An appreciation of the author Colin Wilson (1931-2013) - philosopher, critic, novelist
Credit must go to John B Morgan, Colin Stanley for his Colin Wilson bibliography, and to Howard F Dossor’s Colin Wilson: The Man and His Mind, in compiling this list of works. Those seeking complete reference should consult Colin Stanley's The Ultimate Colin Wilson Bibliography (1956-2015).
Any alternate US titles are given below, the date of the work’s first publication, any notes of interest, translations, and a subject category. The latter, of course, is perfunctory because so many of Wilson’s works are hard to categorise. For example, most of the Outsider books are described as philosophy, but in actuality they are combinations of philosophy, literary criticism/theory, psychology, theology, and sociology. The labels act only as guides.
1. The Outsider. 1956. The first book in the Outsider cycle by Wilson, intended to outline his concept of the New Existentialism (the idea which underlies all of his work), and probably still his most famous work. Probably also the best starting place. It has been translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Finnish, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Chinese and Swedish. Philosophy.
2. Religion and the Rebel. 1957. The second book in the Outsider cycle. Translated into Arabic and Japanese. Philosophy.
3. The Age of Defeat (US: The Stature of Man). 1959. The third book in the Outsider cycle. Translated into Japanese. Philosophy.
4. Ritual in the Dark. 1960. Wilson first wrote this book in 1949 and then revised it prior to publication. Many still consider it to be his best work of fiction. It is the first volume in the Gerard Sorme trilogy. Translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Danish, German, Italian, Japanese and Norwegian. Fiction.
5. Encyclopedia of Murder. With Patricia Pitman. 1961. The first in Wilson’s trilogy on the subject of murder. Translated into Italian, Japanese and Spanish. Criminology.
6. Adrift in Soho. 1961. Translated into Dutch, French and Spanish. Fiction.
7. The Strength to Dream: Literature and the Imagination. 1961. The fourth book in the Outsider cycle. Translated into Spanish, Korean, and Japanese. Philosophy.
8. Origins of the Sexual Impulse. 1963. The fifth book in the Outsider cycle. Translated into Spanish and Italian. Psychology.
9. The World of Violence (US: The Violent World of Hugh Greene). 1963. Translated into Spanish. Fiction.
10. Man Without a Shadow (US: The Sex Diary of Gerard Sorme). 1963. The second book in the Gerard Sorme trilogy. Translated into French, Dutch, Korean, Italian and Japanese. Fiction.
11. Rasputin and the Fall of the Romanovs. 1964. Translated into Spanish and Japanese. Biography.
12. Brandy of the Damned. 1964. Later expanded and reprinted as Chords and Discords. See no.16. Music.
13. Necessary Doubt. 1964. Translated into Dutch and Spanish. Fiction.
14. Beyond the Outsider. 1965. The sixth, and last, book in the Outsider cycle. Translated into Arabic and Japanese. Philosophy.
15. Eagle and Earwig. 1965. Translated into Japanese. Literary criticism.
16. Chords and Discords: Purely Personal Opinions on Music. 1966. An expanded version of Brandy of the Damned (see no.12), with an added chapter on American composers, printed in England as Colin Wilson on Music. Translated into Japanese. Music.
17. Sex and the Intelligent Teenager. 1966. Translated into Japanese, Dutch and Danish. Psychology.
18. Introduction to the New Existentialism. 1966. A summary of the ideas contained in the Outsider cycle. According to his introduction to the 1980 edition, Wilson considers this book to be the pinnacle of his philosophy. Translated into Japanese. Philosophy.
19. The Glass Cage. 1966. Translated into French, Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese. Fiction.
20. The Mind Parasites. 1967. Translated into Italian, French and Japanese. Fiction.
21. Voyage to a Beginning. 1969. Translated into Japanese. Autobiography.
22. A Casebook of Murder. 1969. The second book in Wilson’s trilogy on murder. Translated into Korean and Japanese. Criminology.
23. Bernard Shaw: A Reassessment. 1969. A biography and analysis of the works of George Bernard Shaw. Translated into Japanese. Biography/literary criticism.
24. The Philosopher’s Stone. 1969. Translated into Japanese. Fiction.
25. Poetry and Mysticism. 1969. Published by City Lights, this book was subsequently significantly expanded; see no. 28. Philosophy.
26. L'amour: The Ways of Love. 1970. Wilson wrote the text accompanying a series of sexual photographs taken by Piero Rinaldi. Sex.
27. The Strange Genius of David Lindsay. With E.H. Visiak and J.B. Pick. 1970. An analysis of the work of the bizarre English science fiction writer. Later expanded; see no. 55. Literary criticism.
28. Poetry and Mysticism. 1970. A significant expansion of no. 25. Philosophy.
29. Strindberg. 1970. A play based on the life of Strindberg. Drama.
30. The God of the Labyrinth (US: The Hedonists). 1970. The third book in the Gerard Sorme trilogy. Translated into Dutch and Spanish. Fiction.
