on 9 February 2015
Colin Wilson is an entertaining and thoughtful writer. An outsider of the literary establishment he shows no fear in making several contentious statements about authors and their writing. The value of the book is that Wilson makes you feel clever. Having said that, his style of argumentation is problematic: he never discuses counter-examples or possible alternatives to his theories in any detail. The other main problem is that, especially towards the end, he broadens the argument too much. His theory that novels are a tool (like a telescope/microscope) that allow us to expand our imagination is a good one (although I think Wilson believes it is more original than it is). Wilson uses the term consciousness but never really defines what he means which is a pity because some of his arguments are not about consciousness, but he lumps everything into the same pot. Addictive and irritating.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2000
Great book by Wilson, exploring both existential philosophy and literature. Wilson's broad reading base, his penetrating and original opinions, and his smooth, stimulating writing style all combine to make this an unusually pleasurable and interesting read.