Mr. Wilson’s background, unsurprisingly, was eclectic. He was a classics student at Columbia University, but dropped out. He helped start a psychedelic church, and he briefly considered a career as an anti-war activist (an attempt to bombard a headquarters project with red paint failed) before hitting the hash trail. hippie, as many of his peers did, traveling through the Middle East. East and South Asia.
He visited all the usual places and had all the usual adventures before moving to Tehran to study Persian Sufism. With the ouster of the Shah of Iran in 1979, he returned to the United States and settled in an apartment on the Lower East Side.
He worked his disillusionment with the failed promise of the 1960s – the revolution that never came – into provocative writings that appeared in avant-garde journals like Semiotext(e)where French intellectuals like Michel Foucault mingled with American beats like Ginsberg and William Burroughs and radical feminists like Kate Millett and Kathy Acker, the postpunk novelist and performance artist.
By all accounts, Mr. Wilson was a scholar of secrecy, a prolific author of some sixty books on subjects ranging from angels to pirate utopias and all manner of renegade religions. It was for years an East Village staple and host of “The Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade”, a late night show on WBAI, Manhattan’s countercultural radio station. On his show, he could rant about higher math, play a selection of esoteric music like Sufi chants or Greek rembetika, and review the zines, the do-it-yourself journals that flourished in the late 1980s and 1990s.
But because his writings often included erotic images of young teenagers, he was controversial.
“I’ve always had a pretty divisive stance on how to handle the issue,” Mr Fleming said. “Whether to belittle it or try to defend it in some way. He identified as gay, but I never knew him as having a sexual partner or a real sex life. His sexual practices were what I call Whitmanesque, purely imaginal.
Peter Lamborn Wilson was born on October 20, 1945 in Baltimore. The only child of Douglas Emory Wilson, a career army officer and English teacher, and Laura (Packwood) Wilson, a high school teacher, he grew up in New Brunswick NJ.