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The Glass Cage: An Unconventional Detective Story
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The Glass Cage: An Unconventional Detective Story

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  108 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A series of brutal and bizarre murders has London on edge. Near the dismembered corpse of each victim, the killer has scrawled cryptic quotations from the eighteenth-century mystic poet William Blake. Baffled, the police enlist the aid of Damon Reade, a brilliant but reclusive Blake scholar, who reluctantly agrees to help. Reade's combination of instinctive deduction and p ...more
Paperback, 249 pages
Published January 1st 1973 by Bantam Books, Inc. (NYC) (first published January 1st 1966)
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mark monday
in a box there lives a snake. it eats, it sleeps, it sheds its skin, it is let out from time to time and then put back in. the walls of its box are made of glass; perhaps it can fool itself into thinking it does not live its life in a cage. so it is with the snake and so it is with its owner, the killer of the novel, a man who lives in his own kind of glass cage.

or so it is according to Colin Wilson. as an author, he had one overriding concern: the exploration of human consciousness and human po
A friend, John Mundy, says that he is convinced that Thomas Harris read this book and borrowed heavily from it in order to write Red Dragon and I can see what he means. But if this theory is true, then Harris really tightened things up a lot. The construction and plotting of RD really cooks and, interesting and readable though GC is, RD is the superior of the two. It is easy to see Damon Reade as Will Graham and Francis Dollarhyde as George "Gaylorde" Sunderheim. I am a fan of Red Dragon (the bo ...more
Luce Cronin
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thorougly enjoyed this novel. Wilson has a way of using a popular genre, in this case a murder mystery, to introduce and perhaps popularize his existentialist views of mankind. On the surface a very readable novel, full of suspense. But under all that , Wilson poses questions about alienation, and peak experiences of human consciousness.
اناستازيا sai
usually I don't like open ending but I do liked it here , I start reading it while I know it's a police novel , however the focus wasn't on the details of the murders as it's on the characters , actually I loved Kate Butler's personality , for his rebellion , dignified living according to his desire and deep friendship with Damon Reed , who by the way I respect for his mind and his intelligence as well as his interest of a character such as Blake , Sondheim is a man with a troubled personality o ...more
Eugene Pustoshkin
In this book Colin Wilson provides an interesting phenomenology of how a serial murderer’s mind phenomenology might unfold and why it does so. According to Wilson, such pathological murderers are mortally afraid of the existential emptiness and the sense of meaninglessness which appears in their life as dullness and some kind of psychological dying, so they attempt to find intensity of meaning through putting themselves to extreme and dangerous situations and transgressing various inhibitions. Y ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice slow British murder story from the 60's with some interesting psychological touches, not very philosophical which I had expected after reading on the back of the book and his work "Necessary doubt". Still a decent mystery with few red herrings.
Lynn Kelleher
l liked this book.
colin is a weird writer lol
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Colin Wilson thriller that I read back in 1973.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An existential-murder novel set in the English Lake District. The murderer leaves quotes from William Blake at the scene of the murders. If you are a fan of CW it won't disappoint.
Belacqua (Naluh)
essas traduções dos anos 70 ma ra vi lho sas hahaha
Nicole Marble
An interesting look at the plusses and minuses of computing. His points could have been condensed to a paragraph or two.
Erik Graff
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Wilson fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
I've read two of Colin Wilson's murder mysteries, neither of which impressed me very much.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
l found it a nice read, and a nice ending.
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Goodreads Librari...: "The Glass Cage" -- error 2 11 Jul 31, 2014 03:53PM  
Valancourt Books: The Glass Cage (1966) by Colin Wilson 3 12 Jul 21, 2014 01:22PM  
Colin Henry Wilson was born and raised in Leicester, England, U.K. He left school at 16, worked in factories and various occupations, and read in his spare time. When Wilson was 24, Gollancz published The Outsider (1956) which examines the role of the social 'outsider' in seminal works of various key literary and cultural figures. These include Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Her ...more
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“Reade drew a deep breath. He said with resignation, "All right. I'll try to explain. But it's rather difficult. You see, I've devoted my life to the problem of why certain men see visions. Men like Blake and Boehme and Thomas Traherne. A psychologist once suggested that it's a chemical in the bloodstream—the same sort of thing that makes a dipsomaniac see pink elephants. Now obviously, I can't accept this view. But I've spent a certain amount of time studying the action of drugs, and taken some of them myself. And it's become clear to me that what we call 'ordinary consciousness' is simply a special, limited case. . . But this is obvious after a single glass of whiskey. It causes a change in consciousness, a kind of deepening. In ordinary consciousness, we're mainly aware of the world around us and its problems. This is awfully difficult to explain. . ."

Fisher said, "You're being very clear so far. Please go on."

"Perhaps an analogy will help. In our ordinary state of consciousness, we look out from behind our eyes as a motorist looks from behind the windscreen of a car. The car is very small, and the world out there is very big. Now if I take a few glasses of whiskey, the world out there hasn't really changed, but the car seems to have grown bigger. When I look inside myself, there seem to be far greater spaces than I'm normally aware of. And if I take certain drugs, the car becomes vast, as vast as a cathedral. There are great, empty spaces. . . No, not empty. They're full of all kinds of things—of memories of my past life and millions of things I never thought I'd noticed. Do you see my point? Man deliberately limits his consciousness. It would frighten him if he were aware of these vast spaces of consciousness all the time. He stays sane by living in a narrow little consciousness that seems to be limited by the outside world. Because these spaces aren't just inhabited by memories. There seem to be strange, alien things, other minds. . ."

As he said this, he saw Violet de Merville shudder. He said, laughing, "I'm not trying to be alarming. There's nothing fundamentally horrible about these spaces. One day we shall conquer them, as we shall conquer outer space. They're like a great jungle, full of wild creatures. We build a high wall around us for safety, but that doesn't mean we're afraid of the jungle. One day we shall build cities and streets in its spaces.”
“You've a perfect right to call me as impractical as a dormouse, and to feel I'm out of touch with life. But this is the point where we simply can't see eye to eye. We've nothing whatever in common. Don't you see. . . it's not an accident that's drawn me from Blake to Whitehead, it's a certain line of thought which is fundamental to my whole approach. You see, there's something about them both. . . They trusted the universe. You say I don't know what the modern world's like, but that's obviously untrue. Anyone who's spent a week in London knows just what it's like. . . if you mean neurosis and boredom and the rest of it. And I do read a modern novel occasionally, in spite of what you say. I've read Joyce and Sartre and Beckett and the rest, and every atom in me rejects what they say. They strike me as liars and fools. I don't think they're dishonest so much as hopelessly tired and defeated."

Lewis had lit his pipe. He did it as if Reade were speaking to someone else. Now he said, smiling faintly, "I don't think we're discussing modern literature."

Reade had an impulse to call the debater's trick, but he repressed it. Instead he said quietly, "We're discussing modern life, and you brought up the subject. And I'm trying to explain why I don't think that murders and wars prove your point. I'm writing about Whitehead because his fundamental intuition of the universe is the same as my own. I believe like Whitehead that the universe is a single organism that somehow takes account of us. I don't believe that modern man is a stranded fragment of life in an empty universe. I've an instinct that tells me that there's a purpose, and that I can understand that purpose more deeply by trusting my instinct. I can't believe the world is meaningless. I don't expect life to explode in my face at any moment. When I walk back to my cottage, I don't feel like a meaningless fragment of life walking over a lot of dead hills. I feel a part of the landscape, as if it's somehow aware of me, and friendly.”
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