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Gösta Berling's Saga

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,707 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
The first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature, Lagerlöf assured her place in Swedish letters with this 1891 novel. The eponymous hero, a country pastor whose appetite for alcohol and indiscretions ends his career, falls in with a dozen vagrant Swedish cavaliers and enters into a power struggle with the richest woman in the province.

The book has a Faustian theme
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 18th 2004 by Dover Publications (first published 1891)
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Best Scandinavian and Nordic Literature
84th out of 901 books — 921 voters
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The moon rose, and the loveliest time of night came.
The moon poured down her light from the pure blue
High arch of heaven over the leaves of the terrace.
At our feet a lily shivered in its urn;
And gold light rose from its chalice.
We had all come to sit on the stairs,
Both the old ones and young, silent
In order to let the emotions take up
The old tunes in the loveliest time of night.
I do not mourn for the stories told around the fire like those of previous generations do, for I was not the one who
Feb 19, 2016 Orient rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who would like to test themselves
Shelves: historical, awful
It was hard for me to judge the translation without knowing the book in the original. That's why I have to look at it as to any other book. And, what do I find:
1. effortlessly gloomy plot (some gothical spices to Scandinavia)
2. some black humour (hardly enough to change the situation to better)
3. mexican soap opera (Gosta, "the lord of love", the sinful former priest, wanders full of self-pity and gay (yep the biggest part of this book is overflooded with this word so beware, this word is infect
Dec 29, 2010 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of magical realism, fables & Victorian literature
Are the new caretakers of Ekeby twelve worthless drunks or twelve worthy, heroic figures fallen on hard times? By the novel's end, both possibilities seem true, and their leader is the most complicated of all the men--a young defrocked minister and lady's man named Gosta Berling. The men have made a contract with the devil in human form and have been granted the run of the Ekeby estate for a full year. Over the course of the year, Gosta experiences epic love no less than three times, and every m ...more
Apr 01, 2008 Erin rated it liked it
How Strikingly Beautiful He Was: A Review of Gosta Berling's Saga
The Varmland of Gosta Berling's Saga made me crave a word that would be in all ways synonymous with the word "exotic" except that the word I want would replace connotations of south tinged with oriental with connotations of north tinged with occidental. I'm not sure what exact location Western Culture can be given but it seems reasonable to posit that if it could be pinpointed Varmland would fall far enough north of there to quali
Aug 20, 2014 Virtuella rated it it was amazing
One of the most charming and intriguing books that I've read in a long time. Not exactly a novel, rather a collection of (sometimes closely, sometimes loosely) linked short stories; I've never seen anything quite like it. I loved the ambivalence of it, floating between folk tale and family anecdote, and how sometimes a later story would throw a different light on something that was said earlier. I enjoyed how various characters took centre stage in turn and appeared later as minor players in som ...more
Siri Wohrne
OMG JAG HAR LÄST UT DEN!!!!! Ett tag tvivlade jag faktiskt att jag skulle orka läsa klart den år 2015, haha.. Men det gjorde jag faktiskt, och det känns väldigt skönt och bra :D Så vad tyckte jag egentligen om Gösta Berlings saga? Tja så mycket kan jag säga att det lätt är årets största läsutmaningsprestation!

För varje kapitel är det som en ny berättelse, om nya personer och deras liv och öden. Att hålla reda på alla är ganska svårt bara det, och att komma in i den något sega handlingen med ett
La Légende de Gösta Berling est le premier livre de Selma Lagerlöf, lauréate du prix Nobel de littérature en 1909.
Écrite en 1891, La Légende de Gösta Berling est une épopée fantastique où se retrouve déjà tous les ingrédients qui ont fait le succès du Merveilleux Voyage de Nils Holgersson : mythes, nature, romantisme.

« Enfin, voilà le pasteur en chaire… Les paroissiens relevèrent la tête. Ah, ah, le voilà pourtant ! Il y aurait donc un service aujourd’hui : ce ne serait pas comme dimanche dernie
Lene Fogelberg
Dec 07, 2015 Lene Fogelberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
As a young girl growing up in Sweden, I loved to read Nobel laureate Lagerlöf, and I was captivated with her ability to weave mysticism into her stories. She often let the reader determine the driving force behind her story, and this was long before paranormal literature became the huge genre it is today. I remember wishing I could write like that, and I believe she was the one who taught me to trust the reader and to let readers interpret the story in their own way.
Sep 06, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Selma Lagerlof was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature so I have always been curious about her work but had never given it the time it deserved. The Saga of Gosta Berling one of her most well known works is an unexpected surprise-a series of morality tales with a heavy dose of magic realism.

