The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.
The first installment in a series of bloggers reading through the shortlist of the Caine Prize for African Writing, Aaron Bady looks at Rotimi Babutunde’s Bombay Republic [pdf]. A full list of participating bloggers is available at the bottom of Bady’s post.
Christine Sismondo believes bars deserve more credit for “produc[ing] a particular type of public sphere in colonial America.” She discusses her new book America Walks Into a Bar with The Smithsonian’s Rebecca Dalzell.