Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-cjp7w Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-22T11:03:08.628Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Larsson, Remade: A Computational Perspective on the Millennium Trilogy in English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2024


Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy is part of a global hypercanon of popular fiction and thus a major commercial enterprise. In the translation of these works, the author and translator are joined by a host of shadowy figures—the source language publisher, scouts, literary agents, target language publishers, editors, and proofreaders—who transform the texts for a particular readership. This essay connects the market-oriented metamorphosis of paratext with substantial alterations to literary content itself. It is based on a computational study of the novels in Swedish and English that singled out major alterations to paragraph meaning and length across the three novels. The study showed that about 6.3% of the paragraphs have been cut or shortened by at least 30%. These extensive changes reveal a process of creative remaking, in which published works become raw content to be reshaped by commercial expectations and the demands of high production speed.

Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Modern Language Association of America

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Works Cited

Acocella, Joan. “Man of Mystery: Why Do People Love Stieg Larsson's Novels?” The New Yorker, 2 Jan. 2011, Scholar
Allison, Sarah. Reductive Reading: A Syntax of Victorian Moralizing. Johns Hopkins UP, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Åström, Berit, et al., editors. Rape in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and Beyond: Contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone Crime Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berglund, Karl. “Crime Fiction and the International Publishing Industry.” Cambridge Companion to World Crime Fiction, edited by Gulddal, Jesper et al., Cambridge UP, 2022, pp. 2445.Google Scholar
Berglund, Karl. “Genres at Work: A Holistic Approach to Genres in Book Publishing.” European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 24, no. 3, 2021, pp. 757–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berglund, Karl. “A Turn to the Rights: The Advent and Impact of Swedish Literary Agents.” Hype: Bestsellers and Literary Culture, edited by Helgason, Jon et al., Nordic Academic Press, 2014, pp. 6788.Google Scholar
Berglund, Karl. “With a Global Market in Mind: Agents, Authors, and the Dissemination of Contemporary Swedish Crime Fiction.” Crime Fiction as World Literature, edited by Nilsson, Louise et al., Bloomsbury Academic, 2017, pp. 7789.Google Scholar
Bergman, Kerstin. Swedish Crime Fiction: The Making of Nordic Noir. Mimesis International, 2014.Google Scholar
Bode, Katherine. Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field. Anthem Press, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bode, Katherine. A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History. U of Michigan P, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Broomé, Agnes. “The Exotic North; or, How Marketing Created the Genre of Scandinavian Crime.” True North: Literary Translation in the Nordic Countries, edited by Epstein, B. J., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, pp. 269–82.Google Scholar
Coldiron, A. E. B. Printers without Borders: Translation and Textuality in the Renaissance. Cambridge UP, 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
English, James F.Everywhere and Nowhere: The Sociology of Literature after ‘the Sociology of Literature.’” New Literary History, vol. 41, no. 2, Johns Hopkins UP, 2010, pp. vxxiii.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
English, James F., and Ted Underwood. “Shifting Scales: Between Literature and Social Science.” Modern Language Quarterly, vol. 77, no. 3, 2016, pp. 277–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Forshaw, Barry. The Man Who Left Too Soon: The Biography of Stieg Larsson. John Blake, 2010.Google Scholar
Gabrielsson, Eva, and Colombani, Marie-Françoise. Millennium, Stieg och jag. Natur och Kultur, 2011.Google Scholar
Hedberg, Andreas. Svensk litteraturs spridning i världen. Svenska Förläggareföreningen, 2019.Google Scholar
Heilbron, Johan. “Towards a Sociology of Translation: Book Translations as a Cultural World-System.” European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 2, no. 4, 1999, pp. 429–44.Google Scholar
Heilbron, Johan, and Sapiro, Gisèle. “Outline for a Sociology of Translation: Current Issues and Future Prospects.” Constructing a Sociology of Translation, edited by Wolf, Michaela and Fukari, Alexandra, John Benjamins Publishing, 2007, pp. 93107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hemmungs Wirtén, Eva. Global Infatuation: Explorations in Transnational Publishing and Texts: The Case of Harlequin Enterprises and Sweden. Uppsala U, 1998.Google Scholar
