Andrea Panichi


Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Document Type



The purpose of this thesis is to examine the life of Swedish author Stieg Larsson and how his career as a journalist and activist lead him to create the global phenomenon, The Millennium Trilogy. Through writing about international political themes, Larsson successfully tells a tale of a female heroine, Lisbeth Salander, who overcomes her tragic destiny. Originally written in Swedish, Larsson creates a cultural assimilation through writing about universal themes, such as computer hacking and crimes against humanity. The three novels, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are together called the Millennium Trilogy, and after only 6 years of publication, sold more than 65 million copies in more than 44 different languages. The novels are additionally the first major block buster books about social networking. Unfortunately, Larsson never saw the success of his novels, having died before their publication. This thesis will search for the truth behind the fiction by using current events that reflect the issues he proposes. It will also explore the idea of writing as a medium for social change by enlightening readers through journalism and literature. Through discussing the international success of the novels, this thesis aims to show the power of universal themes in transcending cultural barriers to create awareness of global issues. The books have not only become a symbol of pop culture, but also a symbol for social justice. The Millennium Trilogy is a series of crime novels that are a delivery system for social activism in the 21st century that incorporates contemporary technology as well as traditional “who dun it” story lines.