Colin Wilson: The Outsider

(2746 words)

A most unlikely bestseller, The Outsider, billed as “An enquiry into the sickness of mankind in the twentieth century”, and in later editions as “The definitive study of alienation, creativity and the modern mind”, nevertheless ran to ten impressions between late May and early October 1956. In 1985, when the book was in its eighteenth impression, the U.K. publishers, Victor Gollancz, announced that 46,000 copies had been sold in hardback alone. It has now been translated into nearly thirty languages and never been out-of-print in English or Japanese.

An “Outsider” is simply defined as “he who cannot accept life as it is” (82)†. So, in a sense, most of us are Outsiders—after all, who has not, at some …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Stanley, Colin. "The Outsider". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 March 2008
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]