The Silver Spoon
“The Silver Spoon” more or less delivers what it says on the cover. Fleur and Michael embark on what is, effectively, a joint career, she as a society hostess and he as a politician. Their fathers feature as what amounts to joint guardians and advisers … Soames protecting Fleur from gossip by taking out a slander suit against a Bright Young Thing and Mont by manipulating his aristocratic relationships when litigation becomes too threatening.
What particularly interested me about the Silver Spoon was Galsworthy’s skill in interweaving the story with his own political interests, using Fleur and Michael as an attractive vehicle for his views. As a result, on a very superficial level I carried out a little background research.
Galsworthy was writing at a time of censorship controversy, social inequality before the law, women’s franchise, and ignorance of animal rights. He wrote essays and plays covering these topics and more. He seems to have irritated some of his contemporaries, including Virginia Woolf and D H Lawrence. Scope for more research on my part!
At the start of “The Silver Spoon” it did occur to me that it was written in the style of Virginia Woolf in Mrs Dalloway. And I did find some of his writing, particularly about the working classes, a bit clumsy. What I can’t argue with is that he used his fame and talents in good causes and to some effect.
As Liz mentioned in her review, the Silver Spoon has many resonances today. What would Galsworthy make of it all!
Incidentally, readers might be interested to know that some of his papers are in The University of Birmingham Library’s Special Collections.