Happy New Year to one and all! In the January issue of New English Review, our favorite doctor contemplates death, expanding his vast library, the gambling habits of his uncle (the best man he ever knew), and the value of playing the lottery.
But in the face of the inevitability of death, what hope is not illusory, or at least not of fleeting duration? And yet, who would, or can, live without hope? Better a false hope than a realistic despair. La Rochefoucauld said that we can stare for long neither at the sun nor death; T.S. Eliot said that humankind cannot stand very much reality. Illusion is essential to human existence.