International Review

Fall 1998 Issue, Vol. II No. 1

Special Issue on the Gurdjieff Literature


Thousands of books, articles, reviews and comments (mostly in English and French) have been published about Gurdjieff, his ideas and his teaching. This issue examines the nature and significance of this literature.

Gurdjieff: The Man and the Literature

Gurdjieff’s biographer James Moore provides a sensitive and discerning guide to Gurdjieff’s life and the classics of the Gurdjieff literature in English. This essay was originally published in Resurgence No. 96, January–February 1983 (Bideford, England) and is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

GURDJIEFF: An Annotated Bibliography
a review by Andrew Rawlinson

A review by Andrew Rawlinson of Gurdjieff: An Annotated Bibliography by J. Walter Driscoll and The Gurdjieff Foundation of California (1985) New York: Garland Publishing. First published in Religion Today: a journal of contemporary religions (1987) London, this slightly revised version is issued here with the author’s kind permission. Although Driscoll’s bibliography went out of print in 1994, we include this review because of Rawlinson’s astute and helpful analysis of the Gurdjieff literature.

The Tales Themselves: An Overview

This revised Fourth Chapter of Dr. Anna Challenger’s Ph.D. dissertation from Kent State University (1990) is reproduced with the author’s kind permission and provides a glimpse of the deeply considered understanding each of us must find in our own reading of Beelzebub’s Tales.

The Disenchantment of the Dragon

An inspiring essay by Martha Heyneman that links the symbolic structures of the Arthurian legend cycle and mythic elements underlying Beelzebub’s Tales to reveal the necessity of transforming rather than slaying the Dragon. This essay was originally published in A Journal of Our Time No. 2, 1979 (Toronto) and is reproduced with the kind permission of the author and of the publisher.

On Attention and Understanding
of Beelzebub’s Tales

An excerpt of a talk taken from an unpublished, undated typescript in which Gurdjieff comments briefly on the relationship between attention and understanding when reading Beelzebub’s Tales.

Beelzebub’s Tales: Fifty Years Later

Denis Saurat visited the Prieuré for a weekend in February 1923 and published a skeptical account in his essay, A Visit to Gourdyev. Saurat later revised his opinion of Gurdjieff and his teaching and came to recognize Beelzebub’s Tales as a major work. Written shortly after its publication in 1950, and, as timely today as it was then, Saurat comments on what he regards as the book’s central themes and speculates about its long term impact.

Facts, Fictions & Speculations

A review by J. Walter Driscoll of An Introduction to Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub: a Modern Sufi Teaching Tale, by Anna Challenger (from which we are pleased to present Chapter Four in this issue) and Metanoia: Beyond the Mind We Go, a novel by Len Maurice. Challenger and Maurice have written the first books to focus on Beelzebub’s Tales since A. R. Orage’s Commentaries (1961) and J. G. Bennett’s Talks (1977).

Other New Features

Henriette H. Lannes

An original sketch by James Moore. “That the Work in England is today so firmly established is preponderantly owed to one woman. Active in London for nearly three decades; coping with all the difficulties of exile and a foreign language; subsuming the powerful resistance which any powerful affirmation lawfully evokes — this remarkable human being guaranteed here the Work’s ethos, dynamic, and trajectory. Her name was Henriette Lannes.”

Good and Evil: Nov 19

The final installment of a three-part round-table discussion of Gurdjieff’s ideas and themes from Beelzebub’s Tales led by Orage in November of 1927.

Are We Awake?

An essay by A. R. Orage first published in a series of articles titled “Fifteen Exercises in Practical Psychology” in Psychology Magazine (New York) between April 1925 and January 1926. Orage examines sleep and waking as a psycho-spiritual metaphor. He concludes, “To be aware that we are asleep is to be on the point of waking; and to be aware that we are only partially awake is the first condition of becoming and making ourselves more fully awake.”

About This Publication

The Gurdjieff International Review is published by Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing. Any information or opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or editors.
Mr. Gurdjieff

“In Beelzebub, I know, there is everything one must know. It is a very interesting book. Everything is there. All that exists, all that has existed, all that can exist. The beginning, the end, all the secrets of the creation of the world; all is there.”

G. I. Gurdjieff

“Beelzebub’s point of view is based on first-hand experience, yet expressed through an evolutionary and spatial distance so that, although what we recognize in his narrative is ourselves, we come to view ourselves as something familiar yet alien, understandable yet strange, observing ourselves from close up and from afar in one and the same glance.”

Anna Challenger

“Reason may sometimes govern our thoughts, but our emotions, which animate our actions, listen, not to logic, but to myth.”

Martha Heyneman

“If you have not by nature a critical mind your staying here is useless.”

G. I. Gurdjieff

Copyright © 1998
Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing

October 1, 1998