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AGURDJIEFF A READING GUIDE

: In the same year James Moore’s Gurdjieff and Mansfield was published, and a decade
later Gurdjieff: The Anatomy of a Myth (1991), a full biographical scan of Gurdjieff’s
life that has achieved the status as a definitive biography
.
Recollections of talks by Gurdjieff from notes of his pupils. By Olga DeHartmann

Recollections of talks by Gurdjieff from notes of his pupils. By Olga DeHartmann.

Walter Driscoll and the Gurdjieff Foundation of California


Gurdjieff Bibliography. [city:] Garland Press, 1984 (out of print).
The definitive compilation of the Gurdjieff literature up until its publication date. Each
item is succinctly annotated.

James Webb’s The Harmonious Circle (1980) provided the first systematic biographical
account by a writer who hadn’t known Gurdjieff personally. In the same year James
Moore’s Gurdjieff and Mansfield was published, and a decade later Gurdjieff: The
Anatomy of a Myth (1991), a full biographical scan of Gurdjieff’s life that has achieved
the status as a definitive biography.
Though James Moore cautiously called Gurdjieff’s own account of his early life,
1866(?)–1912, “auto-mythology,” he and other writers on Gurdjieff’s life seem to have
mythologized the whole of his life. “Mythologized” is, perhaps, an inadequate term. In
fact, much written on Gurdjieff’s life after 1912 is pure invention, in some instances
speculation paraded as fact. The unwary reader who would trust accounts is led into
perpetuating error, and the catena of error from the 1960s to the present is almost
impossible to detach from a putative “canonical” historical view.

Agwan Dordjieff
ames Webb, after reading the autobiography of Paul Dukes, The Unending Quest:
Autobiographical Sketches (1950), suggested that Gurdjieff was actually Ushé
Narzunoff, and speculated that he might have been teaching in Saint Petersburg in 1913
with the name “Prince Ozay.” James Moore, in his Gurdjieff: The Anatomy of a Myth
(1991) refutes the Narzunoff identity but accepts the Ozay theory, which I refute in
another essay.

Information about Gurdjieff’s life from himself and other sources can be viewed in
three chronological periods. The first, the principal time span of Meetings With
Remarkable Men, covers the period from his birth—not dated by himself but extant
official documents have both 1872 and 1877, and James Moore argues for 1866—until
1912 when he begins teaching in western Russia. The second period extends from 1912
until 1922 when he established his Institute in Fontainebleau-Avon. The third and final
period ends with his death in the autumn of 1949.