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Thursday, April 4, 2019
Interview with Author Colin Stanley
The Ultimate Colin Wilson
1: What inspired you to write the book? Well, I didn’t write the
book. I am the editor. The existentialist philosopher and novelist Colin Wilson
(1931-2013) is the author. In 1985 he selected and edited his own essential
reader, published as The Essential Colin
Wilson. This contained carefully selected extracts from all his most
important books, including The Outsider
(1956) and The Occult (1971). In the
ensuing 28 years he wrote many more books but never updated his essential
reader. As his bibliographer, the author of several students’ guides to his
work (including An Evolutionary Leap:
Colin Wilson and Psychology), the founder of his archive at the University
of Nottingham and convenor of two international Colin Wilson Conferences there,
I was in the best possible position to collaborate with four other Wilson
experts, including Gary Lachman (author of Beyond
the Robot: the life and work of Colin Wilson), to compile an update which,
because it adds to the original, we decided to rename The Ultimate Colin Wilson.
2. Who should read it—and why? he book is
intended to introduce the work of Colin Wilson—one of the most stimulating and
challenging writers and thinkers of our time—to those approaching it for the
first time and to provide bite-sized reminders of essential aspects of this
work to Wilson’s fans and scholars of which there are many in this country, the
USA and throughout the world (having had his work translated into over 30
languages). But the book will also be of interest to those who study
existentialism, mysticism, the occult, psychology, criminology and literature—all
of which polymath Wilson has written about in depth during his long career.
3: How is it better or different from others in its genre? It is
better than the original essential reader because it is expanded to include
excerpts from some of Wilson’s important later works including The Books in My Life (1998), The Misfits (1988), Below the Iceberg (1998) and his epic science fantasy novels Spider World (1987). No other
publication provides such a comprehensive collection of extracts from all of
Wilson’s best work in one volume.
4: What challenges did you overcome to write your book? Well, of course, the greatest challenge was to
read all of Wilson’s 100-plus books written since 1985 to choose the best
possible extracts. Fortunately I had help from four other experts: Gary
Lachman, Nicolas Tredell (author of Novels
to Some Purpose: the fiction of Colin Wilson), Dr Vaughan Rapatahana
(author of Wilson as Mystic) and
Geoff Ward (compiler of the Wilson website: colinwilsonworld.net).
5: What lasting messages do you hope your readers are left after
consuming your book?I hope that this
will encourage new readers to seek-out the original works—particularly Wilson’s
‘Outsider Cycle’ of books and the corresponding novels—many of which have been,
or are in the process of being, reprinted. And I would like existing fans/scholars
to re-acquaint themselves with a refreshingly optimistic philosopher whose
positive ‘new existentialism’ points the way toward a new stage in the
evolution of mankind.
6: What advice do you have for struggling writers? Be
positive…believe in your ability. Wilson certainly did!
7: Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? As a
publisher myself—I run a small press by the name of Paupers’ Press (www.pauperspress.co.uk)—I see a bright
future. There will always be a hunger for knowledge, whether that knowledge is
conveyed in print or electronically…or both! Embrace technology, embrace the
future but do not forget, or write-off, what has for centuries been the main
disseminator of knowledge: the printed word!