John Galsworthy (1867-1933) was born in Surrey and educated at Harrow and New College, Oxford. Called to the Bar in 1890, he decided instead to pursue a literary career, publishing his early work under the pseudonym John Sinjohn. The Island Pharisees (1904) was the first novel to appear under his real name, and this was followed by The Country House (1907), Fraternity (1909), The Patrician (1911) and The Dark Flower (1913).
The Man of Property (1906) marked the beginning of the popular Forsyte sequence of novels, and together with In Chancery (1920) and To Let (1921) was published as The Forsyte Saga in 1922. A second cycle of books about the Forsytes, including The White Monkey (1924), The Silver Spoon (1926) and Swan Song (1928), appeared collectively as A Modern Comedy in 1929.
As well as an acclaimed novelist, John Galsworthy was also a prolific and successful playwright, his first work for the stage, The Silver Box, being produced in 1906. Many of his plays, such as Strife (1909), Justice (1910) and The Skin Game (1920), highlighted social issues and had a considerable effect on public opinion and policy.
John Galsworthy was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1932 but died shortly afterwards, a final instalment of the Forsyte chronicles – The End of the Chapter – being published posthumously in 1935.