“Well,” as a great man, or hobbit, once said in a very different context, “I’m back.”
Since we last met, I’ve been relatively busy. I wrote a biography of the Book of Common Prayer, I published a critical edition of W. H. Auden’s long poem For the Time Being, I blogged for a while at The American Conservative, and I moved to Texas.
This move to Baylor University gives me a great deal of freedom to teach what I want to teach and write about the topics that most interest me. So I have spent the past few months thinking about what I really care about the most. I’ve reached the age where I can no longer persuade myself that I have an infinite spool of time rolling out before me, but instead must consider what most needs to be done in the time remaining to me. Or rather, what most needs to be done that I can do.
So I’ve been meditating and reflecting a lot, writing notes, deleting notes, writing more notes, reflecting further…. Eventually I decided that I should write something of a mission statement for myself — a succinct summary of my central intellectual interests as I now understand them.
And here’s what I came up with:
I want to inquire into the connections, whether collaborative or confrontational, between (a) the forms of understanding traditionally enabled by the humanities and (b) the powers generated by electronic textual technologies. I want to pursue these questions with a rich, nuanced understanding of the intellectual effects of earlier textual technologies, and with a particular though not exclusive emphasis on how those connections affect Christian thought and the practice of Christian faith.
Once I saw what I had written, and realized that I do indeed agree with it, it seemed to me that I ought to return to this blog, because it was centrally concerned with these very issues.
So: I’m back.