A Genealogy of the Ibis Trilogy

Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Bengali Culture


  • Carlotta Beretta Università di Bologna




Amitav Ghosh, Ibis Trilogy, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray


A Genealogy of the Ibis Trilogy: Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Bengali Culture

The tension between a local dimension and a more cosmopolitan one has become increasingly crucial in Amitav Ghosh’s writing. Whereas his earlier works,
such as In an Antique Land, tended towards what was defined as a “subaltern cosmopolitanism” (Hawley 2005; Grewal 2007), more recent novels show attention for a local dimension as well: Bengal. In Bengali cultural tradition, nationalism and cosmopolitanism have always been at the centre of poetic reflection. The influence of this cultural and artistic tradition on Ghosh’s works can hardly be overestimated. Therefore, an examination of how nationalism and cosmopolitanism were dealt with by Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray will contribute to the full understanding of Ghosh’s work.
In particular, this paper will demonstrate how Amitav Ghosh, despite his increased focus on the local, does not embrace nationalism, as Bankimchandra Chatterjee, but reproduces the situation of “ideological liminality” (Saha 2013: 21) between the local and the global that can be found in the works of Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray.


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How to Cite

Beretta , Carlotta. 2015. “A Genealogy of the Ibis Trilogy: Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Bengali Culture”. Cracow Indological Studies 17 (December):249-68. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.17.2015.17.13.