Colin Wilson Redivivus: A Plea

Age of Defeat

New Aristeia Edition of Colin Wilson’s Age of Defeat

Aristeia is a small start-up press in London whose initial project, undertaken in collaboration with the Joy Wilson and Colin Wilson Estate, is to return to print in a uniform edition Wilson’s “Outsider Cycle.” People of my age and my intellectual proclivities will likely remember Wilson (1931 – 2013) as the author of non-conformist philosophical books that took the modern condition to task and as a prolific novelist whose Ritual in the Dark, Necessary Doubt, The Mind Parasites, and The Philosopher’s Stone, among others, rehearsed the non-fiction arguments with allegorical verve. Wilson’s first book, the non-fictional Outsider, appeared in 1956 and became a surprise bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic. Wilson’s emergent currency even got him on the cover of Life Magazine.

Aristeia has previously put out a new edition of Religion and the Rebel (which bore the brunt of the establishment’s abrupt turn-around regarding Wilson); it has now given us a new edition of the third installment of Wilson’s philosophical cycle — The Age of Defeat. I am humbled to have been asked to participate in this project by supplying an introduction, “Bucking the Whimper,” to The Age, a book that remains as relevant to the West’s cultural decline as it was when it first appeared. Indeed, the book is the more relevant because the situation is six decades worse than it was in 1958.

The Age, along with Religion and the Rebel, is available either directly through Aristeia or through Amazon. The Amazon price is fifteen dollars, which gets the buyer a handsome trade paperback printed extremely legibly on good paper — not to mention Wilson’s rapier-like critique of the post-war anti-heroic and self-de-masculinizing society of Western Europe and North America. I strongly recommend The Age and hope that no few readers of The Orthosphere will take the risk of purchasing it.

7 thoughts on “Colin Wilson Redivivus: A Plea

  1. Thanks for the heads-up. I read many of Wilson’s books over the years, but never his fiction, and ironically, never the book that first made him famous. I will order this book today.

  2. Pingback: Colin Wilson Redivivus: A Plea | Reaction Times

  3. Is it best to read these books in order? Or does it not matter?

    I’ve read the Outsider; would reading Religion and the Rebel enhance my reading of the Age of Defeat?

  4. In answer to your question: Yes, but it is not necessary; The Age of Defeat may be read independently of the other items in the cycle. Nevertheless, Religion and the Rebel is an important book, well worth reading.

  5. It’s on my Christmas list! Congratulations–what a fine tribute to CW, whom you and I were privileged to meet at the Ambassador Hotel in 1988? 1989? What a great talk he gave that night!

    • Thank you, old friend. It was 1987, a long time ago. I believe we got a lift to the Ambassador with George Raft and after Wilson’s lecture we had coffee and pie at Dubar’s with Wally George and Mayor Yorty.


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