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Gurdjieff beyond the Personality Cult: Reading the Work and Its Re-Workings

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Notes on René Zuber’s ‘Who are You Monsieur Gurdjieff?’

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This article is a philosophical, aesthetic, and existential exploration of a small book written by one of Gurdjieff’s disciples, René Zuber (1902–1979), under the title Qui êtes-vous Monsieur Gurdjieff? (Le Courrier du Livre, 1977, éditions Éoliennes, 1997 and in English, translated by Jenny Koralek, Arkana, 1980). Formally the book belongs to a hybrid genre mixing autobiography, philosophy, religious reflection, memoir, and essay. It was composed by Zuber in order to interpret and contextualize Gurdjieff’s teaching and presence particularly during the last years of his life in Paris. At the core of the narrative rests the strange, tense, and somehow ambivalent relationship between Zuber and Gurdjieff, a relationship of equal admiration and reservation, in an attempt, after the death of the master, to establish the proper intellectual and phenomenological locus for Gurdjieff’s work.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Sydney


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