The lights are indirect, but bright so that you can see everyone’s faces. Ideally, conversation is easy, clumped here and there, the table might be best to be round, for maximum interlocution and ability to eavesdrop, but in my head, it is nevertheless, an elongated dinner table, with rounded corners, allowing the carefully planned seating arrangements to take on their intended effect and group the guests into little clumps.
Eventually, I’m sure that Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino would switch to Italian to carry on their conversation, although hopefully, for some of it, if they stick to the topic of literature and history, will be poachable. Contemporaries they are, it seems most plausible, but chance to sit and overhear is the matter at hand.
Near them, although turned to her neighbor, Virginia Woolf is likely arguing with Audre Lorde. I cannot imagine that their politics share nearly enough to encourage an amicable relationship, but hopefully there is a sparkle and flame of interchange. Common ground is still hoped for, because the dream of an intersection feminism should absolutely be transhistorical, as well as interracial and trans-national/-cultural.
At the beginning I’d maybe like to have her to myself, because I don’t know her quite so well, but Phillis Wheatley sits across from them. Sharp eyed and sharp tongued, I’m sure that she has plenty to say, and I hope the comfort the say it. Listening to her and Ms. Lorde would surely be a revelation; an unprecedented discourse of the African-American identity.
My hope is that they would stay late into the night.