[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

The Outsider (1956) - Colin Wilson

Related: Colin Wilson - literature - outsider - existentialism - 1956

The Outsider is a non-fiction book by Colin Henry Wilson first published in 1956. Through the works and lives of various artists - including H. G. Wells (Mind at the End of its Tether), Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Harley Granville-Barker (The Secret Life), Herman Hesse, T. E. Lawrence, Vincent Van Gogh, Vaslav Nijinsky, George Bernard Shaw, William Blake, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Fyodor Dostoevsky - Wilson explores the psyche of the Outsider, his effect on society, and society's effect on him. --Wikipedia [Aug 2006]

The Outsider (1956) - Colin Wilson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


First Sentence:
AT FIRST SIGHT, the Outsider is a social problem. Read the first page

Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs):
thought riddled nature, ridden chaos, visionary faculty, bourgeois compromise, mind suicide, definitive act

Capitalized Phrases (CAPs): (learn more)
Van Gogh, Evan Strowde, The Brothers Karamazov, George Fox, William James, End of Its Tether, The Seven Pillars, Henry James, Thomas Mann, Emil Sinclair, Grand Inquisitor, Oliver Gauntlett, Barbusse Outsider, The Idiot, Eternal Recurrence, Vaslav Nijinsky, Joan Westbury, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Existentialist Outsider, Old Testament, Ivan Karamazov, Chuang Tzu, The Birth of Tragedy, Frederick Nietzsche, British Museum

Blurb from "The Outsider"
The outsider is the seminal work on alienation, creativity and the modern mind-set. First published over thirty years ago, it made its youthful author England's mos controversial intellectual.

The Outsider is an individual engaged in an intense self-exploration - a person who lives at the edge, challenges cultural values, and "stands for Truth." Born into a world without perspective, where others simply drift through life, the Outsider creates his own set of rules and lives them in an unsympathetic environment. The relative handful of people who fulfilled Wilson's definition of Outsider in the 1950s have become a significant social force in the 80's, making WIlon's vision more relevant today than ever.

Through the works and lives of various artists - including Kafka, Camus, Eliot, Hemingway, Hesse, Lawrence, Van Gogh, Nijinsky, Shaw, Blake, Nietzsche, and Dostoyevski - Wilson explores the psyche of the Outsider, his effect on society, and society's effect on him. Wilson illuminates the struggle of those who seek only the transformation of Self but also the transformation of society as a whole. The book is essential for everyone who share's Wilson's conviction that "a new religion is needed."

The apparent dichotomy between affirmation and possible suicide is tackled in a series of seven books published between 1955 and 1966 labelled The Outsider Cycle by their author Colin Wilson. Consisting of The Outsider, Religion and the Rebel, The Age of Defeat (Stature of Man, in America), The Origin of Sexual Impulse, The Strength to Dream, Beyond the Outsider and Introduction to the New Existentialism. These works culminate in what Wilson labels his ‘New Existentialism or Existentialism mark three; with Romanticism as Existentialism mark one and early twentieth century Existentialism as mark two. This I will clarify shortly.

Wilson first notes that this state of mind that refuses to feel at home in a dehumanised world is not a twentieth century phenomena, but has its founding in the poets, artists and writers of the European Romantic movement. Wilson argues that he sees the origins of Romanticism in Newton’s Principia Mathematica. With it, man had been repositioned in the universe with the option, if he wished, to obtain what would seem to be ultimate knowledge. Man was free to pick fruit from the tree of knowledge, at will. As opposed to the view that God distributed knowledge at his own discretion to a subservient mass. With this new bound freedom in hand, the early Romantics felt that although the world was a difficult place, the ‘visions of ecstasy’ and ‘moments of affirmation’ enabled the introduction of a deeper meaning hidden from the harsh face of reality. --http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/incwriters/issue2vol2.rtf [Dec 2005]


  1. The Country of the Blind
  2. World Without Values
  3. The Romantic Outsider
  4. The Attempt to Gain Control
  5. The Pain Threshold
  6. The Question of Identity
  7. The Great Synthesis
  8. The Outsider as Visionary
  9. Breaking the Circuit;

Freedom posits free-will

From The Outsider (1956) by Colin Wilson:

"Freedom posits free-will. But Will can only operate when there is first a motive. No motive, no willing. But motive is a matter of belief; you would not want to do anything unless you believed it possible and meaningful. And belief must be the belief in the existence of something; that is to say, it concerns what is real. So, ultimately, freedom depends upon the real. The Outsider's sense of unreality cuts off his freedom at the root. It is as impossible to exercise freedom in an unreal world as it is to jump while you are falling."

See also: Colin Wilson - free - will - motive - reality

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications