Cover art by Mary Hamilton Frye (1936)
|Original title||Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige|
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (orig. Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige; literally Nils Holgersson's wonderful journey across Sweden) is a work of fiction by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature. It was originally published in two books, 1906 and 1907, and was first published in English as The Wonderful Adventures of Nils in 1907 and Further Adventures of Nils in 1911. The two parts are usually published together, in English as The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, but that name may also refer to the first part alone.
Selma Lagerlöf, like many leading Swedish intellectuals of her time, was an advocate of Swedish spelling reform. When published in 1906, this book was one of the first to adopt the new spelling mandated by a government resolution on April 7, 1906 (see Svenska Akademiens Ordlista).
The background for publication was a commission from the National Teachers Association in 1902 to write a geography reader for the public schools. "She devoted three years to Nature study and to familiarizing herself with animal and bird life. She has sought out hitherto unpublished folklore and legends of the different provinces. These she has ingeniously woven into her story." (From translator Velma Swanston Howard's introduction.)
The book is about a young lad, Nils Holgersson, whose "chief delight was to eat and sleep, and after that he liked best to make mischief". He takes great delight in hurting the animals in his family farm. Nils captures a tomte in a net while his family are at church and have left him home to memorize chapters from the Bible. The tomte proposes to Nils that if Nils frees him, the tomte will give him a huge gold coin. Nils rejects the offer and the tomte turns Nils into a tomte, which leaves him shrunken and able to talk with animals, who are thrilled to see the boy reduced to their size and are angry and hungry for revenge. While this is happening, wild geese are flying over the farm on one of their migrations, and Martin, the farm's white goose attempts to join the wild ones. In an attempt to salvage something before his family returns, Nils holds on to Martin's neck as he successfully takes off and joins the wild birds.
The wild geese, who are not pleased at all to be joined by a boy and a domestic goose, eventually take them on an adventurous trip across all the historical provinces of Sweden observing in passing their natural characteristics and economic resources. At the same time the characters and situations he encounters make him a man: the domestic goose needs to prove his ability to fly like the experienced wild geese, and Nils needs to prove to the geese that he would be a useful companion, despite their initial misgivings. During the trip, Nils learns that if he proves he has changed for the better, the tomte might be disposed to change him back to his normal size.
The book also includes various subplots, concerning people and animals whose lives are touched in one way or another by Nils and the wild geese. For example, one chapter centers on a provincial man who feels lonely and alienated in the capital Stockholm, is befriended by a nice old gentleman who tells him (and the reader) about the city's history - and only later finds that it was none other than the King of Sweden, walking incognito in the park.
The book was criticized for the fact that the goose and boy don't make any stop in the province Halland. In chapter 53 they fly over Halland on the way back to Scania, but they aren't impressed by the sight and they don't stop. However, such a chapter has been added to some translations of the book. In depictions Nils is usually wearing a red cap, although this is erroneous as he is described in the original Swedish edition as wearing a white cap.
This section follows the English-language translation by Velma Swanston Howard, originally published in 1907 and 1911 as The Wonderful Adventures of Nils and Further Adventures of Nils. The Howard text is that of many later publications that contain the original illustrations, new illustrations, or none at all.
Howard's first volume contains 21 chapters. Swedish-language chapter titles listed here are identical to those of the 21 chapters in the original volume one (1906).
