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Definition: Lagerlöf, Selma from Philip's Encyclopedia

Swedish novelist. Her lyrical work Story of Gösta Berling (1891) became immensely popular. A visit to Palestine inspired her greatest novel, Jerusalem (1901). In 1909 she became the first Swedish writer to receive the Nobel Prize in literature.


Summary Article: Lagerlöf, Selma Ottiliana Lovisa
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Swedish novelist. Her first work was the romantic historical novel Gösta Berling's saga/The Story of Göst Berling (1891). The children's fantasy Nils Holgerssons underbara resa/The Wonderful Voyage of Nils Holgersson (1906–07) grew from her background as a schoolteacher. She was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1909.

Her other works include Osynliga länkar/Invisible Links (1894), Antikrists mirakler/The Miracles of Antichrist (1897), Herr Arnes penningar/Herr Arne's Hoard (1904), Jerusalem (1901–02), Bannlyst/The Outcast (1918), Löwensköldska ringen/The Ring of Löwenskölds (1925), and Dagbok/The Diary of Selma Lagerlöf (1932).

She was born in Mårbacka, Värmland, and taught in Landskrona 1885–95, but in 1890 received a prize from a magazine for some chapters of Gösta Berling's saga and began writing in earnest after 1895. In her first, as in all her best work, there is a combination of past and present, myth and reality, faith and uncertainty, which made her books very popular. She was the first woman to be elected a member of the Swedish Academy in 1914.

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