Colin Wilson Essays

Colin Wilson Essays-13
The proceedings concluded, many of the delegates retired to my house near Trent Bridge to continue the debate fuelled by some good wine.

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The delegates were treated to many audio extracts from these journals during the paper., presented the next paper on a writer about whom Colin Wilson had much to say over the years: H. After a short coffee break, Lindsay Siviter, who, as a trained historian, has worked in various museums around the UK including Scotland Yard’s famous Black Museum, and is an expert on Jack the Ripper, took the delegates on an entertaining chronological guide to Colin Wilson the ‘Ripperologist’ (a term he, apparently, coined).

The final paper in the morning session was given by Nigel Bray.

Since then I have been assisting his widow, Joy, to sort his papers and manuscripts in preparation for their transfer to the archive.

Much of this has been achieved and the University now not only holds copies of all his printed work but also a significant amount of his manuscripts, letters, journals and assorted papers.

Based on a section of his newly published book (mentioned above), his paper, intriguingly entitled ‘Colin Wilson and ‘Dread of Being’’, included an analysis of the author’s important ideas on depression, boredom, and how we can overcome them.

David Moore who runs the blog ‘Ritual in the Dark: essays and reflections on the work of Colin Wilson’ presented the next paper which he entitled ‘The Light Barrier: Existentialism and the occult in Colin Wilson’s science fiction’.

And this provides an insight into why – and how – he went about approaching the bizarre subject of UFOs and extra-terrestrials. For now, let’s turn to two summaries, in his own words, of this ‘new’ existentialism: “The ‘new existentialism’ accepts man’s experience of his inner freedom as basic and irreducible.

Our lives consist of a clash between two visions: our vision of this inner freedom, and our vision of contingency; our intuition of freedom and power, and our everyday feeling of limitation of boredom.” (1966: 180) “The ‘new existentialism’ concentrates the full battery of phenomenological analysis upon the everyday sense of contingency, upon the problem of ‘life devaluation’.” “It [also] suggests mental disciplines through which this waste of freedom can be averted.” (Ibid.) All of his subsequent works contain – whether it’s on crime, the occult, wine or music – insights into the essential mechanisms of the mind and are threaded through with this recognition of a phenomenology of heightened states of consciousness.

In a wonderful example of synchronicity the programme was broadcast from the very auditorium which now holds his archive., a symposium, published by 0-Books in 2011, to celebrate Colin Wilson’s 80th birthday.

For some years Simon has been working on a project to digitalise Colin’s journal which he had recorded onto hundreds of cassette tapes over the years. His enlightening paper contained many quotes from Lovecraft and also touched upon Colin Wilson’s ambivalent attitude to the author’s work.


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