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The 99 Greatest Works of Nordic Literature

This list presents the literature of the Nordic countries, often glossed as Scandinavia by English speakers but more accurately termed Norden, which means "the North". Norden takes in the northern continental countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as the North Atlantic islands of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroes.

This list of the greatest Nordic literature is based on the ongoing research and surveys carried out over the past two decades for our flagship Greatest Literature of All Time list. But it also further sources the readers, writer, critics and scholars of Norden.

As new works are discovered and old works are reassessed, this list will evolve. Check back for updates.

Latest update: January 25, 2024

c. 1000–1300
The Poetic Edda
Anonymous
Iceland, long poem
c. 1100–1250
Volsungsaga
Anonymous
Iceland, long poem
c. 1200
The Prose Edda
SnorriSturlson
Iceland, novel
c. 1240
Egil's Saga
Anonymous
Iceland, novel
c. 1250
The Saga of Burnt Njal
Anonymous
Iceland, long poem
c. 1300–1400
The Saga of Grettir the Strong
Anonymous
Iceland, long poem
1829
The Rector of Veilbye
Steen Steensen Blicher
Denmark, novella
1867
Peer Gynt
Henrik Ibsen
Norway, play
1872
Fairy Tales and Stories
Hans Christian Andersen
Denmark, story collection
1876
Fru Marie Grubbe
Jens Peteer Jacobsen
Denmark, memoir
1879
A Doll's House
Henrik Ibsen
Norway, play
1879
The Red Room
August Strindberg
Sweden, novel
1882
An Enemy of the People
Henrik Ibsen
Norway, play
1884
The Wild Duck
Henrik Ibsen
Norway, play
1887
The People of Hemsö
August Strindberg
Sweden, novel
 
The Father
August Strindberg
Sweden, play
1889
Miss Julie
August Strindberg
Sweden, play
1891
Hedda Gabler
Henrik Ibsen
Norway, play
1892
Mysteries
Knut Hamsun
Norway, novel
1893
The Master Builder
Henrik Ibsen
Norway, play
1894
Pan
Knut Hamsun
Norway, novel
 
The Story of Gösta Berling
Selma Lagerlöf
Sweden, novel
1896
Inferno
August Strindberg
Sweden, novel
1898–1904
Lucky Per
Henrik Pontoppidan
Denmaark, novel
1898
To Damascus
August Strindberg
Denmark, Plays
1899
Hunger
Knut Hamsun
Norway, novel
1900–1901
The Fall of the King
Johannes V. Jensen
Denmark, novel
1902
A Dream Play
August Strindberg
Sweden, novel
1905
Doctor Glas
Hjalmar Söderberg
Sweden, novella
1906–1907
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils
Selma Lagerlöf
Sweden, novel
1908–1921
The Long Journey
Johannes V. Jensen
Denmark, novel
1912
The Serious Game
Hjalmar Söderberg
Sweden, novel
1913
By the Open Sea
August Strindberg
Sweden, novel
1914
The Emperor of Portugallia
Selma Lagerlöf
Sweden, novel
1917
Growth of the Soil
Knut Hamsun
Norway, novel
1920
Giants in the Earth
Ole Edvart Rolvaag
Norway, novel
1920–1922
Kristin Lavransdatter
Sigrid Undset
Norway, novel series
1927
The Snake Pit
Sigrid Undset
Norway, novel
1934
Seven Gothic Tales
Karen Blixen
Denmark, story collection
1934–1935
Independent People
Halldór Laxness
Iceland, novel
1935
Flowering Nettlea
Harry Martinson
Flowering Nettle, novel
1937
Out of Africa
Karen Blixen
Denmark, memoir
 
The Book-Dealer Who Ceased Bathing
Fritiof Nilsson Piraten
Sweden, novel
1940
Kallocain
Karin Boye
Sweden, novel
1941
Ride This Night
Vilhelm Moberg
Sweden, novel
1941–1945
The Long Ships
Frans G. Bengtsson
Sweden, novel
1942
Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen
Denmark, story collection
 
