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The Saga of Gösta Berling (1891)

by Selma Lagerlöf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,0702615,646 (3.83)1 / 136
På en gammel herregård i Värmland har en flok fantaster, kaldet kavalererne fra Ekeby, slået sig ned og fører under majorindens, husets frues beskyttelse, et vildt liv med druk og kvinder.
  1. 00
    The Phantom Carriage by Selma Lagerlöf (MikeMonkey)
    MikeMonkey: Samma magiska berättarglädje och ordkonst.

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» See also 136 mentions

English (17)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Gosta Berling is a pastor unfrocked because of his drunkenness but taken in by the wife of a major to join the cavaliers, a group of pensioned veterans she supports. The cavaliers take over the majoress's property and business for a year, believing she is in league with the devil.

I'm not sure whether the book was soporific or whether I was too tired to appreciate it properly, but it was a struggle to get through, and I really can't see what makes the author deserving of a Nobel prize for literature. ( )
  Robertgreaves | May 31, 2022 |
Unfortunately the english translation does not do this masterpiece justice. I think in general it's a superhard book to translate due to the storyline being heavily influenced by swedish mythology. A lot of the mystery and nostalgia connected to the mythological characters and themes sadly gets lost.

What makes this book so special is how the mythology is intertwined with the more realistic aspects of the book. It is beautifully done and makes it hard for the reader to separate what is real and what is not. Basically Lagerlöf takes the concept of the traditional "swedish saga" and transforms it into something new, thus blurring the line between the surreal and the real. ( )
  Sarahnmagnusson | Sep 12, 2017 |
These tales gather in sophistication. They seem almost crude at first.

My Penguin translation of 2011 seems to struggle to describe this work, and I do too. ‘Sweeping historical epic’, in the book description, won’t do for this interweave of stories, and if, like me, you look askance at the ‘string of women who fall under Gösta's spell’, you may, like me, yet be glad you pursued your curiosity nevertheless. The back of my book even sells it as ‘the Swedish Gone With the Wind’. Plot fiends who expect a Gone With the Wind ‘sweep’ are likely to be frustrated with these short episodes that focus on different people; and while the majority of tales have to do with love, they don’t add up to a grand romance. Rather they give viewpoints – women’s and men’s, sad, ecstatic, cynical or idealistic – and often operate with irony.

Trust Lagerlöf. First woman to win the Nobel. Lived as a lesbian (with a fellow writer) but the literary establishment presented her as a maiden aunt who told charming fairy tales. On the ways she had to let them ‘present’ her and her work, see this article: ‘Selma Lagerlöf: Surface and Depth’.


The eponymous hero is more an excuse to spin tales with, his counterweight being ‘the majoress’, in whom the author probably situates herself. There is psychological portrayal; it just does not reside in the ‘hero’. At times it resides in imagery, in the construction of the brief plots, or of course in whichever from the cast of persons steps forward for a particular tale. The book is notable for personifications, of animals and of an animist landscape. A bravura one is a flood, whose waters have their opportunity to wreak vengeance on humankind. Typically, this tale becomes diverted: another crosses its path and we follow that one instead; I never heard what happened with the flood. Often you hear, though, as if by chance interconnection in another tale.

Intriguing work. ( )
  Jakujin | Aug 30, 2017 |
Qualche bel passo ispirato, soprattutto nella prima parte, soprattutto nelle descrizioni dei paesaggi, ma non solo.
Ne intuisco l'importanza per capire la cultura scandinava (il pastore spretato ma virtuoso, l'innamorata fedifraga, la natura, la sentita fascinazione per il pantheon vichingo e greco antico su cui si innesta il laico sentire moderno di quelle terre, grazie alla marginalizzazione delle chiese), MA non è bastato a farmelo piacere.
E' stata anche colpa mia, avrei dovuto capire che non faceva per me e prestare ascolto a chi lo aveva già letto. ( )
  downisthenewup | Aug 17, 2017 |
A pleasant enough book about the adventures of Gosta Berling and his company of adventurers. Berling's amorous adventures retold. Other chapters had only a passing mention of Berling but were of the same time period. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (68 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lagerlöf, Selmaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bancroft Flach, PaulineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berf, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klaiber-Gottschau, PaulineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyboom, MargarethaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norlen, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoolfield, George C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinfeld, ThomasAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The minister at last stood in the pulpit.
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På en gammel herregård i Värmland har en flok fantaster, kaldet kavalererne fra Ekeby, slået sig ned og fører under majorindens, husets frues beskyttelse, et vildt liv med druk og kvinder.

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