Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Jostein Gaarder's Sophie’s World. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy
- Where Written: Bergen, Norway
- When Published: 1991 (Norway) and 1994 (U.S.)
- Literary Period: Late Cold War celebration of Western culture
- Genre: Young adult fiction / philosophical novel / novel of ideas / Bildungsroman
- Setting: Norway, 1990
- Climax: Alberto Knox and Sophie Amundsen escape the garden party
- Antagonist: None—this is a novel of education, not action
- Point of View: Third person limited—the novel cuts back and forth between Sophie and Hilde’s points of view
Little girl, big hit: Nobody expected Jostein Gaarder’s 500-page children’s novel about philosophy to be a big success—but it was. In fact, it sold over 40 million copies, was translated into 59 languages, and remains one of the most successful books ever to come out of Norway.
Sophie fever: Throughout the 90s, there was a wave of “Sophie fever”—Gaarder’s book was so popular that children’s authors everywhere were trying to duplicate its success. The 90s also saw a film version of Sophie’s World, an 8-part TV miniseries aired in Australia, a board game, a computer game, and even a concept rock album based on a line from the book: “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.”