You are on page 1of 37

An Intersection of Interests: Gurdjieff's Rope Group as a Site of Literary Production Author(s): Rebecca Rauve Source: Twentieth Century Literature,

Vol. 49, No. 1, American Writers and France (Spring, 2003), pp. 46-81 Published by: Hofstra University Stable URL: . Accessed: 30/09/2013 17:07
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Hofstra University is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Twentieth Century Literature.

This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

An Intersection ofInterests: Gurdjieff's Rope Group as a Site ofLiterary Production

Rebecca Rauve

andothers havepointed Paris between thetwo Shari Benstock out, to a number American women writworld wars washome ofprominent andDjunaBarnes. Butwithin Gertrude ers, Flanner, including Stein,Janet haslargely ofAmerican womenwriters esthiscontext, one subgroup and Solita critical attention. Solano, Heap, Margaret Anderson,Jane caped Armenian and self-proHulmewereall students of expatriate Kathryn Anderson's French teacher Ivanovitch claimed Gurdjieff. spiritual George her American Dorand LeBlanc, lover, subsequent partner, Georgette withGurdjieff. These books and studied othyCaruso,also published a New Englander, and ElizawithLouiseDavidson, women(together theGurdjieff a British constituted bethGordon, follower) study group hisprogram to a highmountain knownas theRope. Likening climb, for safewouldneedtobe roped toldparticipants together they Gurdjieff the name Undiscovered the them, (Hulme, 92).Among group's ty-hence to 17 books after writers beginning grapple seriously group's published deserve the Whilea number of these works withGurdjieff's teachings. substantial conhasclaimed several others received that them, obscurity andcontinue to merit critical attention. temporaneous praise this no one hasyetexamined To myknowledge, bodyofworkas a thecondito determine muchlesstried discrete literary phenomenon, tionsof itsemergence from thelarger community.' literary expatriate in Paris "In addition A. Baggett notes that to an artistic avant-garde Holly a as and one there was the interwar well, unforspiritual period, during


49.1 Literature Twentieth-Century

2003 Spring


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff the connectionbetweenthe two has not been adequatelyscrutunately a partialrollcall of those"mesmerized" tinized"(15). After by Gurdjieff, Katherine Mabel Anderson, Mansfield, includingHeap, Dodge Luhan, Waldo Gorham Herbert Frank, Munson, Croly,Muriel JeanToomer, FrankLloydWright, "With few exDraper,and architect Baggettwrites: ... and critics failto deal the of those listed above ceptions biographers with thisaspectof theirsubject'sexperience."2 Rob Baker,a former eddid begin a book thatmighthavepartially itorof Parabola admagazine, dressedthisscholarly void.Tentatively the and titling project"Gurdjieff theWomen of the Rope," Bakerwrotethathe hoped to "bridgethe gap of the Stein circle that has alwaysexistedbetween literary chroniclers movement"(42). Unfortunately, Baker and historians of the Gurdjieff was unable to complete the book beforehis death in 1996. Gurdjieff follower but WilliamPatrickPatterson recently adopteda similar project, his Ladies oftheRope focuseson the group as a spiritual phenomenon, decision to work with lesbian women. To date, Gurdjieff's emphasizing have either addressed it as a thosewho considerGurdjieff's community phenomenon or addressedthe works of its writersas if their spiritual were not a factor. with Gurdjieff Neitherapproachalone can association a of writers to the involved. begin present completepicture This, then,is a preliminary surveyof the Rope group as a site of much a productof its specifictime and place, literary production.Very markedthe works of its members. the group distinctly The behavioral the he model Gurdjieff aesthetic the variarticulated, provided, literary he espoused all helped to ous practices he encouraged,and the attitudes his the texts students. While produced by impact on Gurdjieff's shape and Toomer Rene the work of two of his male pupils, Daumal, was Jean in severalrespects his influenceon the women in the less thanpositive, to have been beneficial. These writers were Rope group appears largely to increasetheirproducable to use what theylearned fromGurdjieff releasethemselves from on themale-dominated avanttivity, dependency and create their own with features text-producing "apparatus" garde, very different from the traditional model.