31. The Killer (US: Lingard). 1970. Translated into Spanish and Japanese. Fiction.
32. The Occult. 1971. After The Outsider, this may well be Wilson’s most acclaimed work. Presenting a history of occult practices, it is a classic of its type. Translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Danish, German, Japanese and Dutch. Occult.
33. The Black Room. 1971. Translated into Japanese. Fiction.
34. Order of Assassins: The Psychology of Murder. 1972. The last volume in Wilson’s murder trilogy. Translated into Italian, Spanish, French and Japanese. Criminology/psychology.
35. New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow and the Post-Freudian Revolution. 1972. Wilson and Maslow were acquainted, thus Wilson has a particularly interesting take on his work. Translated into Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and Swedish. Psychology.
36. Strange Powers. 1973. A sort of companion volume to The Occult, regarding some new occult figures that Wilson encountered after the writing of that book. Translated into Japanese. Occult.
37. 'Tree’ by Tolkien. 1973. Wilson’s study of the works of fantasist J. R.R. Tolkien. Literary criticism.
38. Hermann Hesse. 1974. An examination of the work of Hermann Hesse. Literary criticism.
39. Wilhelm Reich. 1974. A small essay including a biography and examination of the work of the psychologist Wilhelm Reich. Collected in no. 41. Biography/psychology.
40. Jorge Luis Borges. 1974. A small essay examining the work of Jorge Luis Borges. Collected in no. 41. Literary criticism.
41. Hesse-Reich-Borges: Three Essays. 1974. A collection of essays on the three authors. Literary criticism/psychology.
42. Ken Russell: A Director in Search of a Soul. 1974. An interview, a biography and a critical look at the film director. Film criticism.
43. The Return of the Lloigor. 1974. Translated into Japanese. Fiction.
44. A Book of Booze. 1974. A look at alcohol in all its aspects. Translated into Japanese. Alcohol.
45. The Schoolgirl Murder Case. 1974. Translated into Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and German. Fiction.
46. The Unexplained. 1975. An edited version of The Occult. Occult.
47. Mysterious Powers (US: They Had Strange Powers). 1975. Translated into Spanish, Italian and Japanese. Occult.
48. The Craft of the Novel. 1975. An examination of novels and novelists from the perspective of writing. Translated into Japanese. Literary criticism.
49. Enigmas and Mysteries. 1975. Translated into Italian and Japanese. Occult.
50. The Geller Phenomenon. 1975. A biography, interview and study of the work of occultist Raetsel von Geller. Translated into German. Occult.
51. The Space Vampires. 1976. Filmed in 1985 as the movie Lifeforce, under which name it has also been reprinted. Translated into Spanish, Japanese, French, Dutch and Swedish. Fiction.
52. Colin Wilson’s Men of Mystery (US: Dark Dimensions). Also includes contributions from other authors. 1977. Primarily a restatement of Wilson’s earlier writings on the occult. Occult.
53. Mysteries. 1978. A sequel to The Occult. Occult.
54. Mysteries of the Mind. With Stuart Holroyd. 1978. A reprinting of Mysterious Powers, plus the Holroyd text. Occult.
55. The Haunted Man: The Strange Genius of David Lindsay. 1979. An expanded version of Wilson’s contribution to no. 27. Literary criticism.
56. Science Fiction as Existentialism. 1980. A short essay later included in no. 96. Literary criticism.
57. Starseekers. 1980. A look at both speculative and scientific cosmology. Cosmology.
58. Frankenstein’s Castle: The Double Brain, Door to Wisdom. 1980. Wilson puts his philosophy in the context of recent split-brain theories. Psychology.
59. The Book of Time, edited by John Grant and Colin Wilson. 1980. A study of time and its nature by numerous authors, including Wilson. Science.
60. The War Against Sleep: The Philosophy of Gurdjieff. 1980. A biography and study of the occultist Gurdjieff. Occult.
* Harry Secombe and Arthur Askey clowning with Wilson titles Origins of the Sexual Impulse (1963) and Necessary Doubt (1964), accompanied by singer Alma Cogan, at the launch of John Lennon's book, In His Own Write, in 1964. Wilson, who was MC for the occasion, evidently took the opportunity of promoting two of his latest books!
61. The Directory of Possibilities, edited by Colin Wilson and John Grant. 1981. A look at various strange phenomena by various authors, including Wilson. Occult.
62. Poltergeist: A Study in Destructive Haunting. 1981. Occult.
63. Witches. 1981. Occult.
64. Anti-Sartre, with an Essay on Camus. 1981. Wilson’s attack on Sartre’s philosophy, as well as an account of his meeting with Camus in 1957. Philosophy.
65. The Quest for Wilhelm Reich. 1982. A biography and study of psychologist Wilhelm Reich. Translated into Spanish. Psychology.
66. The Goblin Universe. With Ted Holiday. 1982. Occult.
67. Access to Inner Worlds: The Story of Brad Absetz. 1983. Wilson’s case for the future of humanity’s evolution. Philosophy.
68. Encyclopedia of Modern Murder, 1962-82. 1983. An update of no. 5. Criminology.
69. The Psychic Detectives: The Story of Psychometry and Paranormal Crime Detection. 1984. More of a study of psychometry than criminology, although there are aspects of both. Occult/criminology.
