TFS: In Chancery, (Interlude) Awakening,
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Before I give a more complete impression, I wanted to share a quote which I feel sums up the saga very well (and I don't want to lose it as I got along!) - it's from young Joylon regarding Jolly's signing up for the Boer War: "I don't believe I should have done it at your age - too much of a Forsyte, I'm afraid. But I suppose the type gets thinner with each generation. Your son, if you have one, may be a pure altruist; who knows?" A touch of hope!
Two things struck me however:
1. A comment by young Jolyon: "So the feud went unto the third generation - this modern feud which had no overt expression!" Really? I didn't realize that old Jolyon and James had any misunderstanding... did I miss something besides sibling rivalry? I comes up again in To Let so obviously something happened - I would love to explore this saga from a genealogical psychology point of view!
2. The Passing of an Age - Whether it was Mafeking or Queen Victoria's passing, this time is a clear marker for the Forsyte family - not only is the older generation dying, but values are changing: "...all radicals and socialists. They want our goods." says George Forsyte. It reminded me of The Leopard with Sedàra taking over the Prince's world. I do feel Salina was much more gracious about it than Soames however!
I found something in my English-English dictionary:
in chancery: a) (of a suit) pending in a court of equity. b) in an awkward situation.
I'm not sure if this explanation made me any wiser.
Could anybody explain this term in a more "popular" way? I guess I'll learn more as I read along, but the difference between the Norwegian and the English title confuses me ;(
Interestingly, the French title is Aux aguets which means "to be on one's guard/on the look-out" - there is a sense of impending danger. I find this places the emphasis on Irene and Jolyon trying to escape Soames. It is also mindful of the dispute between Val and Jolly, not to mention Winifred's dealings with Montague. A lot of mistrust...
Thanks for your comments.
I think b) is the right term to use translating it into Norwegian.
Then the Norwegian title will be "En vanskelig situasjon" (= 'A difficult situation' i.e.~ 'in an awkward situation').
And: Well.... A divorce is often an awkward situation, so ....(??)
I think both translations are right; it seems to be a play on words Galsworthy enjoys to employ (and actually uses quite a lot in In Chancery). And it is indeed quite an appropriate description for the situation of many of the characters in that part of the book.
Some explanations I found:
"Chancery" is an invention of English law, carried over to other legal systems having their foundation in the English legal system, such as the US one. (...) Basically Chancery matters covered areas which back in history the common law did not - trusts, care of "lunatics", minors, matrimonial issues, certain matters relating to the land, etc. etc.
4. a. In England (...), the distinctive name of a system of law existing side by side with the common and statute law (...), and superseding these, when they conflict with it.
The original notion was that of sense 3 ("general principles of justice to correct or supplement the provisions of the law"), a decision ‘in equity’ being understood to be one given in accordance with natural justice, in a case for which the law did not provide adequate remedy, or in which its operation would have been unfair. These decisions, however, were taken as precedents, and thus ‘equity’ early became an organized system of rules, not less definite and rigid than those of ‘law’; though the older notion long continued to survive in the language of legal writers, and to some extent to influence the practice of equity judges. In England, equity was formerly administered by a special class of tribunals, of which the Court of Chancery was chief; but since 1873 all the branches of the High Court administer both ‘law’ and ‘equity’, it being provided that where the two differ, the rules of equity are to be followed. Nevertheless, the class of cases formerly dealt with by the Court of Chancery are still reserved to the Chancery Division of the High Court.
And also see wikipedia.org.
'A student of statistics must have noticed that the birth rate had varied in accordance with the rate of interest for your money. Grandfather ‘Superior Dosset’ Forsyte in the early nineteenth century had been getting ten per cent. For his, hence ten children......'
Was it Marx that said, among other things, that it is the economy that is the great determiner?
And yet people may wish to view how much economics impacts the book's characters from start to finish.
