COLIN WILSON DIES AT 82
Following the death of Colin Wilson on December 5, 2013, the Colin Wilson World website remains as a tribute to one of the greatest cultural and literary figures of the 20th century. After a serious spinal operation in 2011, Colin suffered a stroke, the effects of which he was unable to overcome, and in October 2013 he was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. He made progress towards recovery and it was hoped he would be able to return home, but this proved not to be possible. He was 82.
A new community page, Colin Wilson RIP, has been set up on Facebook.
An obituary written by Colin Stanley can be found here
An obituary by Robert Cracknell can be seen on CWW's new Gallery page.
UPDATE MARCH 2015
An End to Murder? – the book that Colin Wilson
began before he suffered a stroke, and which has been completed by his son
Damon, can be pre-ordered at Amazon. The book will be available from September
The Amazon page for the book says: ‘Colin and
Damon Wilson, who between them have been covering the field of criminology for
over fifty years, offer an analysis of the overall spectrum of human violence.
They consider whether human beings are in reality as cruel and violent as is
generally believed and they explore the possibility that humankind is on the
verge of a fundamental change: that we are about to become truly civilised.’
Meanwhile, Feral House has announced that an
expanded edition of Ian Brady's book, The Gates of Janus, will be published on
May 21, 2015. It is said to include new material among which will be an extended
edition of Colin Wilson's introduction in which he explains why he and Brady
eventually fell out.
Colin Stanley (pauperspress.com) has just
published (March 2015) the ‘ultimate’ Colin Wilson bibliography, available in
only 50 numbered copes. It is the fourth and extended edition of this
monumental work. A
new edition of The Occult (first published 1971), with a foreword by Colin Stanley, is to be published
by Watkins on November 19.
UPDATE AUGUST 2014
The first international Colin Wilson Conference will be held at the University of Nottingham on July 1, 2016, it has been announced by Colin Stanley, Colin Wilson's bibliographer, the date falling shortly after the 60th anniversary of publication of The Outsider. A call has gone out for papers to be presented at the conference. The deadline for submissions is September 2015. There will probably be time for only four speakers on the day.
Full details on how delegates can attend and who will be speaking will follow later but places will be strictly limited to just 50. The cost per delegate will be £27.50 plus VAT. Free car parking, refreshments and lunch will be provided. There will be an exhibition of materials from the Colin Wilson Collection arranged by the university's Manuscripts and Special Collections Department.
Those who think they might like to attend should contact Colin Stanley at email@example.com although no final decision or money will be required from them until January 2016.
A new edition of Brandy of the Damned (1964, revised 1967, re-titled Chords and Discords for the USA), Colin Wilson's book on music, is now available from Foruli Classics: 'In this book Wilson navigates a fascinating journey through the world of music, providing insights into Mozart and Beethoven, provocatively tackling what was then the 'modern' music of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, and speculating on the nature and spirit of jazz and many other musical subjects.' Foruli Classics 'brings back into print rare, intriguing and collectible music and popular culture books'.
UPDATE JULY 2014
A memorial service for Colin Wilson is to be held at St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL, at 3pm on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, the Wilson family has announced. All are welcome to attend.
The new edition of The Glass Cage (see Update below) is now available from Valancourt Books (US $16.99, £7.99 e-book / UK £10.99, £4.81 Kindle). In my 2,500-word introduction, I describe how Colin Wilson reworked the basic themes of his first novel Ritual in the Dark (also reissued by Valancourt) in an attempt, as he said, 'to create a clearer contrast between the psychology of the criminal and the mystic'. Wilson said he wanted to ‘confront the two
extremes: the mystic and the criminal: the man
whose sense of the goodness and worthwhileness of life is constant and fully
conscious, and the man whose self-pity and lack of self-belief have driven him
to expressing his vitality in the most negative way he can find’. Wilson felt this made The Glass Cage
a more interesting book than Ritual in
the Dark. Geoff Ward
UPDATE JUNE 2014
Here's the striking art work from Valancourt Books for the forthcoming new edition of Colin Wilson's 1966 metaphysical murder mystery, The Glass Cage, which has a new introduction by Geoff Ward. Valancourt has already reissued five of Wilson's novels (see previous Updates), and his Necessary Doubt (1964), with a new introduction by Colin Stanley, is also due out soon.
