Faculty Publication Highlights

Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas, by Christian Kracht

Translated by Daniel Bowles

In 1902, a radical vegetarian and nudist from Nuremberg named August Engelhardt set sail for what was then called the Bismarck Archipelago, in German New Guinea. His destination: the island Kabakon. His goal: to establish a colony based on worship of the sun and coconuts. His malnourished body was found on the beach on Kabakon in 1919; he was forty-three years old.

Christian Kracht's Imperium uses the outlandish details of Engelhardt's life to craft a fable about the allure of extremism and its fundamental foolishness. Engelhardt is at once a pitiable, misunderstood outsider and a rigid ideologue, and his misguided notions of purity and his spiral into madness presage the horrors of the mid-twentieth century.

Playing with the tropes of classic adventure tales such as Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe, Kracht's novel, an international bestseller, is funny, bizarre, shocking, and poignant. His allusions are misleading, his historical time line is twisted, his narrator is unreliable--and the result is a novel that is a cabinet of mirrors, a maze pitted with trapdoors.

View a guide of selected resources (PDF) on this topic available through the Libraries.

Cover of Imperium - A Fiction of the South Seas

Daniel Bowles
German Studies Department

View sample pages

Find this item

For further information about research in this area please visit the Subject Librarian portal.

Recent Highlights

the book cover

Various Articles
by Joseph F. Quinn, Ph.D

A Lily Blooms in Winter

A Lily Blooms in Winter
by Alston Conley

the book cover

The History and Philosophy of Science: A Reader
by Daniel McKaughan & Holly VandeWall

the book cover

Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire
Co-Edited by Richard Lennan & Nancy Pineda-Madrid

the book cover

Technology and Engagement: Making Technology Work for First-Generation College Students
by Heather T. Rowan-Kenyon & Ana M. Martínez Alemán & Mandy Savitz-Romer, PhD

the book cover

Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics
by Peter Krause & Timothy Crawford

the book cover

Why You Eat What You Eat
by Rachel Herz

the book cover

Listening to Early Modern Catholicism: Perspectives from Musicology
Edited by Michael Noone & Daniele V. Filippi

the book cover

Nazi Law: From Nuremberg to Nuremberg
Edited by John J. Michalczyk

A colorful detail of one of Chong's paintings

From Neither Here Not There
by Sammy Chong, S.J.