Inside the Outsider - Colin Wilson returns to the subject of his million-selling book
Colin Wilson is the bete-noir of the Oxbridge literary establishment. He never went to university, let alone Oxbridge, yet wrote The Outsider, a brilliant account of the pain of being alive today, when he was just twenty-four. It sold millions of copies around the world, and he was acclaimed as one of the leading intellectuals of the age, finding a huge audience with the anti-establishment, alternative and underground thinkers. Because of his radically new attitudes he was - with John Osborne - dubbed an 'angry young man' in the article that originally coined that phrase. In this way a young man from a working class background suddenly found himself moving in the most colourful literary and artistic circles of the day. In his autobiography he tells stories about, among others, Aldous Huxley, Angus Wilson, John Osborne, Kingsley Amis, Kenneth Tynan, Francis Bacon and Norman Mailer - all observed with a true outsider's eye for absurdity. He is regarded by many as a true literary hero - Julian Cope stopped a recent concert to pay tribute to Wilson who as sitting in the audience and Donovan Leitch dedicates his new autobiography to him - but he also has huge mass market appeal. His insightful, brilliant books on the Occult, the Mysteries and Atlantis and the Sphinx were all huge bestsellers netting millions of copies. In this return to the themes of The Outsider, looked at from the point of his own life story, he again proves himself one of the great intellectuals of our age, never ceasing to wrestle with the great questions of life and death, and writing with an erudition and an easy way with ideas that is rare in English literary life.
“Wilson admits that "being alive is grimly hard work". Dreaming to Some Purpose is a good argument that the reward is worth the effort.”
Independent on Sunday
“Books, sex and the meaning of life- a satisfying richness”
“One of the great figures of literature whose importance will one day be recognised”