Gurdjieff, George Ivanovich (1866-1949) by Aveilhe, Tara

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1866?-1949) “Greco-Armenian holistic philosopher, thaumaturge, and teacher of Sacred Dances (whose ancillary personae as musicologist, therapist, hypnotist, raconteur, explorer, polyglot, and entrepreneur exercise the taxonomic mind).” —, (445) James Moore Gurdjieff, George Ivanovitch The exact date of birth is unknown, but it is estimated to be somewhere between 1866 and 1877. Born in Alexandropol (Russian Armenia), grew up in Kars and is said to have trained as both a physician and a priest. As a young man he pursued his interest in esotericism while traveling widely around North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. After returning to Russia (before WWI), he began to gather pupils of his own and set up learning communities in Moscow and St. Petersburg. During the Russian Revolution he moved these teaching groups to various locations near the southern coast of Russia and then to Tbilisi in Georgia. His final destination before moving permanently to Western Europe was Istanbul. It was here that he became enthralled with Sufi devotional dance, which he would apply to his later teachings of and In August 1921, began traveling around Europe, sharing and demonstrating his transcendent philosophy. In October 1922 he settled south of Paris and established the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man (see Fig. 1) at the Chateau Le Prieuré at Fontainebleau-Avon. Gurdjieff’s Gurdjieff movements sacred dance. Gurdjieff Fig. 1: Image Advertising Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man In 1923, held of sacred dance and music at the Prieure Study House which attracted a mixture of international figures, including the writer and , founder of the Russian Ballet. Another demonstration at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées that same summer garnered very mixed reviews from the Parisian public. In 1924, traveled to New York and gave a demonstration at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Greenwich Village. This was to be a turning point in popularity in the U.S. Among those who became interested in ideas were , co-editor for , critic , and , author of and a contributor to . established his institute’s New York branch that same year. Later in 1924, had a near-death experience, suffering serious injuries in a car crash. While recovering from the accident, he decided to disband the Paris Institute and began writing an extensive trilogy of his philosophy in order to propagate his ideas more widely. The three-part series, titled , includes: , , and Between 1926 and 1935, collaborated with his student to create a series of 170 devotional compositions for the piano. Gurdjieff open evenings Sinclair Lewis Sergei Diaghilev Gurdjieff Gurdjieff’s Gurdjieff’s Jane Heap The Little Review Gorham B. Munson Jean Toomer Cane The Dial Gurdjieff Gurdjieff All and Everything Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson Meetings with Remarkable Men Life Is Real Only Then, When ‘I Am.’ Gurdjieff Thomas de Hartmann In 1936, became briefly associated with a small group of expatriate lesbian literati in Paris (former associates of ) known as Now aged 70, he decided to settle down in a small apartment at 6 rue des Colonels-Renard, and he quickly garnered a new group of followers composed largely of gifted students from a preparatory group working under his disciple, dancer and musician . worked faithfully throughout the German occupation of Paris and continued work on his piano-accompanied dances titled the . During his later years, he occasionally traveled to the U.S. and acquired devoted students from America and London. In Paris he held supervised readings of his works and hosted ritualistic meals accompanied by In 1947, former student and fellow mystic passed away. book , published posthumously, was one of very few writings on ideas that gave his permission to be published. Prior to his own death, asked to take over the work of publishing his writings posthumously and he requested to write musical compositions for his – both of which they faithfully carried out. passed away at age 83 on October 29, 1949, and is buried at Fontainebleau-Avon. Gurdjieff Jane Heap The Rope. Jeanne de Salzmann Gurdjieff 39 Series Toasts to Idiots. P. D. Ouspensky Ouspenksy’s In Search of the Miraculous Gurdjieff’s Gurdjieff Gurdjieff Jeanne de Salzmann de Hartmann 39 Series Gurdjieff Teachings teachings were esoteric in nature. His basic philosophy maintained that humanity is in a constant waking sleep and that transcending the sleeping state requires complex inner work (found only in the company of a well-trained teacher). This training is said to lead to a higher consciousness. His methods included teachings based on an eclectic mixture of complex allegories and enneagrams (or nine-pointed geometric figures), along with awareness exercises and the practice of sacred set to devotional music. According to the , (Moore 445). trained a small group of people to transmit his teachings after his death, and with the assistance of other followers they set up a number of active centers and foundations around the world, which continue today. The 1979 film , based on book by the same title, was written by and and depicts performances of his sacred dances. Since death, over fifty recordings of his and music have been made, and numerous books about his life, teachings and influence continue to be