The reader follows Gosta Berling a defrocked Minister-he leaves due to his requiring alcohol to avoid the poverty and starkness of his position to being saved by the Majoress and becoming on
Feb 22, 2016 Tuhkatriin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lemmikud
Oleksin võinud "Gösta Berlingi saaga" ikka varem kätte võtta küll (raamatuid, mille kohta võiksin sama väita, on muidugi terve müriaad), arvanuksin ma ainult, et see nii hea on. Kuid mul oli Gösta raamatust tekkinud millegipärast moondunud eelarvamuslik kujutelm: miskid joodikud-vanamehed, küllap mingi külajant, kaugel sealt vanade eesti kirjanike stiilgi on, Koidula näidendid näiteks ja muu taoline jamps. Eksisin täielikult.
"Gösta Berlingi saaga" oli täiesti lummav, suuremas osas vähemalt. Kuna
Oct 29, 2015 Conny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-fiction
"Die Saga von Gösta Berling" (1891) ist eine Zusammenstellung vieler kurzer, chronologisch zusammenhängender Geschichten, die in den 1820er Jahren in Värmland spielen. Untypisch für die Erscheinungszeit enthält die "Saga" (Schwedisch für "Märchen") viele eben märchenhafte Elemente; so wird ein Pakt mit dem Teufel geschlossen, oder der Protagonist verliebt sich alle paar Tage unsterblich - natürlich immer auf den ersten Blick. Konträr dazu treten viele starke Frauenfiguren auf, die sich gegen die ...more
Aldo Marchioni
Sep 10, 2015 Aldo Marchioni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first, I had an impression of a book for children, written in a childish style. My impression was, if I had grandchildren, I could read this book at bedtime.
However, as the reading was progressing, maybe I was getting used to the style, maybe the subject of the tales that, put together, make the novel, were growing more "adult", I felt in love whit this book.
All the time it is in somewhere between reality, fantasy, magic, fairy tale ...
Some hundred years later, somebody invented the expressi
This book is a great work of art from many readers’ points of view. Probably it is, but one should probably be somewhat suspicious when a Swedish author received a Nobel Prize, awarded by a Swedish committee consisting of privileged academics. I grew up hearing about this book, and, coincidentally, my grandmother came from Värmland, the setting of the book. For decades I had ignored this work so its time had come—or so I thought. Well, as it turned out, I should have resisted longer.

This is not
Andrei Turcu
Mar 04, 2014 Andrei Turcu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I am new to this author, motivated by her Nobel prize won. I had high expectations on this novel and they were met from the first pages. I admit it was harder to understand that it is a fictional book with a fictional story (what am I talking... most books are fictional). This author really has a strong imagination! The novel can be regarded as well as a collection of short stories connected between them. It is also hard to fit this work into a certain genre, it has romance, fantasy, magic even ...more
A. J. McMahon
Dec 10, 2015 A. J. McMahon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this novel, so maybe it reads better in the original Swedish, or it might be that I just couldn't get into the cultural mind-set of late nineteenth century Sweden, but I came to greatly dislike this book long before I managed to get to the end of it. The book begins with Gosta Berling being defrocked as a minister due to him being a drunkard. The book continues with a succession of chapters, which constitute more a series of short stories than th ...more
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Mar 10, 2015 Ieva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read recently. Well written, easy to read and holds some kind of goodness and kindness inside it. There weren't many books that changes my point of view, but this one, surprisingly, did. I strongly recommend it to everyone that likes romantic literature.
Feb 25, 2015 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently being Swedish and not having heard of Selma Lagerlöf would be like not having heard of Charles Dickens in the anglophone world but she remains a bit less known over here.

This novel, her first, was written in the late 19th century and set in the early 19th in the region of Värmland, during its brief era of prosperity as a source of iron ore. Lagerlöf writes in a rather "fantastic" style somewhat at odds with the sometimes grim naturalism of the period (Zola et al. in France, Hamsun in
Scott Cox
Selma Lagerlof was the first woman Nobel laureate. The story of "Gosta Berling's Saga" is an excellent example of why she won the Nobel prize. It is a story of Swedish community, of faith in man and in God; albeit the story is embedded with Lagerlof's warm sense of humor. To give but one example of her humor, "Once she came to her brother, curtsied, and asked, 'Will my brother say how the cows are to be placed in the shed?' 'Place twelve on the left and eleven on the right; they will not be crow ...more
Emma Lindhagen
Dec 28, 2014 Emma Lindhagen rated it really liked it
Shelves: swedish, classics
This book is a true Swedish classic, the kind I'd read bits and pieces of in school but not read fully. It is a wonderful tale, written in the old-fashioned romantic style ripe with flowery descriptions of nature and strong opinions told to the reader on the morality, or lack thereof, of the various characters. It's always a bit odd to read things written in such a different time, but I enjoyed it a lot all the same. The stories were interesting, the characters fun and vividly described and I fi ...more
Nov 27, 2008 Manny rated it really liked it

