Dreaming to Some Purpose The Autobiography of Colin Wilson


  • Hardcover
  • 416 pages
  • Dreaming to Some Purpose The Autobiography of Colin Wilson
  • Colin Wilson
  • English
  • 11 February 2016
  • 9781844131884

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Dreaming to Some Purpose The Autobiography of Colin WilsonThe most striking feature of this book is that it makes it clear I don't really like Colin Wilson I first heard about him at the melbourne existential society via Howard Dosser who features in this auto biography and impressed me as an excellent speaker and philosopher The main problem I find in dealing with Wilson's ideas is the uestion of class Dosser inspired me with 'overcoming' in his descriptions of not letting class identity limit anyone in what they might wish to do In the spirit of Wilson he preached that if kids from the working class suburbs want to become Supreme Court judges then they shouldn't let anything stop them Reading Wilson's depictions of his struggles with poverty and grinding away at jobs he hated was depressing but his eventual escape to the middle classes could have been of a triumph Hand to mouth on a higher plane is the way it lookedA working class hero? Sure not a traitor I found Wilson very unlikeable Starting with his sexuality a product of the 50's not entirely unsympathetic yet deeply repugnant At least honest he was also a terrible gossip sparing no one in any little personal detail he happened to come across No one can doubt he was a hard worker But is workaholism really a virtue? The uantity was there but I have my doubts about the uality And he had an opinion on everything I struggled to see the relevance of uite a bit of his judgementalism He had many interesting ideas but couldn't seem to separate between important an unimportant observations He would seem to just make some stuff up and call it a discovery A lot of the urgency and confidence in obscure theories seems dated nowHis emphasis on will and ideas about dominance are a bit unpalatable to me and his research on murder and sexuality just seems a bit creepy Not to defend bourgeoise morality but his interests are not really to my tasteHe led an interesting life and as an historic document the 60's to 80's are rendered in so much sueamish detail it is uite fascinating That he believed in himself despite the critics is inspiring and I don't think anyone could doubt that he deserved the success he had The global publishing industry is very different now but Wilson's story despite my misgivings still inspires with a tale of effort rewarded and an intellect exercised 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 uestions of life and death and writing with an erudition and an easy way with ideas that is rare in English literary life I will always owe Wilson A great entertaining read What a writer So natural and readable I've only read one of Wilson's books GI Gurdjieff The War Against Sleep and that was many years ago Having learnt about Wilson since then I'm not motivated to familiarize myself with his other publications Substantial criticisms of Wilson have been made by others with far stronger claims to competence in this area A good summary has been published in a recent blog post by independent writer Kevin R D Shepherd who has been writing critically about Wilson and related figures since the late 1970s See Colin Wilson posted January 2018 The outsider philsophercrank's autobiography The early years are scandalous fun as he rises and falls from mainstream success and attempts to transit from an inwardly focussed working class life through sudden literary superstardom to some sort of working relationship with life It geets less interesting as he settles into domesticity and a lifetime of toying with fringe ideas This is the autobiography an original mind who without formal training wrote mostly about ideas from an unconventional intelligent and psychologically adventurous expereince of life I think its in here he suggests the idea is not to escape reality but to create it I have read it twice and enjoy reading of his uest for knowledge and over the years have found numerous new authors via his books Recommended read for Colin Wilson aficionado's a truly uniue British self educated voice A memoir of erudition spooky sex and strangeness This man has an amazing mind thoroughly enjoyed this book


About the Author: Colin Wilson

Librarian Note There is than one author by this name in the Goodreads databaseColin Henry Wilson was born and raised in Leicester England UK He left school at 16 worked in factories and various occupations and read in his spare time When Wilson was 24 Gollancz published The Outsider 1956 which examines the role of the social 'outsider' in seminal works of various key literary and