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Colin Wilson

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Colin Wilson

Pictured in Cornwall, 1984
Born 26 June 1931(1931-06-26)
Leicester, England
Died 5 December 2013(2013-12-05) (aged 82)
Cornwall, England
Occupation Author
Nationality English
Period 1956-2013
Genres Non-fiction and fiction
Literary movement Angry Young Men
Notable work(s) The Outsider
The Occult

Colin Henry Wilson (26 June 1931 – 5 December 2013) was an English novelist and writer. Wilson also wrote widely on true crime and criminology, mysticism, the paranormal, and other topics. In all, there are over 120 books,[1] including some fiction. He preferred to call his philosophy new existentialism or phenomenological existentialism.

Wilson was interested in metaphysics and the occult. In 1971, he wrote a nonfiction book named The Occult: A History. In it, he talked about the beliefs of Aleister Crowley, George Gurdieff, Helena Blavatsky, Kabbalah, primitive magic, Franz Mesmer, Grigori Rasputin, and Paracelsus. He also wrote a biography of Crowley, Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast. He also wrote biographies on other visionaries in spirituality and psychology. Some were about George Gurdjieff, Carl Jung, and Wilhelm Reich.

Wilson suffered a stroke in June 2012 and lost his ability to speak.[2] He died in December 2013, aged 82.

The Outsider

This was the book which made his name. It was really a work of literary criticism, but was also about social philosophy. It was based mainly on the work of Dostoyevsky, Camus and Satre, all of whom featured characters who were lost, outsiders, alienated from society.

Gollancz published the 24-year-old Wilson's The Outsider in 1956. The book became a best-seller and helped popularise existentialism in Britain.[3] It has never been out-of-print since publication day and has been translated into over thirty languages (including Russian and Chinese).


Wilson's writing on crime is quite extensive and commercially successful. He wrote several books about serial killers and murderers.

  • The mammoth book of true crime. New edition 1988. London: Robinson.
  • The serial killers: a study in the psychology of violence. London: W.H. Allen. (with Donald Seaman)
  • A plague of murder: the rise and rise of serial killing in the modern age. London: Robinson.


  1. Colin Wilson World. [1]
  2. "The Quietus - Anthony Reynolds discusses Colin Wilson". Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  3. Kenneth Allsop, The angry decade: a survey of the cultural revolt of the nineteen fifties. London: Peter Owen.

Other websites