Larger-than-life Swedish epic, with some great images. Not sure how well her beautiful poetic Swedish translates though - maybe this is why the book is virtually unknown in English.
Apr 06, 2016 Shay rated it it was ok
The vignettes are interesting, but the book suffers from a dull translation, making it hard to read and get into.
Sean Kottke
Jun 26, 2015 Sean Kottke rated it really liked it
I'm pleasantly surprised to see storytelling tropes that I've associated with beloved 20th century Scandinavian film narratives like Smiles of a Summer Night, Fanny and Alexander and Pelle the Conqueror have roots running back to this 19th century cornerstone of Swedish national literature - beloved eccentrics, alazons, compassion for human foibles, and an ultimate acknowledgement that life is beautiful amidst its uglier aspects. There's a Faust story that pulls the whole shaggy story of the fal ...more
Lina Söderberg
Jul 17, 2015 Lina Söderberg rated it did not like it
Orkar inte ens läsa klart. Så himla tråkig.
Philip Lane
Dec 23, 2014 Philip Lane rated it liked it
I am not sure that I can do this book justice having just ploughed my way through a free electronic version littered with typographical errors and I suspect not a particularly good translation. I felt frustrated that I really was not getting to know Gosta Berlinger very well. Everyone seemed to think he was a splendid chap but I felt that we never got to see why they thought that. It appeared to me more like a series of tales about Varmland, a small area in Sweden. I found it in testing to read ...more
Feb 02, 2016 annik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Я пала ниц пред Лагерлёф, которой удалось завлечь меня в сети истории об отрешенном пастыре аж на три недели. Я отчаянно петляла среди имен, родственных связей и поместий, но кто говорил, что будет просто? Религия сквозит в повествовании, а в конце у героя так вообще наступает что-то вроде катарсиса, он нашел свой путь и все такое. А ведь так все заманчиво начиналось!

Жил-был Йёста Берлинг, такой весь из себя нерадивый пастор-алкаш, которого отрешили от сана, после чего он стал кавалером при майо
I liked Selma Lagerlof's "Gosta Berling's Saga" but I didn't exactly love it. The book has a very folk tale feel to it -- which I both liked and disliked.

The story mostly centers on Gosta Berling, a defrocked priest who has a love for brandy and the cast of cavaliers who surround him.

The folk tales were fairly interesting and had good, solid stories to them, However, the characters felt sort of cardboard to me, so it made the book a slow read since I really didn't connect with me.
Thom Swennes
Mar 21, 2013 Thom Swennes rated it liked it
I started this book with high expectations. Maybe I set the bar a little too high as it seems like I was missing things and was continually re-reading passages to clear away the fog of confusion. The Swedish novel The Story of Gösta Berling’s Saga was first published in 1891 and its author Selma Langerlöf was the first female winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909. I thought Margarita Samzelius was a bit naïve and too good for her husband. I felt sorry for Marienne Sinclaire and Countes ...more
Oct 12, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
I found this a very hard book to form an opinion of. Lagerlöf's novel reminds me in no way of any other book I've ever read other than the old Icelandic sagas (hence the title, I suppose), but because it's written many centuries after that, its style also involves some lyrical elements and the story is set in another age.
I could appreciate Lagerlöf's courage and originality to publish a work like this in her day and age, but neither her writing style, nor the story by itself impressed me all tha
Mar 15, 2016 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Z knihy, kterou jsem četla jako středoškolačka, jsem si pamatovala pouze obraz, jak se Gösta Berling někde brodí hlubokým sněhem... :-) Nevím, proč zrovna tohle, když je kniha plná pestrých příběhů - někdy vtipných, ale většinou smutných, tragických a taky strašidelných až nadpřirozených. Teď bych se klidně pustila do knihy s názvem Gösta Berling II ;-)
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Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf was a Swedish author. In 1909 she became the first woman to ever receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, "in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings". She later also became the first female member of the Swedish Academy.

Born in the forested countryside of Sweden she was told many of the classic Swed
More about Selma Lagerlöf...

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“Have you ever seen a child sitting on its mother’s knee listening to fairy stories? As long as the child is told of cruel giants and of the terrible suffering of beautiful princesses, it holds its head up and its eyes open; but if the mother begins to speak of happiness and sunshine, the little one closes its eyes and falls asleep with its head against her breast. . . . I am a child like that, too. Others may like stories of flowers and sunshine; but I choose the dark nights and sad destinies.” 33 likes
“Fjärilar skola veta att dö medan solen skiner.” 5 likes
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