The Patrician By John Galsworthy: A Critical Examination Of Aristocratic Society

John Galsworthy was an English novelist who was well known for his satirical take on societal classes and values. The Patrician, first published in 1911, delves deep into the life of the highest class of the English society the blue blooded aristocrats.

The Plot

The Patrician in the tale is Lord Miltoun, the eldest son of the Lord and Lady Valleys at the Caradocs. He is a charismatic young leader who visualizes to himself, an idealized England that is devoid of slums. He believes that the power to lead his fellow men is the greatest good and aspires for a celebrated career in the Parliament by being the Prime Minister of England. However, a drastic change follows when Miltoun meets Audrey Noel, a sensitive and gentle lady who lives on a small cottage on an estate owned by him. He soon falls in love with this beautiful young lady, rumored to be a divorcee.

Audrey, who leads a sorrowful life owing to her clergyman husband who refuses to divorce her, reciprocates Miltouns love in full. The relationship soon thaws a conflict in the patricians mind - he gets torn between the need to remain immaculate in order to continue in power and his hearts desire to be with the love of his life. In the meanwhile, Miltouns younger sister, Barbara, falls in love with Charles Courtier, an altruistic friend of Mrs. Noel and an opponent of Miltoun. In the elections that follow, Miltoun emerges victorious by a narrow margin.

Later in London, he falls ill and gets nursed back to health by Audrey. Lady Valleys gets displeased with this development and summons Miltoun and Barbara to their Uncle, Lord Dennis seaside residence, where Miltoun recovers fully. Later, he writes to Audrey thanking her for her service. Upon his return to London, he meets Courtier, who pleads with him not to disown Mrs. Noel. However, Miltoun realizes his true need for leadership and decides to dedicate himself to serve his fellow men. Mrs. Noel, sensing his turmoil, helps him by sacrificing her feelings and going away. Though Barbara and Courtier too weave hopes of marriage, the latters pride stand in their way and the younger daughter of The Valleys gets married to Lord Harbinger.

About John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy was a novelist and playwright and one of the most popular writers of the early 20th century. He was born in 1867, in Surrey, and studied at Harrow and New College, Oxford. He later got admitted to the bar in 1890, but discontinued his profession in law to pursue writing full-time. His works revolved around social themes, and often incorporated into them, the nuances of classes and hierarchy of the Edwardian era. Besides The Patrician, Galsworthy authored famous novels and plays including the Forsyte series: Indian Summer of a Forsyte, In Chancery, Awakening, and To Let. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1929 and the Nobel Prize for literature in 1932.
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Freeditorial is an online library and book publisher, which offers readers with free e-books such as The Life of John Ruskin, The Mystery of the Sea, The Patrician, The Benefactress, Afterward, Number 70 Berlin and several other novels written by Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, John Galsworthy, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Von Arnim, etc., to download or read online. Article Published On: - Writing
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