Today is the seventy-second birthday of novelist and essayist extraordinaire Julian Barnes. His Paris Review interview is, as one might expect, really interesting. I read and taught him for decades, and however students felt about that, I always knew that at least one of us would have a good time. The seemed to enjoy him, too, even if they hadn’t read Flaubert.
Tonight is Twelfth Night, of Epiphany Eve, so feel Christmasy (Christmassy?) for one more evening. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, of course, is set on the evening, and Joyce’s “The Dead” may well be–he’s unclear on whether it’s this night or Epiphany night. No matter, it is generally held to be a sort of magical eve, not because of anything inherent but because we invest it with belief in its magic. If you need me, this evening, I’m busy. I have to read a little Joyce.