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Turned Out Nice Again

Colin Wilson R.i.p.

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Like they say about Orson Welles, Wilson seemed to run his career in reverse. Started brilliantly at an early age and fizzled-out as he got older. Always interesting though.

I still think "The Outsider" is the most exhilerating and mind-expanding book I ever read.

The inside cover of a late 1990s edition reads:

The Outsider is the seminal work on alienation, creativity and the modern mind-set. First published over thirty years ago, it made its youthful author England's most controversial intellectual.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Outsider-Colin-Wilson/dp/0753814323

the-outsider-cover.jpg

200px-Colin_Wilson.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Wilson

Wilson became associated with the "Angry Young Men" of British literature. He contributed to Declaration, an anthology of manifestos by writers associated with the movement, and wrote a popular paperback sampler, Protest: The Beat Generation and the Angry Young Men.[4][5] Some viewed Wilson and his friends Bill Hopkins and Stuart Holroyd as a sub-group of the "Angries", more concerned with "religious values" than with liberal or socialist politics.[6] Critics on the left swiftly labeled them as fascist; commentator Kenneth Allsop called them "the law givers".[6][7]

After the initial success of Wilson's first work, critics universally panned Religion and the Rebel (1957). Time magazine published a review, headlined "Scrambled Egghead", that pilloried the book.[8] By the late 1960s Wilson had become increasingly interested in metaphysical and occult themes. In 1971, he published The Occult: A History, featuring interpretations on Aleister Crowley, George Gurdjieff, Helena Blavatsky, Kabbalah, primitive magic, Franz Mesmer, Grigori Rasputin, Daniel Dunglas Home, and Paracelsus (among others). He also wrote a markedly unsympathetic biography of Crowley, Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast, and has written biographies on other spiritual and psychological visionaries, including Gurdjieff, Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Rudolf Steiner, and P. D. Ouspensky.

Originally, Wilson focused on the cultivation of what he called "Faculty X", which he saw as leading to an increased sense of meaning, and on abilities such as telepathy and the awareness of other energies. In his later work he suggests the possibility of life after death and the existence of spirits, which he personally analyzes as an active member of the Ghost Club.

He has also written non-fiction books on crime, ranging from encyclopedias to studies of serial killing. He has an ongoing interest in the life and times of Jack the Ripper and in sex crime in general.

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Like they say about Orson Welles, Wilson seemed to run his career in reverse. Started brilliantly at an early age and fizzled-out as he got older. Always interesting though.

I still think "The Outsider" is the most exhilerating and mind-expanding book I ever read.

The inside cover of a late 1990s edition reads:

The Outsider is the seminal work on alienation, creativity and the modern mind-set. First published over thirty years ago, it made its youthful author England's most controversial intellectual.

http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/0753814323

the-outsider-cover.jpg

200px-Colin_Wilson.jpg

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Colin_Wilson

Wilson became associated with the "Angry Young Men" of British literature. He contributed to Declaration, an anthology of manifestos by writers associated with the movement, and wrote a popular paperback sampler, Protest: The Beat Generation and the Angry Young Men.[4][5] Some viewed Wilson and his friends Bill Hopkins and Stuart Holroyd as a sub-group of the "Angries", more concerned with "religious values" than with liberal or socialist politics.[6] Critics on the left swiftly labeled them as fascist; commentator Kenneth Allsop called them "the law givers".[6][7]

After the initial success of Wilson's first work, critics universally panned Religion and the Rebel (1957). Time magazine published a review, headlined "Scrambled Egghead", that pilloried the book.[8] By the late 1960s Wilson had become increasingly interested in metaphysical and occult themes. In 1971, he published The Occult: A History, featuring interpretations on Aleister Crowley, George Gurdjieff, Helena Blavatsky, Kabbalah, primitive magic, Franz Mesmer, Grigori Rasputin, Daniel Dunglas Home, and Paracelsus (among others). He also wrote a markedly unsympathetic biography of Crowley, Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast, and has written biographies on other spiritual and psychological visionaries, including Gurdjieff, Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Rudolf Steiner, and P. D. Ouspensky.

