Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson
An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man
All serious followers of Gurdjieff's teaching study this book.
This is Gurdjieffs magnum opus.
Regarding this series, Gurdjieff said, I had decided with the contents of the first series of books to achieve the destruction, in the consciousness and feelings of people, of deep-rooted convictions which in my opinion are false and quite contradictory to reality. Gurdjieffs friendly advice is to read each of his written expositions at least thrice.
Further advice is provided from an excerpt of a talk in which Gurdjieff comments on the relationship between attention and understanding when reading Beelzebubs Tales.
Originally written in Russian and Armenian, it has twice been translated into English:
A Page Correlation Table between the original 1950 and revised 1992 edition is available.
- The original translation of 1238 pages, first published in 1950 by Harcourt, Brace & Company (New York); Routledge & Kegan Paul (London).
Copyright 1950 by G. Gurdjieff.
This translation was made under the personal direction of the author, by a group of translators chosen by him and specially trained according to their defined individualities.
Later published in 1964 by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., Library of Congress No. 50-5848.
Again published in 1973 by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. in paperback (3 volumes),
SBN 0-525-47348-3, 0-525-47349-1, 0-525-47350-5.
Then published in 1993 by Two Rivers Press.
Again published in 1999 by Penguin Arkana, a paperback which contains correction of errata and insertion of two paragraphs omitted from page 568 of Chapter 32 "Hypnotism" in earlier editions.
There is also a Guide and Index available for the original translation published in 1971 by
Traditional Studies Press, ISBN 0-919608-01-9, copyright Traditional Studies Press 1973.
Theres also a Beelzebub Syllabus available for the original translation printed in 1996.
- A revised translation of 1135 pages, first published in 1992 by Arkana, an imprint of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc. Copyright Triangle Editions, Inc. 1992, ISBN 0-670-84125-0. This revision was begun on the initiative of Jeanne de Salzmann. The translation team included members of the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York, aided by members of the Gurdjieff Society (London) and the Institut Gurdjieff (Paris), as well as Triangle Editions.
Beelzebub will be a great help to me. I was about to say:
it comes from the heavensyes, but from the living heavens.
Bennetts study was first published in Riders Review (Autumn 1950), London, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of Bennett Books. Bennett grapples with the contradiction of trying to elucidate a book that defies verbal analysis and concludes that Beelzebubs Tales is an epoch-making work that represents the first new mythology in 4000 years. He finds in Gurdjieffs ideas regarding time, Gods purpose in creating the universe, conscience, and the suffering of God, a synthesis transcending Eastern and Western doctrines about humanitys place in the cosmos.
Chapter 94 from The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today by Martin Seymour-Smith is reproduced in its entirety with the kind permission of Carol Publishing Group. Seymour-Smith points out that Gurdjieffs doctrine is the most convincing fusion of Eastern and Western thought that has yet been seen
Commentary by Terry Winter Owens and Suzanne D. Smith first issued by University Books in their Mystic Arts Book News No. 78 (1964). Reprinted here by kind permission of the authors.
Despite all the inherent difficulties which Gurdjieff has implanted in the bookcomplexities in writing and in concepts, the rewards are there also. But in keeping with Gurdjieffs philosophy, the rewards are commensurate with the readers struggle to find them.
An essay from Terry Winter Owens published here first. For over 30 years, I have wanted to write a follow up to the essay on Gurdjieffs All and Everything, that I wrote in the 1960s.
Writing now from a different perspective, I want to specially focus on Gurdjieffs friendly advice to the reader and some issues that arose from a consideration of that advice.
This commentary was first published in 1993 as dust jacket notes for the Two Rivers Press facsimile reprinting of the English (1950) first edition of Beelzebubs Tales and is reproduced with the kind permission of Two Rivers Press. Mrs. Staveley comments that This Book is a guide to becoming a real man. Gurdjieff advised us to read, reread and then read this Book again many, many times. Read it aloud with others and read it to yourself. Even if you read it thirty, even fifty times, you will always find something you missed beforea sentence which gives with great precision the answer to a question you have had for years.
This revised Fourth Chapter of Dr. Anna Challengers Ph.D. dissertation from Kent State University (1990) is reproduced with the authors kind permission and provides a glimpse of the deeply considered understanding each of us must find in our own reading of Beelzebubs Tales.
This revised Third Chapter of Dr. Anna Challengers Ph.D. dissertation from Kent State University (1990) is published with the authors kind permission. She provides a thoughtful analysis of Gurdjieffs ideas of art, particularly as they apply to his writings.
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 Beelzebubs 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 books central themes and speculates about its long term impact.
In this penetrating examination of Beelzebubs Tales, Rainoird emphasizes that Gurdjieffs master work cannot be read as we commonly read our booksand which simultaneously attracts and repels us. Rainoirds commentary was first published as Belzébuth, un coup de maître in Monde Nouveau (Paris) October, 1956 as a review of the publication of the first French edition. This translation is the first to offer the complete text in English.
Mr. Gurdjieff put everything,
everything he knew in Beelzebubs Tales.
A. L. Staveley
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Revision: September 14, 2010