?? ??????????, ??????? ??????? ? ????????? ??????????? ? ????? ????, ?????? ????????? ?? ?????? ??? ????????, ????????, ??? ? ???? ????? ????????? ???????? ??????????? ?????? ?? ?????? ????????. ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ?????? ????? ???????, ? ?? ??? ????????? ?????-???????, ????? ????????, ??????? – ? ?????? ??????, ??? ?????????? ????? ?? ??? ???????. ???????? ? ???????: N 32, “????? ????????” – ??? ????. “???????, ???? ??????, – ??????? ??. – ?? ? ????! ” ?? ????????? ??? ????? ???? ??? ??????????. ?????? ?????????? ? ??????????. ???? ?? ????? – ? ????? ??????? – ????????? ????? ????; ? ???????????, ? ?????? ???? ????? ??????????????????? ???? ???-??? ?????????, ??? ???????? ???????? ?? ??????????. ?? ?? ???????? ?????? ???, ??? ???? ??? ????????? ????????, ?? ???????? ??????? “????????”, ??????? ???? ???????? ? ??????? ?? ?????? ? ? ????? ??????? ??????, ??? ??? ?? ??????? ? ???????????? ?????? ????: ?? ?????? ???????? ???? ????? ??????????. ????????, ??? ? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ???????, ????? ???? ??? ???????? ? ???? ?????????? ?????????, ??? ???????? ???????? ??????. ? ????? ? ?????? ????? ????????, ?????????? ???????? ??????? ?? ??????? ??????. ??? ?????-???????? ???????? ????????? ?????, ??? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ?????????? ??????, ???? ???-?? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ?????????: “??????????? ??? ????????, ?? ?????? ??? ” ??? ???????? ??? ????? ??????, ?????????? ??????? ???????????, ??????? ???? ?? ????? ?? ??? ????????? ???????? ????????, ???? ?? ??????? ???-?? ??? ? ?? ?????????: “??????? ?????????? ??????? ???? ???????? ????! ” ??????????? ???????????????? ? ??? ?? ??? ????????? ???? ???????? ? ?????? ?????? ? ????. ?????”, – ?????? ?? ??? ???? ? ?? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????????. ??????????! ?? ??????????, ??? ?? ??????, ?????? ??? ????????? ????? ?????????????????. ??????????, ??????, ? ?? ???. ??? ??????????? ?????? ????? ????????? ? ?????? ????????? ??????????? ??????? ??? ??????? ????, ??????? ???, ??? ????????, ?? ?????. ? ??????, ?????????, ????? ??????????????? ????????? ????????! Analysis In this description of Soames’s impressions of a gallery stocked with pieces of modern art Galsworthy’s realism is displayed to great advantage.

Within a very few pages the reader gets a vivid notion not only of the new school in painting, but also of the man who is so indignant with it. On the one hand his disgust and his perplexity throw light on the fictitious masterpieces and their false standards of beauty; on the other hand those masterpieces become an efficient means of characterizing Soames himself. The same end is served by the contrast between the soundness of his judgement and the flightiness, the restlessness of those of the new generation who delight in such works of art.

Abundance of thought and feeling in a short passage where nothing much actually happens, dislike of emphasis and pathos is an important feature of Galsworthy’s quiet and restrained art. His intense contempt for the mannerisms of modern painting is not poured out either in withering sarcasm or in grotesque exaggeration, but finds an outlet in a tone of matter-of-fact irony. The supposed statues of Jupiter and Juno are to Soames just “a lamp-post bent by collision with a motor omnibus” and “a pump with two handles” respectively.

Seen through the eyes of hard common-sense, brought down to the crudest elements, these statues appear particularly ridiculous. The same process of reducing a complex whole — a pretentious picture of “The Future Town” — to a number of primitive daubs serves to expose the futility of Expressionist art. However hard Soames tries, he can see nothing but “a great many square tomato-coloured blobs” and “a band of white with vertical black stripes”. The very sound of the word “blob”, imitating the dripping of some liquid, is derogatory here and suggests that the paint was dropped on the canvas anyhow.

This plain sensible view is comically opposed to the enthusiasm of other and younger spectators who seem to observe a wonderful picture of airplanes in the red blobs and a peculiar “expression” in the black and white stripes. The false pretences of the picture bearing the pompous name of “The Future Town” are the more clearly revealed as Soames anxiously does his best to go abreast of the times and make his taste sufficiently up to date. The harder the beholder’s efforts to appreciate, the clearer the painter’s failure to succeed.