The London Fortean Society, on June 26, 2014, which would have been Colin Wilson's 83rd birthday, hosts a talk by Gary Lachman on Wilson's life, philosophy and writings on the occult and paranormal. Lachman will trace Wilson's career, exploring his 'new existentialism', his insights into occult phenomena and his outlook for our future evolution; he will also touch on his personal encounters with Wilson and how Wilson’s ideas have informed his own work. A founding member of the rock group Blondie, Lachman is the author of books on Madame Blavatsky, Hermes Trismegistus and, most recently, Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and The Wickedest Man in the World.
UPDATE MARCH 2014
The Colin Wilson obituary by Colin Stanley is included in the latest edition of New Dawn magazine, the next 'special issue' of which will carry a previously unpublished interview with Colin Wilson by Louis Proud.
UPDATE JANUARY 2014
An essay by Colin Stanley about Colin Wilson's novel Adrift in Soho has been placed on the London Fictions website.
UPDATE DECEMBER 2013
Colin Wilson’s Existential Literary Criticism:A Guide for Students, by Colin Stanley, is to be published on January 6, 2014, at £12.95, and is no. 23 in the Colin Wilson Studies series.
For nearly sixty years, throughout his long career, Colin Wilson championed existential criticism, asserting that a book should not just be judged by the tenets of literary criticism or theory alone, but also on what it has to say, in particular about the meaning and purpose of existence.
In this study, a companion to his students’ guides to Colin Wilson’s ‘Outsider Cycle’ (Paupers’ Press, 2009) and ‘Occult Trilogy’ (Axis Mundi, 2013), Colin Stanley provides assessments of nine of his subject’s essential book-length studies on existential criticism and bibliographical details for the hundreds of essays and reviews he wrote. Appended to this is Wilson’s groundbreaking essay ‘Existential Criticism’ first published in The Chicago Review in 1959.
There is a pre-publication offer: £11.95 (including postage/packing to UK addresses). Pay by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or cheque payable to Colin Stanley, from Paupers' Press, 37 Quayside Close, Trent Bridge, Nottingham NG2 3BP.
* See review on the Views page.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2013
It is reported that The Space Vampires, Colin Wilson's 1976 sci-fi novel, is to be adapted for a TV series by the Los Angeles-based Ringleader Studios (The Amityville Horror, The Lost Tapes) which has acquired the rights also for a graphic novel, video game and other media tie-ins. As Wilson fans will know, the novel was filmed by Tobe Hooper as Lifeforce (1985), starring Steve Railsback, Patrick Stewart and Mathilda May. It is proposed to retain the title for the TV series. According to Deadline Hollywood (November 20, 2013), Steve Harris, a former editor of Electronic Gaming Monthly, will be executive producer of the series. Al Zuckerman, of Writers House negotiated the deal on behalf of Colin and Joy Wilson.
Writer Stuart Holroyd, now 80 and a contemporary of Colin Wilson, has published a 1950s 'literary and love-life memoir',His Dear Time's Waste, available from Amazon and other online book stores. Holroyd looks back to a time when, although known as one of the 'angry young men', he was really more driven by his ambition and his libido, complicating his life with a tendency to fall in love. In the 1950s, Holroyd shared a rented house in Notting Hill, London, with Wilson, other fellow writers John Braine and Bill Hopkins, and journalist Tom Greenwell. Right: the cover of Holroyd's first book, published in 1957 when he was 23, about how poets responded to the 'spiritual chaos' of the times.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2011
Colin Wilson's introduction to a 'lost' work,The Faces of Evil, is to be published by Pauper's Press on October 14 (see review on Views page). In the mid-1970s, New York publishers A&W planned to bring out the book but it never appeared, and the 80-page introduction is all that remains. It was retrieved recently from an archive by Wilson scholar Vaughan Rapatahana who has written a foreword to it. A&W described The Faces of Evil thus: 'One of Britain's foremost authors re-examines man's haunting fear of evil, in mythology and history. Witches, the supernatural, Hitler, Stalin, Rasputin and Richard III are reappraised in an informative, fast-moving essay...' In his introduction, Wilson says it seems to him 'wholly within the bounds of possibility that human beings have released "evil" forces of whose power and persistence they are unaware'. The booklet is priced at £8.95, but £7.95 if pre-ordered from Colin Stanley at email@example.com - the publication is number 22 in the Colin Wilson Studies series.
