Colin Wilson: Existential Criticism: selected book reviews

(951 words)

When Colin Wilson published an essay entitled “Existential Criticism and the Work of Aldous Huxley” in The London Magazine (vol. 5, no. 9, p. 46-59) in 1958, a reader complained in the next issue that, as far as he could tell, existential criticism differed from ordinary literary criticism only in its pretentiousness. This prompted Wilson to clarify his position by writing his groundbreaking essay, “Existential Criticism”, first published in The Chicago Review (Vol. 13, no. 2, 1959, p. 152-181). In it he declared that:

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 …

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Stanley, Colin. "Existential Criticism: selected book reviews". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 March 2013
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]