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Lagerlöf, Selma(sĕl`mä lä`gərlöv), 1858–1940, Swedish novelist. Her native Värmland is the background for many of her excellent stories, which deal with peasant life. Novels include The Story of Gösta Berling (1891, tr. 1898), a romantic tale of a renegade priest, lyrical in style; Jerusalem (1901, tr. 1901–2); and a trilogy (1925–28) which was published in English as The Ring of the Lowenskolds (1931). Several of her works, often based on legends and sagas, served as the basis for early Swedish films. The short stories of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (1906, tr. 1907) are classics of children's literature. She received the 1909 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first woman to be thus honored.
See biographies by H. A. Larsen (1936) and W. A. Berendsohn (1968); studies by V. Edström (1984) and B. Holm (1984).
Born Nov. 20, 1858, in Mårbacka; died there Mar. 16, 1940. Swedish writer; member of the Swedish Academy (1914).
Lagerlöf graduated from a pedagogic seminary in 1885. Her first novel, Gösta Berlings Saga (1891), combined realism in depicting the lives of the landed gentry and the peasantry with the traditions of folk fairy tales and legends. Many of her works juxtaposed a poeticized version of patriarchal life and fairy-tale romanticism to capitalist civilization—for example, the collections of novellas and legends Invisible Links (1894), The Queens of Kungahälla (1899), and Legends (1904) and the novella The Money of Mr. Arne (1904).
Lagerlöf’s work is permeated with humanistic feeling, but she seeks the resolution of the contradictions of the bourgeois world in moral and religious regeneration—for example, in the novels The Miracles of Antichrist (1897), Jerusalem (1901–02), and The Emperor of Portugallia, (1914). She also wrote the children’s book The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (1906–07), the historical trilogy The Ring of the Löwenskö lds (1925; Russian translation, 1972), Charlotte Löwenskö ld (1925), and Anna Svä rd (1928).
In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Lagerlöf decried international reaction and the threat of war. She received the Nobel Prize in 1909.
WORKSSkrifter [vols. 1–12]. Stockholm, 1935.
In Russian translation:
Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1–12. Moscow, 1909–11.
Dom Liliekrony. Moscow, 1916.
Troldy i liudi. Berlin, 1923.
Saga o leste Berlinge. Moscow, 1959.
[Novelly.] In Shvedskaia novella XIX-XX vv. Moscow, 1964.
Persten’Levenshel’dov. SharlottaLevenshel’d. Anna Sverd. Introductory article by L. Braude. Leningrad, 1972.
REFERENCESBrandes, G. “Zel’ma Lagerlef.” Sobr. soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, part 2. St. Petersburg [no date].
Wagner, E. Selma Lagerlöf. Stockholm, 1958.
Zamore, K. O. Selma Lagerlö f. Stockholm .
Lagerlöfstudier: Utgivna av Selma Lagerlöf-sdllskapet, vols. 1–2. Malrnö, 1958–61.
A. A. MATSEVICH