Holmberg, John-Henri. “The Novels You Read Are Not Necessarily the Novels Stieg Larsson Wrote.” The Tattooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time, edited by Holmberg, et al., St. Martin's Press, 2011, pp. 2941.Google Scholar
Keeland, Reg [Steven Murray]. “America Set to Be Conquered by Stieg in Mass Market.” Stieg Larsson's English Translator, 6 Mar. 2010, Scholar
Keeland, Reg [Steven Murray]. Comment thread on “Camilla Läckberg Ties the Knot in Stockholm.” Stieg Larsson's English Translator, 11 Aug. 2010, Scholar
Keeland, Reg [Steven Murray]. “Excellent Article about Stieg and Eva.” Stieg Larsson's English Translator, 4 Jan. 2010, Scholar
King, Donna Lee, and Smith, Carrie Lee, editors. Men Who Hate Women and Women Who Kick Their Asses: Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy in Feminist Perspective. Vanderbilt UP, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
King, Stephen. “The Horror Market and the Ten Bears.” Writer's Digest, Nov. 1973, pp. 1013.Google Scholar
Kruger, Alet, et al., editors. Corpus-Based Translation Studies: Research and Applications. Bloomsbury, 2011.Google Scholar
Larsson, Stieg. Flickan som lekte med elden. 2006. E-book ed., Norstedts, 2013.Google Scholar
Larsson, Stieg. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Translated by Keeland, Reg, e-book ed., Knopf, 2009.Google Scholar
Larsson, Stieg. The Girl Who Played with Fire. Translated by Keeland, Reg, e-book ed., Knopf, 2010.Google Scholar
Larsson, Stieg. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Translated by Keeland, Reg, e-book ed., Knopf, 2008.Google Scholar
Larsson, Stieg. Luftslottet som sprängdes. 2007. E-book ed., Norstedts, 2013.Google Scholar
Larsson, Stieg. Män som hatar kvinnor. 2005. E-book ed., Norstedts, 2013.Google Scholar
Laviosa, Sara. “Corpora and Translation Studies.” Corpus-Based Approaches to Contrastive Linguistics and Translation Studies, edited by Granger, Sylviane et al., Rodopi, 2003, pp. 4554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Maryles, Daisy. “Bestsellers '10: The Year in Bestsellers.” Publishers Weekly, vol. 139, Jan. 2011, pp. 1821.Google Scholar
Nestingen, Andrew, and Arvas, Paula, editors. Scandinavian Crime Fiction. U of Wales P, 2011.Google Scholar
Olohan, Maeve. Introducing Corpora in Translation Studies. Routledge, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pennlert, Nils. “Med andra ord.” Svensk Bokhandel, 2 Dec. 2011, Scholar
Steiner, Ann. “Serendipity, Promotion and Literature: The Contemporary Book Trade and International Megasellers.” Hype: Bestsellers and Literary Culture, edited by Helgason, Jon et al., Nordic Academic Press, 2014, pp. 4166.Google Scholar
Stetting, Karen. “Transediting—a New Term for Coping with the Grey Area between Editing and Translating.” Proceedings from the Fourth Nordic Conference for English Studies, edited by Caie, Graham, U of Copenhagen, 1989, pp. 371–82.Google Scholar
Storm, Marjolijn. Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles: A Case Study in Dutch and German Translation Cultures Using Corpus Linguistic Tools. 2012. U of Birmingham, PhD dissertation.Google Scholar
Storm, Marjolijn. “Translating ‘Filth and Trash’—German Translations of Agatha Christie's Detective Novels between 1927 and 1939.” The Journal of Specialised Translation, no. 22, July 2014, pp. 7892.Google Scholar
Stougaard-Nielsen, Jakob. “Nordic Noir in the UK: The Allure of Accessible Difference.” Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, vol. 8, no. 1, 2016, pp. 111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stougaard-Nielsen, Jakob. Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.Google Scholar
Svedjedal, Johan. “Svensk skönlitteratur i världen: Litteratursociologiska problem och perspektiv.” Svensk litteratur som världslitteratur: En antologi, edited by Svedjedal, , Uppsala U, 2012, pp. 981.Google Scholar
Thompson, John B. Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century. Polity, 2010.Google Scholar
“Three Percent: A Resource for International Literature at the University of Rochester.” University of Rochester, Scholar
Underwood, Ted. “A Genealogy of Distant Reading.” Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 2, 2017, Scholar
Varga, Dániel, et al.Parallel Corpora for Medium Density Languages.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2005), Incoma, 2005, pp. 590–96.Google Scholar
Venuti, Lawrence. The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2008.Google Scholar
Walkowitz, Rebecca L. Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in an Age of World Literature. Columbia UP, 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar