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"Vårvindar friska" och världen

Journal article
Authors Gunilla Hermansson
Published in Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap
Volume 2018
Issue 1-2
Pages 34-45
ISSN 1104-0556
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 34-45
Language sv
Keywords Världslitteratur, lyrikreception, sånglyrik, YouTube, Julia Nyberg (Euphrosyne)
Subject categories General Literature Studies, Languages and Literature


With a point of departure in a specific case of poetry reception the article aims to nuance the contemporary discussions of world literature, by paying attention to song performances, anthologies and the digital archive as central media for transnational circulation of poetry in a historical perspective. The article examines the national and international reception of the poem, or song lyrics known as “Vårvindar friska” (1828, Fresh Spring Breezes) by the Swedish romantic poet Julia Nyberg (pseud. Euphrosyne). Nyberg used a traditional melody when composing her text and it was further adjusted to a specific image of the Nordic traditional song when it was included in the Swedish canon. The reception history shows how the song became associated with Swedishness and on that account subjected to a whole range of ideological and commercial agendas. Today, several interpretations and performances of the song are available on YouTube, and the user comments demonstrate that they do generates interest for the words, including the original, full text. The case of “Vårvindar friska” also provides an opportunity to highlight central types of media through which world literature has been envisioned during two formative periods. In the second half of the nineteenth century, poetry anthologies were considered important media for the collection and dissemination of world literature. In our own century, YouTube seems to have taken over some of these tasks and expectations which also relate to the more general question of world literature in a digital age. The obvious differences notwithstanding, the presence (or non-presence) of “Vårvindar friska” and other Swedish romantic poetry in translation anthologies and in the YouTube archive, point out some similar features, such as the principles of recycling and remediation and identity formation as a driving force. The two reception contexts shed light on each other as well as further complicate our understanding of the dynamics between availability and impact on a world-wide scale.

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