I still don't know whether I like Irene, but I feel that I probably should, since Old Jolyon and Young Jolyon think so highly of her and I like them!
It is interesting to see the younger generation move into the foreground, and I can't wait to see how this new stage of the feud plays out.
I wonder whether Forsyte had read The Buddenbrooks - it was one of several aspects that reminded me of that book...
I hope we will take The Buddenbrooks as a group read later. I assume you've read it. I've got it on my shelves, but haven't read it yet. Is it that great as some readers say?
And now a little curiousity (for me) from In Chancery.
I'm reading In Search of Lost Time and in volume 4 there were quite much about 'The Dreyfus Affair' and it is also mentioned in Galsworthy's saga, so I thought I would learn a little more about it. Among other sites I found this article from Wikipedia:
Literature is exciting ..............
The Norwegian title of this chapter is: "UNGE JOLYON I SITT HJEM" (i.e.: Young Jolyan at Home). As you might see, the English title is more informative, but I understand the translator: It's difficult to find a good Norwegian phrase for "no-longer-young", so I assume just "young" is better. Languages are curious matters.
And I think the whole chapter six is very informative. We learn much about many characters and Galsworthy uses a retrospective technique to tell us what has happened earlier:
"But here the Forsyte Saga must digress again ... ". Here we learn what happened after the last sentences of the interlude "Indian summer of a Forsyte". Great section.
There are some nice quotes as well:
"His drawings fetched high prices. Specializing in that one medium with the tenacity of his breed, he had 'arrived' - rather late, but not too late for a member of the family which made a point of living for ever."
" 'Quite right !' he had thought. 'We should all like to go out in full summer with beauty stepping towards us across a lawn.' " ((No-longer-)young Jolyon thinking of his father's (old Jolyon's) death).
" 'That chap could never forget anything - nor ever give himself away. He's pathetic !' " (Young Jolyon about Soames).
I agree. Do you?
And should you ever come to Northern Germany, don't miss the Buddenbrookhaus in Lübeck, one of the best museums of literature I've ever seen (but I would recommend to read the book first).
I'll have to finish some books I'm currently reading, and even read some other books as well, but I'm sure I'll read The Buddenbrooks in not too many months, especially because you say it's wonderful. I believe you, and I've got two Norwegian editions on my bookshelves, one of them with an introductory essay which I read (only the essay) last year. Did you read the novel in German?
Buddenbrookhaus seems to be a great museum. Very nice website. I think I'll visit the site and its different links later and study them more carefully then. Interesting.
I guess I'll finish the rest of this read (i.e. To Let in less than a month.
And ohh, What a part of 'TFS' In Chancery is!! I loved reading about all the interesting characters and the plot is very exciting. Soames is NOT my favorite character, but I'm still hoping he will grow wiser and become more "human" as he has got a daughter now. He really wanted a son, though, and so did his father James. Soames lied to James saying that Anette had given birth to a boy. Was that the right thing to tell the dying old man? Maybe it was.
I'm really looking forward to read (much) more about this exciting family.
What will happen to Jolyan, Irene and their son? And Holly and Val?
Soames and Anette? Their daughter Fleur? I remember she was one of the main characters in the ~40 years old tv series.
I have also read the interlude 'Awakening'.
Looking forward to starting To Let tonight.
While the characters may be more "fleshed out" now that we know them and see them more, I don't think I like them any more.
I felt really disappointed about midway through this section: after Soames got the evidence against Jolyon and Irene, we stop hearing about their story. I really liked them best, so the fade out while they went off and had their affair felt like something was missing. Overall, I felt that the end of In Chancery was rushed and not as well developed.
I loved the queen's funeral: that was a great look at the changing of the age. It helped me see how clueless Soames was. He just gets worse! I thought he was awful to lie to his father about his child. I thought he was awful to not care about anyone (not even his wife). I just hate him.
In the end, I didn't like this section nearly as much as the first. A stereotypical sequel: not as powerful throughout as the original.