Gurdjieff in the Public Eye

Paul Beekman Taylor

The history of Gurdjieff in newspaper articles, magazines, and books during his lifetime traces his public reputation in what is said of him on the world stage. Some of the writers were reporters, others followers and visitors to the Institute, and still others were persons intrigued by social and religious fads of the day. Many of the newspaper reports written by journalists, who had neither seen his demonstrations nor listened to him or his followers, pandered to readers intrigued by scandal and the sensational by inventing stories about him and his activities.

Nonetheless, the articles printed between 1914 and 1949, the year of his death constitute a topical history of his life and his work in a running account of Gurdjieff’s changing public image as a man and a teacher, and provide an insight into the way his teaching was perceived from an age in which theosophy was a prevalent intellectual occupation.

Many of those whose words appear here were leading figures in the intellectual and cultural life of their age, among them the editor A. R. Orage, writer Katherine Mansfield, theosophist and actress Maude Hoffman, actress Georgette Leblanc, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, critic Denis Saurat, literary historians Waldo Frank and Gorham Munson, Hollywood screen writer Nunnally Johnson, and Clifford Sharp, the founder and editor of the influential English New Statesman.