The Man Without a Way
Erik Lindegren
Sweden, poetry collection
1944
The Dwarf
Pär Lagerkvist
Sweden, novel
1945–1948
Pippi Longstocking
Astrid Lindgren
Sweden, novella series
1946
Return to Ithaca
Eyvind Johnson
Sweden, novel
1948
The Road to Klockrike
Harry Martinson
Sweden, novel
1949–1959
The Emigrants
Vilhelm Moberg
Sweden, novel series
Includes The Emigrants, Unto a Good Land, The Settlers, The Last Letter Home
1950
Barabbas
Pär Lagerkvist
Sweden, novel
1954
The Unknown Soldier
Väinö Linna
Finland, novel
 
Mio, My Son
Astrid Lindgren
Sweden, novella
1956
Aniara
Harry Martinson
Sweden, poem
1957
The Birds
Tarjei Vesaas
Norway, novel
1958
Anecdotes of Destiny
Isak Dinesen
Denmark, story collection
 
The Werewolf
Aksel Sandemose
Denmark, novel
1960
The Days of His Grace
Eyvind Johnson
Sweden, novel
 
City of My Dreams
Pers Ansers Fogelström
Sweden, novel
1960–1968
Stockholm
Pers Ansers Fogelström
Sweden, novel series
1961
Collected Poems
Nils Ferlin
Sweden, poetry collection
1962
Reconciliation
Väinö Linna
Finland, novel
1963
The Ice Palace
Tarjei Vesaas
Norway, novel
 
A Time on Earth
Vilhelm Moberg
Sweden, novel
1963–1970
Emil of Maple House
Astrid Lindgren
Sweden, novel series
1964
The Good Hope
William Heinesen
Faroe Islands, novel
 
From Hell to Paradise
Olof Lagercrantz
Sweden, novel
1967
The Manila Rope
Veijo Meri
Finland, novel
 
The New Short Stories
Johan Bergen
Norway, story collection
1967–1970
Slaves trilogy
Thorkild Hansen
Denmark, novel series
Includes Coast of Slaves, Ships of Slaves, Islands of Slaves
1968
The Laughing Policeman
Maj Sjöwall, Per Wahlöö
Sweden, novel
1969
Anna, I, Anna
Klaus Rifbjerg
Denmark, novel
1971
The Egyptian
Mika Waltari
Finland, novel
1972
The Summer Book
Tove Jansson
Finland, novella
1975
The Year of the Hare
Arto Paasilinna
Finland, novel series
1979
Wrarth's Children
Sara Lidman
Sweden, novel
1981
The House wth the Blind Glass Windows
Mario Vargas Llosa
Norway, novel
 
Samuel's Book
Sven Delblanc
Sweden, novel
 
Ronia, the Robber's Daughter
Astrid Lindgren
Sweden, novella
1982
After the Flood
P.C. Jersild
Sweden, novel
1983
The Christmas Oratorio
Göran Tunström
Sweden, novel
1985
Simon and the Oak Trees
Marianne Frederiksson
Sweden, novel
1986
The Dog
Kerstin Ekman
Sweden, novel
1987–1999
Bert diaries
Anders Jacobsson, Sören Olsson
Sweden, novel series
1989
For the Living and the Dead
Tomas Tranströmer
Sweden, poetry collection
1991
Butterfly Valley
Inger Christensen
Denmark, poetry collection
 
Sophie's World
Jostein Gaarder
Norway, novel
 
Faceless Killers
Henning Mankell
Sweden, novel
1992
Smilla's Sense of Snow
Peter Høeg
Denmark, novel
1993
Blackwater
Kerstin Ekman
Sweden, novel
2001
The Half Brother
Lars Saabye Christenson
Denmark, novel
2003
Out Stealing Horses
Per Petterson
Norway, novel
2004
The Book about Blanche and Marie
Per Olov Enquist
Sweden, novel
2005–2007
Stieg Larsson
Sweden, novel series
Includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
2007–2014
Andvake, Olavs Draumar, Kveldsvævd
Jon Fosse
Norway, novella series
2009
A Death in the Family
Karl Ove Knausgaard
Norway, memoir

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