Here is a link to a video of a talk I gave at Watkins Bookshop here in London on Friday November 11. Watkins is the oldest and most well-known of London’s esoteric and occult bookshops, having catered to a clientele that included W. B. Yeats, Aleister Crowley, and Mick Jagger – Sir Mick, I mean. It’s a landmark spot, on Cecil Court, an atmospheric alley off Charring Cross Road in the West End, lined with rare book stores and memorabilia shops. I talk about my latest book, Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson, to an appreciative crowd. Watkins has a publishing wing and in recent years has released new editions of some of Wilson’s work, specifically The Occult and Beyond the Occult; they also published one of Wilson’s last works, Superconsciousness.
Here’s a link to a thoughtful and constructive review of Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson by my friend and colleague Richard Smoley, author of How God Became God, Forbidden Faith, and other works on western esotericism. Richard was for many years an editor at Gnosis magazine and is now editor at Quest and his book Inner Christianity is a classic. My review of How God Became God can be found in the September-October issue of New Dawn, no. 158.
Here’s a link to an interview I did recently with Gordon White on his pungent Rune Soup website. Gordon knows his Wilson – and much else besides – and as usual, we discuss many things over a wide range of topics, most of which have something to do with Wilson, existentialism, phenomenology, the occult, consciousness, and what place the Outsider has in our day and age.
Outsiders will have to get their skates on next week. On October 11, I’ll be talking about my new book Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking program. I’ll be speaking with the presenter Matthew Sweet and the writer Suzi Feay, both of whom are fans of Wilson’s work and things off beat in general. The next day I’ll be back in the BBC studios to record an interview for the Wisconsin based talk show To The Best Of Our Knowledge, where I’ll be speaking about Wilson, but also about my work in the history of western esotericism in general. I’m not sure at the moment exactly when that program will be broadcast, but I will post the date when I know. And on the 16th I’ll be talking about Wilson’s time sleeping on Hampstead Heath while writing his first novel Ritual in the Dark at the all-day Folk Horror event being held at the British Museum. Famously, Wilson curled up by night on the Heath in a waterproof sleeping bag , and cycled down to the British Museum in the morning, where he worked on his existential thriller, which is best described as Jack the Ripper meets the Brothers Karamazov. If there is a film to be made of one of Wilson’s’ novels, this is the one.
In recent months I’ve noticed Stephen Greenleaf’s reviews and tweets about my work and have come to appreciate his considered, insightful appraisals and criticisms. So I was chuffed, as they say in the UK, to see that he had written a long, intelligent, and honest review of Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. It’s the kind of review that Colin Wilson himself should have got for some of his books. Notwithstanding Stephen’s reservations about the occult and the afterlife – not to mention Wilson’s own cautious acceptance of them – I feel that if he is not busying himself with more important matters, Wilson may be chuffed – or however one gets on ‘the other side’ – to read what Stephen thinks of the book and its subject himself.
Jeremy Johnson at the new and fascinating website Metapsychosis has posted an excerpt from Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. Jeremy is a mover and shaker within the burgeoning alternative consciousness studies field – which is a clumsy way of saying that he writes intelligently and with insight about important thinkers such as Jean Gebser, William Irwin Thompson (who had some nice words about my book The Secret Teachers of the Western World), Teilhard de Chardin and others who see consciousness as something more than a steam given off by our hardworking brain cells. I’ve corresponded with Jeremy and found him to be an honest, engaging, and, not surprising, integral thinker. Here he shares my account of Colin Wilson’s introduction of “the robot” into his phenomenological vocabulary.
Geoff Ward at the superb Colin Wilson World site has posted an intelligent and insightful review of Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. Geoff is a long-term Wilsonian and knows his stuff, as his review shows. He contributed a brilliant essay, “Superconsciousness: the literary crux,” for the Wilson festschrift Around the Outsider, edited by Colin Stanley, which any true Wilsonian should surely check out.
Speaking of Colin Stanley, today I saw copies of his recent book, An Evolutionary Leap, at the Karnac Bookshop, here in London, proudly on display. I was so moved that I immediately wrote a review of it on amazon.co.uk. Read the review, but more to the point, buy and read the book. It is an important and necessary gathering of Wilson’s key ideas about human psychology and, as P.D. Ouspensky said it, our possible evolution.
I’ve posted an excerpt from the Introduction to my new book, Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson on my blog over at the Daily Grail. Greg Taylor, who tends the grail, very kindly tweeted about the excerpt at Reality Sandwich and invited me to share. So here is an account of my journey, some thirty-three years ago, to meet the original Outsider himself.
The good people at Reality Sandwich have posted an excerpt from my new book, Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson, on their website. It’s taken from Chapter Three, “Breakthrough and Backlash,” and introduces the key figure in all of Wilson’s work, the Outsider. Who or what is the Outsider? Click on the link and find out.
Here’s the kind of review every writer wants. Michael Dirda, the Post’s regular reviewer and a Pulitzer Prize winner, gives his readers two reasons to get Beyond The Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. I’ll give you one guess what they are.