Danish film-maker Bille August is to direct an adaptation of Henrik Pontoppidan’s masterpiece Lykke-Per.

The classic Danish novel, written from 1898-1904, will be adapted for the cinema by Denmark’s Nordisk Film Production, which has acquired the rights from the Gyldendal Group Agency,

Produced by Karin Trolle and Thomas Heinesen, it will shoot in 2014.

August recently signed to direct an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1932 novel Laughter in the Dark and his first local feature in 25 years, Marie Krøyer, is currently closing in on 300,000 admissions domestically.

“To me it has always been the greatest novel ever written in Danish – he personifies the complexity and contradictions of the Danishsoul,” said August. “I have been raving about it for a long time, without really daring to do something about it. It is like written for cinema.”

Lykke-Per is the story of the vicar’s son from Jutland and his quest for a happy life. After a difficult upbringing he severs family ties and goes to Copenhagen to study. He is a genius, fantasist and seducer, but his family catches up with him at the height of his success and abandons his career.

Potoppidan, who was part of the late 19th century’s modern breakthrough in Scandinavia, received the Nobel Prize 1917 for his “authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark.”

August recently signed Night Train to Lisbon for Germany’s Studio Hamburg Filmproduktion, a romantic thriller from Swiss author Pascal Mercier’s best-selling novel, with Jack Huston, Martina Gedeck and Tom Courteney in the leads. It will open in Germany on Feb 28.

August‘s Pelle the Conqueror (Pelle Erobreren) was awarded the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Feature in 1989.