70. A Criminal History of Mankind. 1984. Criminology.
71. Lord of the Underworld: Jung and the Twentieth Century. 1984. A study of the psychologist C. G. Jung. Psychology.
72. The Janus Murder Case. 1984. A semi-sequel to The Schoolgirl Murder Case. Fiction.
73. The Bicameral Critic. 1985. A collection of essays that Wilson has printed in various places over the years. Philosophy.
74. The Essential Colin Wilson. 1985. A selection of Wilson’s writings, most previously published. Philosophy.
75. Rudolf Steiner: The Man and His Vision. 1985. A study of the founder of anthroposophy. Translated into Italian. Biography/philosophy.
76. Afterlife: An Investigation of the Evidence of Life After Death. 1985. Occult.
77. The Personality Surgeon. 1985. Fiction.
78. An Encyclopedia of Scandal. Edited by Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman. 1986. An alphabetical listing of 52 famous scandals. Criminology.
79. G. I. Gurdjieff: The War Against Sleep. 1986. A reprint of no. 60 with an additional chapter. Biography/occult.
80. The Book of Great Mysteries. Edited by Colin Wilson and Dr Christopher Evans. 1986. Writings on the occult by many authors including Wilson. Occult.
81. An Essay on the New Existentialism. 1988. A new essay on themes from the Outsider cycle. Philosophy.
82. The Laurel and Hardy Theory of Consciousness. 1986. A reprint of chapter ten of no. 73. Psychology.
83. Spider World: The Tower. 1987. The first volume in the Spider World trilogy. This was split into three parts published separately by Ace Books in the US. Fiction.
84. Spider World: The Delta. 1987. The second volume in the Spider World trilogy. Fiction.
85. Marx Refuted: The Verdict of History. Edited by Ronald Duncan and Colin Wilson. 1987. A collection of essays on Marx by various notable authors, including Arthur Koestler, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, A. L. Rowse, Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher. Wilson himself contributes. Political science.
86. Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast. 1987. A biography of the occultist. Biography.
87. The Musician as ‘Outsider’. 1987. A short essay on the romantic composers. Music.
88. The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries. With Damon Wilson. 1987. An alphabetised account of 42 famous mysteries. Note: Damon Wilson is Colin’s son. Occult.
89. Jack the Ripper: Summing Up and Verdict. With Robin Odell. 1987. A study of the most famous unsolved crime in history. Criminology.
90. Autobiographical Reflections. 1988. A short book summarising and updating his earlier Voyage to a Beginning. Autobiography.
91. The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders. 1988. Philosophy.
92. Beyond the Occult. 1988. Occult.
93. The Mammoth Book of True Crime. 1988. A reprinting of most of Wilson’s contributions to Crimes and Punishments. Criminology.
94. The Magician from Siberia. 1988. Fiction.
95. The Decline and Fall of Leftism. 1989. Political science.
96. Written in Blood: A History of Forensic Detection. 1989. Criminology.
97. Existentially Speaking: Essays on the Philosophy of Literature. 1989. A collection of essays, most previously published, on numerous authors. Literary criticism.
98. Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence. 1990. Criminology.
99. Spider World: The Magician. 1992. The third volume in the Spider World trilogy. Fiction. Note: The Spider World trilogy: The Tower, The Delta, The Magician were re-issued by Hampton Roads in the USA in 2001-2002.
100. The Strange Life of P D Ouspensky. 1993. Occult.
101. Unsolved Mysteries. With Damon Wilson. 1993. Criminology.
102. A Plague of Murder. 1995. Criminology.
103. From Atlantis to the Sphinx. 1996. Archaeology/occult.
104. The Atlas of Sacred Places. 1996. Religion.
105. The Books in My Life. 1998. Literature/philosophy.
106. Alien Dawn. 1999. Occult/UFOs.
107. The Devil’s Party. (US: Rogue Messiahs) 2000. A history of charlatan messiahs through the ages. Religion.
108. The Atlantis Blueprint. With Rand Flem-Ath. 2000. Occult/archaeology.
109. Dreaming to Some Purpose. 2004. Autobiography
110. A Criminal History of Mankind. Criminology/philosophy. Fully revised and updated. 2006.
111. Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals. 2006. Ancient civilisations.
112. The Angry Years: the rise and fall of the angry young men. 2007. Biography/criticism.
113. Manhunters: criminal profilers and their search for the World's most wanted serial killers. 2007. Criminology.
114. Super Consciousness: the Quest for the Peak Experience. 2009. Psychology/philosophy.
115. An End to Murder. Completed by Damon Wilson after the death of his father. September 2015. Criminology/philosophy.
* Colin Wilson in Frith Street, Soho. On July 21, 2009, Colin, his daughter Sally, Colin Stanley and film director Pablo Behrens visited Soho during the making of a documentary video aimed at attracting backers for the film of Adrift in Soho. Colin was filmed reading from his novel and reminiscing about his days in Soho. A copy of the novel is on the table beside him. Pablo is behind the camera, right. Colin Stanley took the photo.