Postcolonial Bildungsroman's Retelling of History

April 24 Wednesday, 4:30pm | Oakley Center

“Postcolonial Bildungsroman’s Retelling of History”

Christopher Kloeble’s latest novel The Museum of the World begins with an introduction to the first-person narrator and primary protagonist, an orphan from Bombay called Bartholomew. He’s twelve years old and speaks almost as many languages. That is why, in the year 1854, he is hired as a translator by the brothers Schlagintweit from Germany who, with the support of Alexander von Humboldt and the East India Company, embark upon the greatest expedition of their time– an adventure that takes them across India and the Himalayas.

But Bartholomew is also pursuing his own agenda: he wants to establish the first museum of his remarkable, complex native land. And for this, he is willing to risk everything – even his life. Based on the true story of a huge undertaking by three Bavarian brothers The Museum of the World (HarperCollins India, 2022) is a fantastic adventure that will change the way we see the history of colonialism.

Join us for a discussion with novelist and scriptwriter Christopher Kloeble in conversation with germanist Christophe Koné to discuss how The Museum of the World illustrates the genre of the “postcolonial Bildungsroman.”  What does this story of three German explorers in India told through the eyes of an Indian boy reveal about the dark side of German idealism and the sinister motive of the pursuit of Humboldtian science? How does the narration of this German expedition in India enrich our understanding of British colonialism?

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