First of all, many thanks to all who commented on my previous post. I've come to two major conclusions as a result of reflecting on those comments and on my experience: first, that for now I am just going to keep doing what I've been doing, in large part because that's all I can manage; and second, at some point — when stress levels are lower and energy levels are higher — I need to think seriously about how to build some kind of conversation (and ideally community) among my readers.

So, what am I up to these days? My chief day job is to work on my critical edition of Auden’s collection of poems The Shield of Achilles – and a wonderful day job it is. But then I’m also always working on my newsletter and the blog.

My chief bloggy interest these days is the project that I am calling Mid-Century Modernity. This is related in a way to my more comprehensive project, the one that I call Invitation & Repair. I find myself asking, What needs to be repaired? — but also: How did it fall into disrepair? This is my version of Chesterton's Fence: Not my discovery of a standing fence but rather of a collapsed one: Who built this fence, and why? And what knocked it down?

Perhaps a vague metaphor, but then I have vague thoughts. I am trying to understand the massive changes that happened to our world between the mid-Thirties and the mid-Sixties of the previous century, because I believe we are still living in the aftermath of those changes, still trying to stay upright in the aftershocks. I have this unshakable suspicion that everything we as a culture are now is a product of events that were mostly complete fifty years ago.

So look for a lot of posts about books and music and movies and ideas from that middle third of the 20th century. I'll be doing a good many of them in the months (years?) to come.

And please do feel free to reply to this post with any thoughts and/or questions. Cheers to all!