1931–2013, English writer, b. Leicester. Born into a working-class family and largely self-educated, Wilson in many of his books exhorts humankind to expand its powers and realize its full potential. He gained wide and mainly positive critical attention with his first book, The Outsider
(1956), which seeks to define the meaning of human existence, praising individuals of rare vision, e.g., Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Nietzsche, G. B. Shaw, et al., who realize that life is futile and who stand apart from a society that conceals this unpleasant truth. Wilson wrote more than 100 works, both nonfiction and fiction, and showed a considerable interest in mystery, murder, the paranormal, and the occult. Among his other books are Beyond the Outsider
(1965), The Glass Cage
(1966), The Mind Parasites
(1967), Bernard Shaw: A Reassessment
(1969), The Occult
(1971), Order of Assassins
(1972), Hesse, Reich, Borges
(1974), Life Force
(1985), Beyond the Occult
(1988), Alien Dawn
(1998), and Devil's Party
See his Autobiographical Reflections (1988) and memoirs, Voyage to a Beginning (1969) and Dreaming to Some Purpose (2004); studies by S. R. Campion (1962), J. A. Wiegel (1975), C. P. Bendau (1979), N. Tredell (1982), K. G. Bergström (1983), J. Moorhouse (1989), H. F. Dossor (1990), G. Lachman (1994), and S. R. Campion (2011); annotated bibliography by C. Stanley (1989).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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