Colin Wilson: The Craft of the Novel

(2942 words)

In a groundbreaking essay, “Existential Criticism”, published in The Chicago Review in 1959 (Volume 13, no. 2), Colin Wilson set the parameters of the form of criticism that he has consistently championed throughout his long career:

A literary critic turns without embarrassment from Milton to Dostoevsky, from Jane Austen to Shaw. Such nonchalance may be envied by the existential critic, but he has no desire to imitate it. He cannot consider Jane Austen in relation to Dostoevsky without asking awkward questions: “What, fundamentally, was she saying?”; “How mature was her moral vision of the world?”; “What concepts of human purpose are concealed in the basic assumptions of her novels?”

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Stanley, Colin. "The Craft of the Novel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 June 2012
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]