Colin Wilson, the celebrated Bad Boy of the British Museum Reading Room, once more sends forth skyrockets of endless...



Colin Wilson, the celebrated Bad Boy of the British Museum Reading Room, once more sends forth skyrockets of endless erudition. Yet with so much literary razzle dazzle, double talk and a wow of a title, how sad to report The Origins of the Sexual Impulse scarcely arouses. As everyone knows Master Wilson is given to fanfare statements with himself as the forerunner of a new approach to this or to that; right now the this or that is existential psychology. The divertimento here extends on the one hand through various and nefarious aspects of Lawrence, Joyce, Sade, Huxley, Miller etc., and on the other via a kind of Police Gazette revue of sexual offenders (casebook nymphos, rapists, voyeurs, necrophiliacs). The upshot, bluntly, is this: Pavolovian mechanism and Freudian determinism are out: except for consciousness the sexual impulse would not happen at all; libido is a projection of evolutionary intentionality; the post-Sigmund subsconscious must now be plumbed with the philosophical precepts of Phenomenology turned towards psychical pay dirt and maybe then we'll dig a super-sensual awareness etc. etc. Oh es, and nature has no ""norms"". Occasionally amidst these cluttered, crammed-for-an-exam pages, and intriguing quotes, a cogent capsule of somebody else's insight, and even a few gee whiz remarks from the author himself make the reading rewarding; in addition, there's an intercollegiate intensity about the whole thing bound to make it a campus sell-out. But au fond nothing's defined nor demonstrated, only the usual ilsonianisms about force and energy cribbed from the usual favorites: Nietzsche, Shaw and The 20th Century Revolution In Scientific Thinking. We'd recommend instead Reich's book on the orgone, Sartre's psychosexual study of Genet, and, above all, Norman Brown's Life Against Death, all of which, significantly and systematically embrace the ilsonian promised land. Surely the British Museum has copies?.....

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963