Welcome to “I Am Lost in the Cosmos,” a blog I’ve created that will focus on 20th century literature and culture, religion (with an eye specifically towards Catholicism), existentialism, and other issues of a literary/philosophical/cultural nature (I’m casting a very wide net).
The title of the blog comes from a yoking together of two things I rather enjoy. Walker Percy, specifically his book Lost in the Cosmos, and Chris Bell (from Big Star) and his song “I am the Cosmos.” But beyond being two things I like that share the word “cosmos,” there’s a way in which these things all speak to the ideas and concepts I’m interested in as a scholar and writer– man’s place in the universe, man’s search for meaning, man’s nature as a quester/wayfarer/pilgrim/searcher, existential questions, the idea of the divine– being considered in literature and “popular” culture.
I’m currently a doctoral candidate, finishing a dissertation on mid-twentieth century American Catholic writers (specifically Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Jack Kerouac, and Martin Scorsese). My interests, more broadly, lie in twentieth century literature with an emphasis on American literature and I’ve written and presented papers on authors such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, D.H. Lawrence, Jack Kerouac, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Philip Roth, as well as on Matthew Weiner’s television show Mad Men. For more information about these things I would encourage you to check out my website.
What I envision this blog being is an ongoing discussion of those things that engage with and relate to the themes and ideas that someone like Percy raises. Sometimes that will lead to a focus on literary content, other times it will be more religious, while in other instances it will be more broadly “cultural” (here I’m thinking of popular music, film, and television). But everything will return to questions like “who am I and what is my relationship to the universe and to God and to the world in which I live?,” questions those midcentury American Catholic authors so rigorously considered, and those works (either contemporary or from the past) that engage with those questions in once way or another.
I hope you’ll join me for the journey and the discussion that will follow.