Soames’s business instincts are well expressed in his fear to misunderstand the exhibits and so miss an opportunity for profit. Thus, even when Galsworthy does make a mouthpiece of his hero, the latter’s utterances, however close they come to the author’s opinions, are appropriate to the personality of the speaker and come convincing from his lips. It is Galsworthy himself who has no respect for Expressionism, but Soames voices that feeling in a way peculiarly Forsytean: he is afraid to trust his eminently healthy taste, his own sense of beauty, for, as he reminds himself, “it did not do to condemn hurriedly.

There had been those stripey, streaky creations of Monet’s…” These words make part of a prolonged inner monologue, which in the later volumes of the Forsyte Saga and in the whole of the Modern Comedy becomes Galsworthy’s favourite method of characterization. The inner speech of the hero is indissolubly linked with the author’s comments, so much so, really, that when speaking of Soames, for example, Galsworthy resorts to expressions entirely suitable to Soames (“His second impulse was more cautious”, “He remembered the first wave of influenza in 1887 — or 8 — hatched in China, so they said”).

With Galsworthy the inner monologue is different from what it is, say, in Meredith’s books. For one thing, the author of the Forsyte Saga uses it much more often. For another thing, he interferes with his comments much less than his predecessor. Lastly, the language of the monologues (particularly when they are Soamse’s) is much more concise and laconic, utterly devoid of sentiment. It is quite free of abstract terms, and is exceedingly terse, practical and full of idiomatic constructions commonly used in everyday speech (“painters not to be sneezed at”, “they had turned out such trumps” etc. . Soames the businessman makes himself heard when in the meditations on art practical considerations come to the top: “there was money to be made out of every change of fashion”, “lose the market” and others. Even his metaphors, when they put in an appearance, are few and definitely “low” – as, for instance, the comparison of Expressionism to influenza hatched in China: “He wondered where this — this Expressionism — had been hatched. The thing was a regular disease! These metaphors are born out of Soames ‘s disgust for what he considers a corruption of art and are therefore significant of his attitude towards painting: they prove that Soames had esthetic criteria of his own and was capable of disinterested appreciation. Besides the inner monologue and characterization through surroundings, Galsworthy, ever resourceful in his search for the realistic approach, makes ample use of the dialogue as an efficient means to let his characters speak for themselves without the author’s interference.

In the present excerpt Soames unexpectedly finds himself involved in a talk with young strangers, one of whom is an advocate of “extreme” innovation of art. Their speech might be described as a curious combination of vulgar colloquialisms (“duffer”, “to lap up”, “the bottom’s tumbled out of sentiment”) with bookish and learned phraseology (“innovator”, “plastic art”, “to bring satire into sculpture”), of English and French slang (“old bean”, “to pull somebody’s leg”, “epatant”) with solemn parody of Biblical constructions (“Jove and Juno created he them”).

Exaggeration (“awfully nice of you”, “I dole on it [beauty]”) goes hand in hand with understatement (“I’m quite equal to taking a little interest in beauty”). Galsworthy perfectly realized, — indeed, he was one of the first writers to do so — that the flippant manner and the crude speech of post-war young people was the result of a severe shock of disillusionment: they were so disappointed with those fine words that, used to go with a fine show of public feeling that for them “the bottom had tumbled out of sentiment”, and satire both in art and in mode of talk seemed to be the only possible alternative.

Their manner of speaking, cynical, affectedly coarse, substituting descriptive slangy catchwords for the proper names of things, is strongly contrasted to Soames’s formal, plain speech with his habit of giving things their common standard meanings and never saying more than is strictly necessary. The contrast in manner and speach habits is of great importance in lending vitality to both interlocutors, in stressing the immense difference between the younger men’s irresponsibility and rootlessness and Soames’s resolute clinging to property, his dogged hold on life.

As a follower of a realist tradition, Galsworthy never fails in attaching special significance to the tiniest details: Soames approaches his handkerchief, that Michael had picked up for him, to his nose to make sure it is really his — with that suspiciousness that is so characteristic of the Forsytes.

He raises his hat only slightly in parting from young Mont and looks downward at his companion, for he is naturally distrustful of new acquaintances and inclined to be no more than coldly polite (raising his hat ever so little) and supercilious — in looking down upon anybody whom he does not recognize as his equals and half expects to be troublesome. All these little things are very suggestive of that fear of giving oneself away that Galsworthy elsewhere described as a feature by which it is as easy to tell a Forsyte as by his sense of property.

Galsworthy’s realism does not only lie in his capacity for making his hero part and parcel of his surroundings and convincing the reader of his typicality: he is a fine artist in reproducing the individual workings of his characters’ minds. Soames, the man of property, is also a man of deep and lasting feelings. Such is his devotion to his daughter Fleur, who was “always at the back of his thoughts” and “started out like a filigree figure from a clock when the hour strikes”.