|1||The Boy ("Pojken")||Västra Vemmenhög, around seven kilometres south (and today part) of Skurup||Scania|
|2||Akka from Kebnekaise ("Akka från Kebnekajse")||Vombsjön||Scania|
|3||The Wonderful Journey of Nils ("Vildfågelsliv")||Vittskövle Castle, Övedskloster Manor||Scania|
|4||Glimminge Castle ("Glimmingehus")||Glimmingehus||Scania|
|5||The Great Crane Dance on Kullaberg ("Den stora trandansen på Kullaberget")||Kullaberg||Scania|
|6||In Rainy Weather ("I regnväder")||Blekinge|
|7||The Staircase with the Three Steps ("Trappan med de tre trappstegen")||Blekinge archipelago||Blekinge|
|8||By Ronneby River ("Vid Ronneby Å")||Ronneby||Blekinge|
|10||The Trip to Öland ("Resa till Öland")||Kalmar Strait||between Öland and Småland|
|11||Öland's Southern Point ("Ölands södra udde")||Southern tip of Öland, Ottenby||Öland|
|12||The Big Butterfly ("Den stora fjärilen")||Öland, Stora Alvaret||Öland|
|13||Little Karl's Island ("Lilla Karlsö")||Lilla Karlsö||Gotland|
|14||Two Cities ("Två städer")||Vineta, Visby||Gotland|
|15||The Legend of Småland ("Sagan om Småland")||Tjust||Småland|
|16||The Crows ("Kråkorna")||Sunnerbo härad||Småland|
|17||The Old Peasant Woman ("Den gamla bondkvinnan")||Småland|
|18||From Taberg to Huskvarna ("Från Taberg till Huskvarna")||Taberg, Jönköping, Huskvarna||Småland|
|19||The Big Bird Lake ("Den stora fågelsjön")||Tåkern, Omberg||Östergötland|
|20||Ulvåsa-Lady ("Spådomen")||Tåkern, Omberg, Vadstena Abbey, Motala, Finspång, Norrköping||Östergötland|
|21||Vadmalsvåden ("The Homespun Cloth")||Östergötland|
Howard's second volume contains 22 chapters numbered 1 to 22, where the original volume two (1907) contains 34 chapters numbered 22 to 55. Swedish-language chapter titles listed here are identical to those of 22 among the 34 original chapters. Chapter titles 6 to 18 match original chapter titles 36 to 48.
Howard cut some chapters entirely and abridged others. Some provinces are not featured in the Howard translation, including Dalarna, which is visited in four original chapters (29 to 32).
|1||The Story of Karr and Grayskin ("Karrs och Gråfälls saga")||Kolmården||Östergötland, Södermanland|
|2||The Wind Witch ("I Närke")||Örebro||Närke|
|3||The Breaking Up Of The Ice ("Islossningen")||Hjälmaren||Närke|
|4||Thumbietot and the Bears ("Järnverket")||Västmanland|
|5||The Flood ("Översvämmningen")||Mälaren||Uppland|
|6||Dunfin ("Dunfin")||Mälaren, Stockholm archipelago||Uppland|
|7||Stockholm ("Stockholm")||Stockholm, Skansen||Uppland|
|8||Gorgo, the Eagle ("Gorgo, örnen")|
|9||On Over Gästrikland ("Fram över Gästrikland")||Gästrikland|
|10||A Day in Hälsingland ("En dag i Hälsingland")||Delsbo||Hälsingland|
|11||In Medelpad ("I Medelpad")||Sundsvall, Alnön island||Medelpad|
|12||A Morning in Ångermanland ("En morgon i Ångermanland")||Ångermanland|
|13||Westbottom and Lapland ("Västerbotten och Lappland")||Västerbotten, Lapland (Sweden)|
|14||Osa, the Goose Girl, and Little Mats ("Åsa gåsapiga och lille MatsOsa, the Goose Girl, and Little Mats")||Malmberget||Lapland|
|15||With the Laplanders ("Hos lapparna")||Kiruna Municipality||Lapland, Sápmi|
|16||Homeward Bound ("Mot söder! Mot söder!")||Östersund||Jämtland|
|17||Legends from Härjedalen ("Sägner från Härjedalen")||Sonfjället National Park||Härjedalen|
|18||Vermland and Dalsland ("Värmland och Dalsland")||Klarälven, Fryken||Värmland, Dalsland|
|19||The Treasure on the Island ("Skatten på skäret")||Fjällbacka, Väderöarna||Bohuslän|
|20||The Journey to Vemmenhög ("Resa till Vemmenhög")||Falköping, Bosjökloster, Ringsjön||Halland, Scania|
|21||Home at Last ("Hos Holger Nilssons")||Scania|
|22||The Parting with the Wild Geese ("Avsked från vildgässen")||Smygehuk||Scania|
A Soviet traditionally animated feature film called The Enchanted Boy (Russian : Заколдо́ванный ма́льчик, Zakoldovannyy Malchik) was released in 1955. It was directed by Vladimir Polkovnikov and Aleksandra Snezhko-Blotskaya and produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow.