Originally, Wilson focused on the cultivation of what he called "Faculty X", which he saw as leading to an increased sense of meaning, and on abilities such as telepathy and the awareness of other energies. In his later work he suggests the possibility of life after death and the existence of spirits, which he personally analyzes as an active member of the Ghost Club.

He has also written non-fiction books on crime, ranging from encyclopedias to studies of serial killing. He has an ongoing interest in the life and times of Jack the Ripper and in sex crime in general.

One of the ones ahead of their times then? Not really aware of him until your post now, but looks like he goes on the "check it out" list. Some of the biographies look particularly interesting.

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The Outsider is a very interesting book. Lifeforce is one of my favourite bad movies, but I've no idea how that one compares to Wilson's novel (badly, I suspect).

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The Outsider is a very interesting book. Lifeforce is one of my favourite bad movies, but I've no idea how that one compares to Wilson's novel (badly, I suspect).

Oddly, I have never heard of it, or if I have, assumed people were referring to Camus' L'Etranger.

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Oddly, I have never heard of it, or if I have, assumed people were referring to Camus' L'Etranger.

... not so far off the mark as he references Camus's L'Etranger along with just about every other important Existentialist/ Romatic/ Absurdist work.

Wilson's TheOutsider has been called a review of the Pessimistic tradition in Literature.

I read it as a science student at university and by introducing me to authors/ ideas outside of my experience which i would not have had the time or motivation to investigate independently, it also shaped my view of the world, for better or worse (probably the latter).

here's one of my favourite Amazon customer reviews of the book:

By Malli (Mumbai, India)

This review is from: The Outsider (Paperback)

"In April-2000, when an exceptional heat wave had gripped the city of Mumbai in India, a young man, aged 27, stepped out of his house in Mehboob Studio and headed toward Lotus Book House". That was me last year. Over the first 3 months of the year 2000, some strange kind of uneasiness had gripped me.I was feeling divorced from most things and I could not pin down this sense of desolation. Completely led by chance, I ended up picking 'The Outsider'in a bookshop that April. I had no clue who Colin Wilson was or what the book was about. Some manifestation of the acausality principle of Carl Jung was at work I guess. My verdict on the book which is heartfelt and directly from experience(which is the only way one can be true to the book) is that 'The Outsider' is one of the most illuminating books that I have read in my life. The book is a scintillating journey that explores the position of the individual in the cosmos. After reading this book, I have read every single book mentioned in it which is an illustrious list that includes, Sartre's - 'Nausea; Hesse's - Sidhhartha, Narcissus & Goldmund, Steppenwolf, The Magister Ludi; Dostoyvesky's - Crime & Punishment, The Brother's Karamazov..the list is endless. I will recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the question of Man - the individual as against Man - the clock-work mechanism/ cog in the wheel . More importantly, the book is an experience; whatever I have written is only a description of that experience. An experience and its description can never be the same. This principle holds true for 'The outsider'. The reader will realise as he reads that the concepts and survival mechanisms of day-to-day banalities sorrounding his consciousness dissolve and that in some way this book gives rise to that 'oceanic feeling' of enlightenment.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Outsider-Colin-Wilson/product-reviews/0874772060

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I read it as a science student at university and by introducing me to authors/ ideas outside of my experience which i would not have had the time or motivation to investigate independently, it also shaped my view of the world, for better or worse (probably the latter).

Exactly how it influenced me. The book was a great stimulus to further reading.

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I read a number of his non-fiction works including Poltergeist: A study in Destructive Haunting. He also wrote a book on The Occult, and a follow up, entitled Mysteries.

He wrote a novel - sci-fi, I suppose - called The Mind Parasites which I enjoyed.

Some good reading, but I disagreed with a lot of what he said.

Nevertheless, a sad loss. RIP Colin..

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