Gurdjieff International Review

All and Everything

Beelzebub’s 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 Gurdjieff’s 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.” Gurdjieff’s 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 Beelzebub’s 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.

Beelzebub will be a great help to me. I was about to say:
it comes from the heavens—yes, but from the living heavens.”

Rene Daumal


Reviews

Gurdjieff’s All and Everything: a Study by J. G. Bennett

Bennett’s study was first published in Rider’s 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 Beelzebub’s Tales is an epoch-making work that represents the first new mythology in 4000 years. He finds in Gurdjieff’s ideas regarding time, God’s purpose in creating the universe, conscience, and the suffering of God, a synthesis transcending Eastern and Western doctrines about humanity’s place in the cosmos.

The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written — Chapter 94

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 Gurdjieff’s doctrine is “the most convincing fusion of Eastern and Western thought that has yet been seen…”

Commentary on Beelzebub’s Tales

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 book—complexities in writing and in concepts, the rewards are there also. But in keeping with Gurdjieff’s philosophy, the rewards are commensurate with the reader’s struggle to find them.”

The Struggle to “Fathom the Gist” of Beelzebub’s Tales

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 Gurdjieff’s All and Everything, that I wrote in the 1960’s.… Writing now from a different perspective, I want to specially focus on Gurdjieff’s ‘friendly advice’ to the reader and some issues that arose from a consideration of that advice.”

Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson: Commentary by A. L. Staveley

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 Beelzebub’s 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 before—a sentence which gives with great precision the answer to a question you have had for years.”

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.

Gurdjieff’s Theory of Art

This revised Third Chapter of Dr. Anna Challenger’s Ph.D. dissertation from Kent State University (1990) is published with the author’s kind permission. She provides a thoughtful analysis of Gurdjieff’s ideas of art, particularly as they apply to his writings.

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.

Beelzebub, a Master Stroke (Belzébuth, un coup de maître)

In this penetrating examination of Beelzebub’s Tales, Rainoird emphasizes that Gurdjieff’s master work “cannot be read as we commonly read our books—and which simultaneously attracts and repels us.” Rainoird’s 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 Beelzebub’s Tales.”

A. L. Staveley

This webpage © 1998 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Revision: September 14, 2010