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Tony Grist

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Colin Wilson- RIP [Dec. 10th, 2013|09:06 am]
Tony Grist
Colin Wilson caught the zeitgeist of the late 50s with his first book, The Outsider, then got ploughed to the edge of the culture. I think of him as a misplaced Edwardian- an all-round man of letters, more interested in ideas than art. His output was Edwardian too-  well over 100 titles in all. By mid-career- in spite of being somewhat famous- he couldn't always find publishers for his work. He became a mild-mannered outlaw, a hedgerow-creeping contrarian,  a man you could count on to say the thing that wasn't being said by the panjandrums of the age. Some of what he said was slightly bonkers, but he wasn't solemn about it and you got the impression he enjoyed making mischief. He was an optimist in a time of pessimism who believed- like his masters Wells and Shaw- that mankind had come to the brink of a great evolutionary advance. He was interested in Psi and Magic- and that huge bibliography includes books on Atlantis and the Priory of Sion and all that Dan Brown jive- only he got there long before Dan did. Serial Killers were another speciality. He argued man to man with Albert Camus, corresponded with Ian Brady and was- as is the way with prophets- more honoured abroad than at home.  The Telegraph gave him a playful half page obituary that painted him as an amusing British eccentric- and all but ignored the books. I laughed along with it then went away and wrote this by way of protest.

[User Picture]From: ron_broxted
2013-12-10 12:56 pm (UTC)

In Kilkenny.

I met his son at St Johns Oxford in the early 1990s. Only Wilson I read was paranormal stuff and v good it was too;)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-12-10 05:19 pm (UTC)

Re: In Kilkenny.

I read the paranormal stuff too.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2013-12-10 03:07 pm (UTC)
I read some of his books in the seventies. I must re-read some of them/ A lot of his oeuvre is out of print but always worth getting. He was a true eccentric, in all ways that word conveys. He was a=way ahead of the game.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-12-10 05:20 pm (UTC)
I feel like re-reading him too. I guess eBay is the place to look.
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[User Picture]From: petercampbell
2013-12-10 08:17 pm (UTC)
He was very trendy around the time of The Outsider, wasn't he? Seldom has the fall from critical grace been so swift and so decisive. His books are always worth a look, but he didn't half hack them out in his dotage.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-12-10 09:40 pm (UTC)
I don't suppose he had much choice. Having decided to write for a living he had to keep on churning out product to put food on the table.
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