Lagerlof (1858-1940) was a Swedish author and teacher who in 1909 became the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. First published in 1891, this was her debut novel which had been the winning entry in a competition in the Swedish magazine Idun the previous summer. Gosta Berling is a work of romanticism, a reaction against the realism prevalent in Swedish literature at the time from authors such as Strindberg, and it has been described as the "prose epic of Swedish country life". It is set in the early 19th century on the shores of Lake Fryken in Varmland where Lagerlof grew up, and draws on her love of the folk tales and stories she had heard as a child. Reprinted from the English translation of 1898.