Adventures of Nils Holgersson (Nils Holgerssons underbara resa) was released in 1962. It was shot primarily from helicopters, simplifying and downplaying the drama of the plot. It was directed by Kenne Fant.
An anime adaptation (ニルスのふしぎな旅 Nirusu no Fushigi na Tabi) consisting of fifty-two 25-minute episodes was broadcast on NHK from January 8, 1980—March 17, 1981. The anime was also broadcast:
In some countries it was cut to allow for commercials. The anime was the very first production by Studio Pierrot (Mamoru Oshii was a director on the series). The anime was mostly fairly true to the original, apart from the appearance of Nils' pet hamster, and the greater role allowed to the fox Smirre.
In Germany, the animated series episodes were also combined into one full feature animated movie (~ 1h 22min in length) in 1981; the same release has also been dubbed and released in Estonia on DVD & VHS and in Greece on DVD. In Germany, the anime was also adapted into a comic book series, with the drawings made by the Spanish Studio Interpubli, and the German Atelier Roche.
German TV broadcaster ARD premiered a live-action two-part adaptation starring Justus Kammerer as Nils and directed by Dirk Regel on Christmas 2011.Its total running time is 230 minutes. This version uses a mix of real animals, puppets, and CGI for the geese and other animals.
In 2017, a 3D CGI-based TV Series adaptation was released by French Studio 100 Animation.The release consists of 52 episodes, 13 minutes each.
In the 1960s the Israeli children's weekly "Etz'beoni" (אצבעוני) run a long lasting Hebrew comic strip version, loosely based on the Swedish original, where the protagonist's name was changed to "Gil" (גיל) and the location transferred to the Israeli countryside.
On June 4, 2019, the sports section of Yediot Aharonot depicted the footballer Maor Buzaglo, who repeatedly moves from one club to another, as Nils riding a wild goose
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is so well known in Swedish culture that a picture of Nils Holgersson, on the back of a goose flying over the plains of Scania, was printed on the reverse side of the Swedish 20 krona banknote until new bills came in use in 2015.
Nils is also depicted in the logo of the digital map company Tele Atlas.
The sights Nils sees as he and his goose roam the provinces of Sweden are depicted in a series of Christmas plates produced by Rörstrand Pottery. The series began in 1970 and continued until 1999, the plates illustrate the topography, architecture, industry, and wildlife of Sweden.
Lev Grossman's fantasy novel The Magicians includes numerous allusions to earlier works such as The Narnia Series and the Harry Potter books. The influence of Nils Holgersen is evident in a key episode where a class of students nearing graduation from a School of Magic are set a major test: to be transformed into wild geese and undertake an epic flight, all the way from Upper New York State to Antarctica.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Nils Holgersson's Journey Across Sweden .|
Svenska Akademiens ordlista, abbreviated SAOL, is a glossary published every few years by the Swedish Academy. It is a single volume that is considered the final arbiter of Swedish spelling. Traditionally it carries the motto of the Swedish Academy, Snille och Smak, on its blue cloth cover.
Contemporary fantasy, also known as modern fantasy or indigenous fantasy, is a subgenre of fantasy, set in the present day or, more accurately, the time period of the maker. It is perhaps most popular for its subgenre, urban fantasy.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1906.
Charles Gilman Norris was an American novelist. A native of Chicago, Norris worked as a journalist for some years before finding success as a novelist and playwright. His first book was The Amateur (1916). His other novels include Salt (1919), Brass: A Novel of Marriage (1921), Bread (1923), Pig Iron (1926), Seed: A Novel of Birth Control (1930), Zest (1933), Hands (1935), and Flint (1944). He also published three plays: The Rout of the Philistines, A Gest of Robin Hood, and Ivanhoe: A Grove Play (1936).
