The Novara expedition and the imperialist messages of exploration literature

Knellwolf King, Christa (2009). The Novara expedition and the imperialist messages of exploration literature. In Christa Knellwolf King and Margarete Rubik (Ed.), Stories of Empire: Narrative Strategies for the Legitimation of an Imperial World Order (pp. 157-176) Trier, Germany: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.

Author Knellwolf King, Christa
Title of chapter The Novara expedition and the imperialist messages of exploration literature
Formatted title
The Novara expedition and the imperialist messages of exploration literature
Title of book Stories of Empire: Narrative Strategies for the Legitimation of an Imperial World Order
Place of Publication Trier, Germany
Publisher Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier
Publication Year 2009
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
Series ELCH: Studies in English Literary and Cultural History
ISBN 9783868210743
Editor Christa Knellwolf King
Margarete Rubik
Volume number 33
Chapter number 8
Start page 157
End page 176
Total pages 20
Total chapters 12
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, significant public funds were spent on naval expeditions that were sent out to collect information about even the remotest parts of the earth. In addition to gathering knowledge, the reports published from the se journeys were important vehicles for the formation and consolidation of colonial attitudes. Although most scientific voyagers believed that the expansion of the boundaries of knowledge benefited the common good, they were also aware that the scientific idealism of the age was tempered by the interests of Europe’s colonial nations. As a result their travel accounts both endorse customary assumptions (for example relating to the superiority of western civilization) and interrogate the foundations of imperial ideology.

My paper concentrates on Carl Scherzer’s account of the Austrian ‘Novara’ expedition (1857-1859). Comparing Scherzer’s narrative with the assessments of indigenous culture and society contained in earlier descriptions of Australasia an d the Pacific (especially Georg Forster’s account of James Cook’s second circumnavigation, 1772-1775), it will employ narratological tools for the analysis of imperialist ideology. In particular it will seek to identify the narratives (or scripts) that have been deeply engrained in cultural consciousness to guarantee assent to the imperial project. Since propagandist claims were emplotted in extremely popular stories of adventure and scientific progress, it will next explore the premises of their appeal to vast numbers of readers. This will show that some archetypal stories about success and happiness are counterbalanced by less simplistic narratives about the foundations of culture and society. The narratological attempt to identify and explain competing arguments therefore aims to shed new light on the contradictory premises of empire building.
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Proceedings of "Stories of Empire: Narrative Strategies for the Legitimation of an Imperial World Order", 13-15 September 2007, Vienna, Austria.

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Thu, 18 Dec 2014, 15:11:22 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry