Be(com)ing Lost

Michael Dale
Day/Time Taught: 
TR 2:00-3:15 pm
Course Number: 

Wittgenstein suggests that a prelude to philosophy is the admission that “I have lost my way.” In A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit writes, “The question then is how to get lost. Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction, and somewhere in the terra incognita in between lies a life of discovery.” No doubt for many people and in a number of circumstances being lost is experienced as an unsettling, perhaps even terrifying phenomenon (losing one’s memory or mind). At the same time we speak delightfully about being “lost in thought,” “lost in a book,” even “lost in love.”

We will examine the potentially fearful aspects of being lost and we will explore and examine the virtues of “be(com)ing lost,” consider the possibility that there’s an “art of being at home in the unknown, so that being in its midst isn’t a cause for panic or suffering, [but] of being at home with being lost.” (Solnit)

Possible Readings:

  • Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
  • Nicole Krauss, Man Walks Into A Room
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road
  • Jose Saramago, Blindness
  • Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard
  • W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Rick Klima

QEP Global Learning