written. Gurdjieff’s movements Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism his system integrated a semantic critique, a social critique, an epistemology, a mythopoetic cosmogony and cosmology, a phenomenology of consciousness, and a practical existenzphilosophie Gurdjieff Meetings with Remarkable Men Gurdjieff’s Jeanne de Salzmann Peter Brook Gurdjieff’s de Hartmann’s Public Reception and Influence Much of early life and exploits is the subject of speculation. What is known of him before his arrival in Western Europe is based on biographical sketches from his book . Critics have often questioned whether was as widely traveled and well-versed in eastern dance and musical traditions as he claimed. He is often accused of being an occultist or, worse, a charismatic fraud. G. I. Gurdjieff’s Meetings with Remarkable Men Gurdjieff This criticism aside, influence is undeniable, as is the number of followers he collected while in Paris, Berlin and London throughout the 1920’s. He was critically acclaimed by such figures as , and —and adamantly dismissed by such figures as , and . influence helps us understand the interest in mysticism and pseudo-Eastern spiritual practices that was so prevalent in the modernist period, and that extends to a magazine like under the editorship of . Regular contributors to , such as and , were devoted followers of teachings (with famously dying at institute at Fontainebleau-Avon, after seeking treatment there for tuberculosis). And himself resigned as editor of the magazine in 1922 to begin his full-time studies at the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. When later moved to the U.S. to set up study communities in New York, the leader of began the next chapter of his life—as a new age leader. Gurdjieff’s Frank Lloyd Wright André Breton Lincoln Kirstein D. H. Lawrence Wyndham Lewis François Mauriac Gurdjieff’s The New Age A. R. Orage The New Age Carl Eric Bechhofer Katherine Mansfield Gurdjieff’s Mansfield Gurdjieff’s Orage Orage Gurdjieff The New Age —Tara Aveilhe Works Cited and Selected Bibliographic Resources and . . Gloucestershire: Coombe Springs Press, 1980. Bennett, John G. Elizabeth Bennett Idiots in Paris: Diaries of J. G. Bennett and Elizabeth Bennett and . . New York: Garland Publishing, 1985. De Hartmann, Thomas Olga de Hartmann Gurdjieff: An Annotated Bibliography . 22 Sep 2006, 10:20 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 23 Sep 2006. . G. I. Gurdjieff Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia , 1999. Gurdjieff: A Reading Guide. Ed. J. Walter Driscoll The Gurdjieff Foundation. . London: Arkana, 2000. Gurdjieff, G. I. Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson (1950) —. . Washington: Holmes Publishing Group, 1987. The Herald of Coming Good (1933) —. . New York: Penguin, 1991. Life Is Real Only Then, When ‘I Am’ (1974) —. . London: Routledge, 1963. Meetings with Remarkable Men —. . New York: Penguin, 1974. Views from the Real World: Talks of G. I. Gurdjieff and . [6 CD boxed set]. Performed by . Celestial Harmonies, 1997. Gurdjieff, G. I. Thomas de Hartmann The Complete Piano Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann Cecil Lytle Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing, 2009. Gurdjieff International Review. The Gurdjieff Journal. Gurdjieff Legacy—The Teaching for Our Time. . Gurdjieff Studies, Ltd. Gurdjieff Studies . Directed by . Screenplay by and . 1979. Meetings with Remarkable Men (movie) Peter Brook Peter Brook Jeanne de Salzmann . . Boston: Routledge, 1980. Moore, James Gurdjieff and Mansfield —. . Hanegraaff. Boston: Brill, 2005. Gurdjieff, George Ivanovitch. Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism Ed. Wouter J. —. . New York: Penguin Books, 1992. Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff and , eds. . Shaftesbury: Element Press, 1991. Needleman, Jacob George Baker Gurdjieff: The Anatomy of a Myth . . New York: Continuum Publishing, 1996. Nicoll, Maurice Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections on the Man and his Teaching . York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1998. Orage, A. R. On Love / Psychological Exercises: With Some Aphorisms and Other Essays . New York: Vintage Books, 1971. Ouspensky, P. D. The Fourth Way: A Record of Talks and Answers to Questions Based on the Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff —. . New York: Harcourt, 2001. In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching . . Fairfax: Arete Communications, 1998. Patterson, William Patrick Ladies of the Rope: Gurdjieff’s Special Left Bank Women’s Group . . London: Vincent Stuart, 1956. Tracol, Henri Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky —. . Shaftesbury: Element Books, 1994. The Taste for Things That Are True: Essays and Talks by a Pupil of G. I. Gurdjieff . . New York: Pellegrini, 1952. Walker, Kenneth Venture with Ideas: Meetings with Gurdjieff and Ouspensky . Boston: Shambhala, 1980. Webb, James The Harmonious Circle: The Lives and Work of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, and Their Followers. . . Brooklyn: Aeon Books, 2005. Wilson, Colin G. I. Gurdjieff: The War against Sleep .. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1999. Woodson, Jon To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance . . San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979. Vaysse, Jean Toward Awakening: An Approach to the Teaching Left by Gurdjieff

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