Saturday, December 03, 2005

A shared enthusiasm...

I know I'm not supposed to like Colin Wilson -- or at least I'm not supposed to take him seriously. But I've enjoyed a lot of his books. Poetry and Mysticism, for instance, turned me on to the poetry of Elizabethan scholar A. L. Rowse. I also think there is much to Wilson's insistence on the importance of peak experiences. John Morgan has mounted an excellent Colin Wilson Page and Morgan's Brief Introduction to Colin Wilson's Thought is excellent. Wilson will turn 75 next June. I am already planning to write something about him to honor the occasion.
In the meantime, here's an interview with him.

I also just bought some of Wilson's books. They were out of print, which gives me the opportunity to correct an oversight and introduce people to what I think is one of the best book sites on the Internet: Books & Book Collecting, a subset of Trussel's EclectiCity.

3 comments:

  1. I haven't thought about Colin Wilson for years. I bought and read a number of his books in the early 70s. After one of two never-to-be-duplicated weedings of my library I have only two of his books left: Poetry and Mysticism (the underlinings indicate that I read it pretty closely), and one purchased much later and never read The Philosopher's Stone, a novel in the Warner Paperback "Rediscovery Series" (1974) with an introduction by Joyce Carol Oates. She points out something that I think must've been one of his appealing characteristics for me back then: "Though he uses the arguments and many of the rhetorical devices of rationalism, Wilson is really a man of faith-- that is, a 'man of faith' who believes in the meaningfulness of the universe, though he cannot quite yet decipher these meanings. In his excellent introduction to the encyclopedic The Occult, surely one of the finest books on that subject, Wilson states that 'there are "meanings" floating around us from which we are normally cut off by habit, ignorance and the dullness of the senses . . . . The higher form of life, the deeper its capacity for registering meaning, and the more powerful its hold on life." (pages 9-10) Btw one of the characters in this book is according to Ms Oates ". . . of course, Abraham Maslow . . . ."

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  2. Sorry, the second sentence of that first quoting of Ms Oates should be punctuated at the end thusly:

    "In his excellent introduction to the encyclopedic The Occult, surely one of the finest books on that subject, Wilson states that 'there are "meanings" floating around us from which we are normally cut off by habit, ignorance and the dullness of the senses . . . . The higher form of life, the deeper its capacity for registering meaning, and the more powerful its hold on life.'"

    From 'there' to 'life' is of course a quoting of Mr Wilson.

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  3. Hi Dave;
    Thanks for posting that. I think Oates is exactly right -- and nicely demonstrates that faith needn't be sectarian.

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