Incidentally, this dainty simile, so utterly unlike the matter-of-factness that characterizes the usual reproduction of Soames’s prosaic mind, is expressive of the poetic colouring that Galsworthy introduces to render the strength of the affection Soames has for Fieur, As a general rule, the novelist, though following in the tracks of classical realists, breaks away from the literary polish, the fine descriptive style that was kept up to the very end of the 19th century.

At the same time as Shaw, Weils, Bennett, Galsworthy starts a new tradition of bringing the language of literature (m the author’s speech, no less than in that of the personages) close to the language of real life. He does away with the elaborate syntax of 19th century prose and cultivates short, somewhat abrupt sentences, true to the rhythm and the intonation of the spoken language and full of low colloquialisms and even slang. Tasks I. Translate into English: ) ??????? ????????? ??????????? ? ???????? ???????? ?????; 2) ????????? ???? ?? ??????-???????; 3) ????????? ? ?????????? ????? ?????????; 4) ??????? ????? ? ???? ????? ??????; 5) ????????? ??????? ??????? ???????? ??????; 6) ???? ? ???? ?? ???????? ? ???????????? ???? ??????? ? ???????????? ? ??????????????; 7) ?????? ?????? ????? ??????????? ????????????? ??????; 8) ?????????? ???????? ????????????? ??-??????????; 9) ??????????????? ?????????? ???????; 10) ?????????? ?????? ? ????????????? ??????; 11) ????? ??????????? ???????, ????????? ???? ? ?????????; 12) ?? ?????? ????? – ??????????, ????? ??? ???????????? ?????? ????????? ???????; 13) ???????? ? ???????????????? ?????????; 14) ?????? ??????????? ? ????? ?????? ?????????????? ??????? ???????; 15) ????????????? ????????? ???? ?? ???? ? ??????????????; 16) ??????? ??????????? ????????????; 17) ????????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ?????? ????????? ?????????? ??????; 18) ?????, ?? ??????? ????? ????? ?????? ????????, ??? ? ?? ??? ??????? ????????????; 19) ??????? ????????? ???????????? ??????????, ??? ???????? ????????? ???????? ???? ?????????????; 20) ???????? ?? ????????????? ??????, ???????? ????????????? ?????; 21) ?????? ? ?????????? ??????????????? ???????????? ?????. II. Answer the questions: 1) What does the description under analysis present? 2) How do Soames’s portrayal and the paintings’ presentation characterise each other? 3) What are the features of Galsworthy’s style? ) How is Galsworthy’s contempt for the mannerisms in art brought home to the reader? 5) How are the statues brought to ridicule by the author? 6) What view is Soames’s approach opposed to? 7) How are Soames’s business instincts expressed? 8) Is Galsworthy’s own view rendered through Soames’s voice? Do the views of the writer and his character completely coincide? 9) What is Galsworthy’s favourite method of characterisation? 10) How is the language of the monologues to be characterised? 11) How is the businessman revealed in Soames? 12) What are the specificities of the young strangers? 13) How are the two different manners of speech contrasted? 14) How does Galsworthy treat details? 5) How does Galsworthy reproduce the individual working of Soames’s mind? 16) What literary tradition did Galsworthy participate in starting of? ———————– [1] I¬c¬o¬­! ­+­Z­l­o­? ­¶­·­e­e­i­i­n­? ­o­ ® ®®®5®A®B®eOAOAOAO«–«? p? p? p? [F[F[F[)h{[email protected]? yyB*[pic]CJaJmHphsH)h{uh ¬@? yyB*[pic]CJaJmHphsH%h{uhAJaB*[pic]CJaJmHphsH%h{uh ¬B*[pic]CJaJmHphsH)h{[email protected]?? yB*[pic]CJaJmHphsH)h{uh ¬@?? yB*[pic]CJaJmHphsH)h{[email protected]? [2]B*[pic]CJaJmHphsH)h{uh ¬@? [3]B*[pic]CJaJmHphsH)h{uheEpatant (French) – thrilling, wonderful [4] Missed it – here: misunderstood it [5] Old bean – old man (sl. ) [6] when Jove and Juno created he thern — a paraphrase of the Biblic story of he origin of man: “male and female created he them” [7] they’ve lapped up the lot — here: they have taken everything seriously [8] Duffer – fool (sl. ) [9] Drop in like a bird – come with pleasure (sl. ) [10] Rackety – light-minded, flightly [11] Claude Monet (1840-1926) – a well-known French painter of the Impressionist school [12] Stippled school – painters who painted in dots [13] Paul Gauguin (1843-1903) – French painter and sculpter [14] Post-Impressionists – painters who succeeded the Impressionists in 20th century art [15] Expressionists – artists belonging to one og the schools in art very popular in the first decades of the 20th century