Selma Lagerlöf

Selma Lagerlöf (Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf, 20 November 1858 – 16 March 1940) was a Swedish writer.

She received her education at home and later, against her father’s will, completed her studies to become a teacher at the Royal Women’s Teaching Academy in Stockholm. She then worked as a schoolteacher at a high school for girls, from 1885 to 1895. In 1894, she met her lifelong friend, the Swedish-Jewish writer Sophie Elkan, with whom she fell in love. In 1895, she gave up her teaching to devote herself to writing, and traveled to Italy and Palestine together with Sophie. In 1907, she received the degree of doctor of letters from Uppsala University, and, in 1928, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Greifswald.

Lagerlöf was active as a speaker for the National Association for Women’s Suffrage in Sweden, and spoke at the International Suffrage Congress in Stockholm in June 1911.  During World War II, she sent her Nobel Prize medal to the government of Finland to help. She also intervened with the Swedish royal family to secure asylum for the German-Jewish writer Nelly Sachs and Sachs’ mother during Nazism in Germany.


  • Nobel Prize for Literature (1909)
  • In 1914, Lagerlöf was the first woman to become a member of the Swedish Academy


In English

  • Gösta Berling’s Saga, tr. Lillie Tudeer (1898. Original: Gösta Berlings saga, 1891)
    • Also: The Story of Gösta Berling, tr. Pauline Bancroft Flach (1898)
  • Invisible Links, tr. Pauline Bancroft Flach (1899. Original: Osynliga länkar,1894)
  • The Miracles of Antichrist: a novel, tr. Selma Ahlström Trotz (1899. Original: Antikrists mirakler, 1897)
    • Also: The Miracles of Antichrist, tr Pauline Bancroft Flach (1899)
  • The Queens of Kungahälla and Other Sketches From a Swedish Homestead, tr. Jessie Bröchner (1901. Original: Drottningar i Kungahälla, 1899)
  • The Tale of a Manor and Other Sketches, tr. C. Field (1922. Original: En herrgårdssägen,1899)
  • Jerusalem, tr. Jessie Bröchner (1903. Original: Jerusalem : två berättelser. 1, I Dalarne,1901)
    • Also: Jerusalem: a novel, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1915)
  • Herr Arne’s Hoard, tr. Arthur G. Chater (1923. Original: Herr Arnes penningar,1903)
    • Also: Herr Arne’s Hoard, tr. Philip Brakenridge (1952)
    • The Treasure, tr. Arthur G. Chater (1925)
  • The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1907. Original: Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige, 1906–07)
    • Also:  Further Adventures of Nils, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1911)
    • The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, tr. Richard E. Oldenburg (1967)
  • Christ Legends and Other Stories, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1908. Original: Kristuslegender, 1904)
    • Also: The Emperor’s Vision and other Christ Legends, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (2002)
  • The Girl From the Marsh Croft, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1910. Original: En saga om en saga och andra sagor, 1908)
    • Also: Girl From the Marsh Croft and Other Stories, selected and edited by Greta Anders (1996)
  • Liliecrona’s Home, tr. Anna Barwell (1913. Original: Liljecronas hem, 1911)
  • Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness!, tr. William Frederick Harvey (1921. Original: Körkarlen, 1912)
  • The Emperor of Portugallia, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1916. Original: Kejsarn av Portugallien,1914)
  • The Changeling, tr. Susanna Stevens (1992. Original: Troll och Människor, 1915)
  • The Outcast, tr. W. W. Worster (1920. Original: Bannlyst,1918)
  • Mårbacka: the Story of a Manor, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1924. Original: Mårbacka, 1922)
    • Also: Memories of Marbacka, tr. Greta Andersen (1996)
  • The Ring trilogy:
    • The Ring of the Löwenskölds, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1931. Original: Löwensköldska ringen, 1925)
      • Also: The Löwensköld Ring, tr. Linda Schenck (1991)
      • The General’s Ring, tr. Francesca Martin (1928)
    • Charlotte Löwensköld, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1927. Original: Charlotte Löwensköld, 1925)
    • Anna Svärd, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1931. Original: Anna Svärd, 1928)
  • The Holy City: Jerusalem II, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1918. Original: Jerusalem : två berättelser. 2, I det heliga landet, 1902)
  • Memories of My Childhood: Further Years at Marbacka, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1934. Original: Ett barns memoarer: Mårbacka,1930)
  • Harvest, tr. Florence and Naboth Hedin (1935. Original: Höst, 1933)
  • The Diary of Selma Lagerlöf, tr. Velma Swanston Howard (1936. Original: Dagbok för Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf, 1932)

In Swedish

  • Gösta Berlings saga, 2 vol., 1891
  • Osynliga länkar: berättelser, 1894
  • Antikrists mirakler: roman, 1897
  • Drottningar i Kungahälla, jämte andra berättelser, 1899
  • En herrgårdssägen, 1899
  • Jerusalem: två berättelser. 1, I Dalarne: berättelse, 1901
  • Jerusalem: två berättelser. 2, I det heliga landet, 1902
  • Kristuslegender, 1904
  • Herr Arnes penningar: berättelse, 1904
  • Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige, 2 vol., 1906–1907
  • En saga om en saga och andra sagor, 1908
  • Meli: berättelse, 1909
  • Liljecronas hem: roman, 1911
  • Körkarlen: berättelse, 1912
  • Tösen från Stormyrtorpet och andra sagor, 1913
  • Astrid och andra berättelser, 1914
  • Dunungen: lustspel i fyra akter, 1914
  • Kejsarn av Portugallien: en värmlandsberättelse, 1914
  • Stenen i sjön Rottnen: berättelse, 1914
  • Silvergruvan och andra berättelser, 1915
  • Troll och människor, 1915
  • Bannlyst: en berättelse, 1918
  • Ingmarssönerna: berättelse, 1918
  • Kavaljersnoveller, 1918
  • Mårbacka, 1922
  • Löwensköldska ringen, 1925
  • Charlotte Löwensköld, 1925
  • Anna Svärd, 1928
  • Mors porträtt och andra berättelser, 1930
  • Ett barns memoarer: Mårbacka 2, 1930
  • Dagbok: Mårbacka III, 1932
  • Höst: berättelser och tal, 1933
  • Gösta Berlings saga: skådespel i fyra akter med prolog och epilog efter romanen med samma namn, 1936
  • Julberättelser, 1938
  • Från skilda tider: efterlämnade skrifter, 2 vol., 1943–1945
  • Du lär mig att bli fri: Selma Lagerlöf skriver till Sophie Elkan / urval och kommentarer av Ying Toijer–Nilsson, 1992
  • Mammas Selma: Selma Lagerlöfs brev till modern / redigering och kommentarer av Ying Toijer–Nilsson, 1998
  • En riktig författarhustru: Selma Lagerlöf skriver till Valborg Olander, 2006

About her

  • Selma Lagerlöf: Her Life and Work, by Walter A., Berendsohn, adapted from the German by George F. Timpson (1931)
  • Fact and Fiction in the Autobiographical Works of Selma Lagerlof, by Folkerdina Stientje de Vrieze (1958)
  • Selma Lagerlöf, by Vivi Edström, translated by Barbara Lide (1984)
  • Swedish Novelist Selma Lagerlöf, 1858-1940, and Germany at the Turn of the Century: O du Stern ob meinem Garten, by Jennifer Watson (2004)

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