Lagerlöf, Selma (sĕlˈmä läˈgərlöv) [key], 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).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.