The project Mythemes of the North aims to map the evolution of narrative knowledge of the North in Europe since the Middle Ages by studying its smallest units – the mythemes of the North – and their narrative grammar in cultural circulation. It uses the latest advances of digital humanities and pen and paper based approaches, cross breeding it with productive new readings and sometimes voluntary misunderstandings of (post-)structuralist theories, cultural media studies and studies of geographies of knowledge. A byproduct might be a general Theory of Mythemes of Social Knowledge in Cultural Circulation.

Mythemes of social knowledge refer to the smallest units of discourse. As such, they are the constitutive units of narratives, at the level of the narrated. The analysis of those repertoires of mythemes, their natures and connections, helps us understand the transformations, cultural circulations, and geographical imaginations. In this podcast-series, we document our webinars and research activities.

This channel documents our webinars and similar activtities. For further information and link to articles, you can visit our website:

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3rd Mytheme Webinar: About Bibi, Sjov and the Fishermen. Looking for Danish Mythemes in the Late 1920s [Dec. 17, 2020]


About Bibi, Sjov and the Fishermen. Looking for Danish Mythemes in the Late 1920s

Davide Finco (University of Genoa)

Mythemes of the North can originate from different sources, such as literary works, press reports, films, opinion surveys and so on. At the same time, media often contribute to consolidate mythemes or to discuss and dismantle them. It is relevant to assess which mythemes have resisted over time, as well as to find out relations between mythemes in an alleged consistency of the image of the North (meant as one form of the knowledge of the North). Another meaningful perspective, however, might be that of comparing different representations of the North, or even of a single nation/culture, in works published in the same period, if not the same year.

This paper has the purpose to consider specific case studies, which display both evident similarities and essential differences: as indicated in the title, all works came out in the period 1927-1929 and they all offer, more or less explicitly, an image of Denmark and its people: : Karin Michaëlis’ Bibi. En lille Piges Liv (1927, 1929), Hans Kirk’s Fiskerne (1928) and Jens August Schade’s Sjov i Danmark (1928).Moreover, all works own a peculiar place in the respective author’s literary production. On the other hand, they belong to very different genres, like children’s literature, realist novel, surrealist poem. While taking all elements (potential mythemes) of Denmark contained in these works into account and connecting and comparing them, my contribution is at least an experimental attempt to investigate the image of Denmark in three famous literary works of the same period, at most a way to explore the potentialities of an approach lead by the theory of mythemes.

Part of the Mytheme project and its podcast channel:

Tags: denmark hans kirk jens august schade karin michaelis mytheme mythemes




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