The Strength to Dream by Colin Wilson
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1962. First Edition. Hardcover. 277 pages ; 21 cm. $4.50 dust jacket unclipped. Previous owner gift inscription on flyleaf. No other markings elsewhere. Binding is firm.
Strength to Dream
The Strength to Dream has all the qualities that made The Outsider a bestseller. In this book, Colin Wilson continues his study of contemporary culture with a discussion of the role of the imagination in literature.
What is imagination and how does it work? Mr. Wilson argues convincingly against both the practical, "social realist" concept, which offers at best only a carbon copy of reality, and the "compensative" role of the imagination as it is abused by some romantics and dreamers. After a brilliant and meticulous examination of the function of imagination in such various writers as Joyce, Graham Greene, Samuel Beckett, H. G. Wells, and Tolstoy, he arrives at the conclusion that in every writer who possesses intensity of imagination, it is closely bound up with his sense of value — that is to say, with his idea of the meaning and purpose of human existence.
It is the main theme of Mr. Wilson's book that all literature attempts to stand back from flux of the present and to make some broader generalizations about life. Every writer expresses, perhaps unconsciously, his view of life — a view conditioned by his imaginative interpretation of reality. No writer is less concerned with problems of human destiny than Trollope, but even his work, Mr. Wilson argues, expresses a certain value judgment about life. The serious artist who strives for development but tries to avoid ideas or convictions is usually forced to allow his style to carry the full weight of his craving for an evolving complexity. In Mr. Wilson's view value judgments are the mainspring of the imagination and the ultimate aim of all imaginative literature is to teach men what life is.
Like The Outsider, The Strength to Dream breaks much new ground and is certain to arouse keen excitement and controversy.
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