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is an anime adaptation of the 1906 novel The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf. The 52 episode series ran on the Japanese network NHK from January 1980 to March 1981. The series was the first production by Pierrot. The anime was mostly fairly true to the original, apart from the appearance of Nils' pet hamster, and the greater role allowed to the fox Smirre. The music was written by Czech composer Karel Svoboda while Yukihide Takekawa provided the soundtrack for its original Japanese broadcast and other countries.
Swedish realism is the period in Swedish literature that encompassed the last two decades of the 19th century. It is generally considered to have ended in the 1910s but the exact year is a matter of debate.
The Enchanted Boy is a 1955 Soviet/Russia traditionally animated feature film directed by Vladimir Polkovnikov and Aleksandra Snezhko-Blotskaya. The film is an adaptation of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf. It was produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow.
Nils is a Scandinavian given name, a chiefly Norwegian, Danish and Swedish variant of Niels, cognate to Nicholas. Female variants are Nilsine, Nilsina, and Nilsa.
The Nils Holgersson Plaque is an award given by Swedish Library Association. It was established in 1950, and named for the book The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf. It is an annual award given to the author of the best children's or young people's book in the Swedish language.
Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf was a Swedish author and teacher. She published her first novel, Gösta Berling's Saga, at the age of 33. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, which she was awarded in 1909. Additionally, she was the first woman to be granted a membership in the Swedish Academy in 1914.
Anna Svärd is a 1928 novel by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf. It is the last installment in Lagerlöf's Ring trilogy, where it follows The Löwensköld Ring and Charlotte Löwensköld.
The Emperor of Portugallia is a novel by Nobel-laureate Selma Lagerlöf, published in 1914 with drawings by Albert Engström. Lagerlöf called it a "Swedish King Lear". The novel was a success with critics and readers, newspaper reviewers said the novel was at the same level as Lagerlöf's earlier novels Gösta Berling's Saga and the first part of Jerusalem. It has been filmed three times: 1925, 1944 and 1992. An English translation by Velma Swanston Howard was published in 1916.
The Girl from the Marsh Croft is a 1908 novella by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf. The story has been adapted numerous times for film.
Charlotte Löwensköld is a 1925 novel by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf. It is the second installment in Lagerlöf's Ring trilogy, or The Ring of the Löwenskölds. Thus it follows The Löwensköld Ring and is followed by Anna Svärd.
Adventures of Nils Holgersson is a 1962 Swedish film directed by Kenne Fant. It is based on the novel The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf. It was entered into the 3rd Moscow International Film Festival.
Kerttu Maarit Kirsti Vuolab is a Finnish Sámi author, illustrator, translator and songwriter, who has made it her life mission to ensure that the Sámi oral tradition, language and culture are passed on to future generations of Sámi through multiple media types. Her works have been translated into other Sámi languages such as Inari and Skolt Sámi as well as non-Sámi languages such as Swedish, Finnish, and English.
Alexandra Gavrilovna Snezhko-Blotskaya was a Soviet animated film director. She was a longtime collaborator with Ivan Ivanov-Vano.
Harold Heartt Foley was an early twentieth-century American painter, collagist and illustrator.
Irina Petrovna Tokmakova was a Soviet and Russian writer of children's books, a poet, playwright, and a translator of classic children's literature into Russian. Her translations of Tove Jansson, Astrid Lindgren and Kenneth Grahame's works were particularly renowned. She was a laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation for children's literature, and the Alexander Grin literary prize.
Thekla Hammar was a Swedish-French lexicographer and translator. Often working in collaboration with Marthe Metzger, Hammar translated work by the Swedish writers Selma Lagerlöf, Knut Hagberg, Johan Nordström and Eyvind Johnson into French. Hammar and Metzger also collaborated on translations of the Norwegian writer Sigrid Undset and the Danish writer Herman Bang. Hammar, teaching at a lycee in France, stayed in the country after World War I broke out in 1914.