UPDATE JULY 2013
The new edition of Colin Wilson's 1970 novel The God of the Labyrinth, with an introduction by Gary Lachman, is now available from Valancourt Books. See also Update February 2013, below.
The late Paul Newman's autobiography, The Last Musketeer, has been published by Lulu. It is likely to be of interest to Colin Wilson fans and past subscribers to Abraxas and the Colin Wilson Newsletter. Click here for information about the book.
UPDATE JUNE 2013
Entries by Nicolas Tredell, a writer on literature, culture and fillm, on all 20 of Colin Wilson's published novels, from Ritual in the Dark (1960) to Spider World: Shadowland (2003) are now available at the online Literary Encyclopedia. This is a subscription site but the opening passage of each entry can be sampled free at http://www.litencyc.com/ - Nicolas Tredell is the author of The Novels of Colin Wilson (1982, second edition 2007 as Existence and Evolution: The Novels of Colin Wilson).
See new Reviews feature in the Views section.See Colin Stanley's essay on Colin Wilson's first novel at the London Fictions website. .UPDATE MAY 2013
A volume comprising Comments on Boredom and Evolutionary Humanism and the New Psychology by Colin Wilson is published by Paupers' Press on May 27 at £7.95 (Colin Wilson Studies No. 21). In two important and previously unpublished essays from the 1970s, Wilson, in the first, responds to an article on boredom published in a US newspaper in 1974 and, in the second, lays the foundations for a new descriptive psychology. Vaughan Rapatahana, in his introduction, concludes: 'Most significantly, Wilson remains ever the optimist - the articles here are suffused in positiveness and both are stimulating - they make sure you cogitate and they force you to ponder further.' Until the end of May, Paupers' Press (www.pauperspress.com) is offering the book at the special price of £6.95.
UPDATE APRIL 2013
Colin Stanley's Colin Wilson's 'Occult Trilogy': A Guide for Students comes out on May 31 (published by Axis Mundi at £9.99). Colin Stanley will be at a book-signing event at Watkins Bookshop, Cecil Court, London, on July 18 at 6.30pm where he will give a talk on 'Colin Wilson and the Occult'. The trilogy referred to is Wilson's The Occult (1971), Mysteries: An Investigation into the Occult, the Paranormal and the Supernatural (1978) and Beyond the Occult (1988). Colin Stanley provides an analysis of each book, appending full bibliographical details to facilitate further study. The three books ran to a monumental 1,600 pages and spawned many lesser works.
For those who cannot make the book-signing event, a transcript of the talk will be in the next edition of Pentacle Magazine. Colin Stanley, Wilson's bibliographer and editor of the Paupers' Press 'Colin Wilson Studies' series, has also completed the manuscript of a students' guide to Wilson's existential criticism, for which he is seeking a publisher.
The Colin Wilson Archive
at the University of Nottingham makes good progress with nearly 900 items now catalogued.
The new Valancourt editions of The World of Violence and Man Without a Shadow are now available.
See this comment from a recent discoverer of Colin Wilson's The Outsider (1956): http://thewestsiderblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/do-judge-a-book-by-its-cover/
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2013
New editions of two Colin Wilson novels, Ritual in the Dark (1960) and The Philosopher's Stone (1969) have just been published by Valancourt Books and can be ordered through Amazon. The new edition of Ritual in the Dark, Wilson's first novel, includes his introduction to the 1993 edition. Colin Stanley, Wilson's bibliographer, has written new forewords to both books. Valancourt, which specialises in new editions of rare fiction from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, says it was 'shocked' to find these two novels were out of print. Further Wilson titles to come are Man Without a Shadow (1963), with an introduction by Colin Stanley, The World of Violence (1963), with an introduction by Nicholas Tredell, and God of the Labyrinth, with an introduction by Gary Lachman. It seems likely that Valancourt, based in Kansas City, USA, will be publishing more Wilson titles in the future.
