Manuscripts and Special Collections

Colin Wilson event

July 20th, 2011 at 03:07

Last Friday afternoon we hosted an event  to publicise one of our recent acquisistions – the Colin Wilson Collection of books and original materials. Academics and enthusiasts, and fellow-writers from as far afield as Cornwall, Aberdeen, and Sydney Australia gathered together to enjoy a private preview of items from the collection.

Colin Wilson was born in Leicester in 1931. His first book The Outsider , a work of non-fiction exploring the nature of the “outsider” in society,  was published in 1956, and was immediately acclaimed by the critics. Wilson became an overnight celebrity, and was linked with writers such as John Braine and Kingsley Amis as one of the “Angry Young Men” of the 50s. Since then he has gone on to write over 150 books, interspersing works on philosophy, psychology, music, writing, the occult, and crime, with a string of novels. He has also contributed generously to other writers’ works, with over 170 forewords, introductions, afterwords and prefaces.

The University acquired the Colin Wilson Collection from Colin Stanley, librarian, publisher, and freelance writer, who had built it up over many years. As managing editor of Paupers’ Press, Colin Stanley edits the series Colin Wilson Studies and is the author of The Colin Wilson Bibliography 1956-2010 (Nottingham: Paupers’  Press,  2011).

The Collection records Wilson’s long literary career and its reception from the 1950s to the present.  It includes comprehensive coverage of his wide range of writings alongside biographical resources and secondary critical literature.  Some archival source material has already been added and we hope to build on its strengths in future years. The Collection is in the process of being catalogued, and will not be accessible in the Reading Room until this has been completed.

The timing of this event was intended to enable us also to celebrate Colin Wilson’s recent eightieth birthday (26 June). While illness prevented him from attending in person, we were glad to welcome his son Damon Wilson to the University of Nottingham. As seen in our photograph, Damon received, on behalf of his father, a copy of a festschrift volume entitled Around the Outsider: essays presented to Colin Wilson on the occasion of his 80th birthday (Winchester: O Books, 2011), which has been edited by Colin Stanley.  With its twenty essays contributed by widely dispersed authors, the volume illustrates the international recognition that Wilson’s writing enjoys.

This is a welcome addition to our extensive manuscript and published holdings of modern literary figures, represented most strongly in the works of D H Lawrence.

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