Also Seen: ‘Anthill’: ‘The Iliad’—With Ants?

An excerpt from a piece in the WSJ:

Renowned biologist and naturalist E.O. Wilson, who has studied ants for more than 60 years and has won two Pulitzer Prizes, is publishing his first novel, “Anthill,” an epic tale of men and insects that centers on the fate of an ant colony in rural Alabama.

Mr. Wilson, 80 years old, says he aimed to draw “a parallel between the epics of the ants and the epics of competing human societies.”

The parallels are plentiful: in “Anthill,” Mr. Wilson describes how ants build elaborate cities, grow and store food to prevent famine, form social hierarchies with worker and soldier castes, keep their young in nurseries and deposit their dead in cemeteries.

Literary bloggers and reviewers have likened Mr. Wilson’s narrative treatment of warring ant colonies to the “Iliad.” Mr. Wilson describes a miniature version of the Trojan War as battles between rival tribes of ants escalate, an ant city gets invaded and plundered and a once-thriving ant civilization collapses.

via ‘Anthill’: ‘The Iliad’—With Ants? | WSJ.com.

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