UPDATE JANUARY 2013
This portrait of Colin Wilson (right), which now graces the Colin Wilson World home page, has been created by artist Stephen Humphries. Here are links to Stephen's website and blog.
Colin Wilson's appearance on the BBC radio programme 'Desert Island Discs', broadcast on October 21, 1978, has now been made available for download from the BBC website.
UPDATE DECEMBER 2012
As part of the Paupers’ Press 30thanniversary celebrations, Colin Stanley, managing editor, and Adam Daly, author of The Outsider-Writer, will be in conversation at the European Bookshop,5 Warwick Street, London W1B 5LU (off Regent Street) at 7pm on Thursday,February 7,2013. Topics covered will be Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider (1956), and his connection with Paupers’ Press, and Outsider-Writers Fernando Pessoa, Carlo-Emilio Gadda, and Blaise Cendrars.Adam Daly will also discuss some of his other work, past and present, and his concerns as a writer.After the discussion there will be a question and answer session.Admission is free, and refreshments will be available.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012
The Colin Wilson World website has received the welcome accolade of being selected by the British Library for addition to its UK Web Archive which contains sites that 'reflect the rich diversity of lives and interests throughout the UK'. The purpose of the archive is to collect, preserve and give permanent access to key UK websites for future generations. Selected websites are considered to be of long-term research value, either in themselves or as part of a Special Collection of themed materials. They are chosen to represent a range of social, political, cultural, religious, scientific or economic activities. The archive (www.webarchive.org.ukfounded in 2004, is free to view.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2012
Colin Stanley, Colin Wilson's bibliographer, is giving a talk on ‘Colin Wilson and the Occult’ for the Atlantis Bookshop at the Cartoonist Pub, 76 Shoe Lane (off Fleet Street), London EC4A 3JB, on the evening of Wednesday, December 12, from 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 and can be had from the Atlantis Bookshop, tel. 020 7405 2120, or e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.theatlantisbookshop.com
Vaughan Rapatahana's Philosophical (a)Musings is available at both Lulu and Amazon, subtitled Colin Wilson, Me and the Meaning of Life. This is a collection of Vaughan's many reviews of books by Colin Wilson, plus Vaughan's extrapolations from the ideas of Wilson into the realms of original metaphysical philosophy.
UPDATE MAY 2012
Colin Wilson World is back - at last! The new-look site should have been available from May 1 but due to a range of technical problems following a Microsoft changeover it has taken nearly a month to get it up and running again. There are still a few minor problems to iron out but, generally, the site is now tidier and easier to navigate. Your comments are welcome via the Contacts page. Geoff Ward
UPDATE APRIL 2012
Pauper's Press has a pre-publication offer, at £12 including postage to the UK, of volume one of The Outsider-Writer by Adam Daly, due out on June 18 at £16.95 (volume two will appear in November 2012). Daly says: 'The Outsider-Writer is an attempt to re-launch a marginalized branch of studies that has lain somewhat dormant since Colin Wilson wrote the ‘Outsider-Cycle’ over half a century ago.'
In the first volume of the study, Daly presents lengthy assessments of some of the ‘heavyweights’, including Wilson himself, Albert Camus and John Cowper Powys, plus cameos of several female 'outsider-writers' including Jean Rhys, Ann Quin, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Richardson, Lucy Swan, Jane Gaskell and Sylvia Plath. Daly's aim is to: 'redress the balance, and in the process shake up the cosy conspiratorial consensus of the academic mainstream, the cultural establishment, and the corporate commercial market, in setting out an intransigently radical agenda for the emancipation of all writers who feel out of step and sympathy with fashionable literary genres, nostrums and tastes...'
Cheques should be made payable to Colin Stanley, or email email@example.com to use PayPal - Paupers’ Press, 37 Quayside Close, Trent Bridge, Nottingham, United Kingdom NG2 3BP.
UPDATE MARCH 2012
A few copies of The Leap by Bill Hopkins (the reprint of the originally titled The Divine and The Decay, 1957), with its introduction by Colin Wilson, are available at £18 each, including post within the UK, from Colin Stanley at Paupers Press (www.pauperspress.com). The copies are new and unread with only slight rubbing on the dust-jacket spine. Hopkins died in May 2011.