Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Colin Wilson- RIP

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.
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