“Lost Horizon” And The Culture Of Excess

Is passion the opposite of wisdom? Is an excess of moderation possible? Does a good man owe the world his service? These questions haunt the pages of James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon” like the restless specters of lost travelers.

Published in 1933, the story’s gentle blend of pragmatic, quasi-Eastern philosophy, post-WWI anxiety, and escapist fantasy, was tremendously popular. Featuring male characters who were unprejudiced, open-minded, and skeptical of authority, and female characters who were strong, independent, and accomplished, “Lost Horizon” was stunningly…