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

I consider theRope group as a siteofliterary Before letme production, a brief of sketch the who to it. See also the history people belonged in the lives of of events the core members at chronology major group's theendofthis essay. in 1866,3 Bornin Russian Armenia thebenearly Gurdjieff enjoyed ofsupportive his efit he was tuparents. During teenage years privately tored Dean Borsh, a prominent intheRussian Orthodox byFather figure hisfather since himfor wished toprepare thepriesthood Church, (Moore offollowing that career he chosea morecolhowever, 15).Instead path, orful route. Mooreacknowledges Openlysympathetic biographer James was a con man from his on. that Moore likens himand Gurdjieff youth hisearly An to sharks. ininside companions example: Gurdjieff, having formation that a railway wouldbe builtto particular towns, persuaded local dignitaries to "payhima small fortune to 'arrange' it" (19).James an "independent" who attempts to provide ofGurWebb, (11) account a more account of his that while character, djieff, gives positive noting be described as a fraud, could"on one level" andcheat, he liar, Gurdjieff also exhibited and adherence to his own eccentric compassion, charity, code ofhonor(13).4ButWebbalsoilluminates theunderside of Gurdactivities. he devotes several to an jieff's Amongotherthings, chapters elaborate that the have the been theory Gurdjieff young may spyUshe a in the "Great Game"-the clandestine beNarzunoff, player struggle tween RussiaandBritain for ofIndia.5 control Imperial For whatever reason or combination of reasons, travels Gurdjieff's himtoTibet, didtake where he claims for a time(Moore to havestudied elements in theGurdjieffian Webbidentifies of Tibetan Buddhism 33).6 withtraces ofJewish esoteric together system, mysticism, Christianity, and behaviorist The of these diverse is a result influences psychology. that is not stew to make matters more metaphysical easily digested-and is no concise, there sanctioned ofGurdchallenging, summary officially Partoftheproblem was Gurdjieff's method ofrevealing jieff's thought. hisideas. Webbsays were"released in a manner deliberthey piecemeal, or and had to be fitted ately self-contradictory misleading, together by hispupils" Caruso describes thefrus(139).In A Personal Dorothy History, tration oftrying to coaxlongtime students to explain thedoctrine.They asserted that theteachings one couldonlyexperience Gurbymeeting

The Rope groupand Gurdjieff


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff in person. When she protested, she was told,"He purposely makes djieff it hard.In his book he saysthatthe key is alwayshidden farfromthe TalestohisGrandson doclock" (153-154). Beelzebub's presents Gurdjieff's in but will that the trine camouflage, the casual reader agree withWebb abunbook is "frankly impenetrable" (331).7 Leaving aside the system's dance of esotericparaphernalia the Cosmic and Octave, (the enneagram, theTable of Hydrogensarejust a few of the occult notionsit employs), the teachingsbasicallycontend thattoo many humansare asleep,mechanical,with no I of theirown. Only by dint of intenseself-observacarriedout under the supervision of a Man tion and self-remembering, Who Knows, can one have any chance of waking fromthe hypnotic trancethatis wakinglifeand cease to be just anothermachinein a world of"mad machines"(Webb 140). This was a messagethatalreadyhad some resonancein the tumultuous yearsimmediately WorldWar I. In 1908, after priorto and during his servicesas a "maeextensively, Gurdjieff began advertising traveling scienceinTashkent stro"of supernatural (Moore 36). He foundeda study his in and work blossomed St. where he stayedfrom group, Petersburg, 1911 to 1914. He lived in various Russian cities until 1918, when he and about 40 followers, then in Essentuki, were forcedby politicalupheaval to flee. The band'sjourney began by railbut includeda grueling trekon foot over the northernCaucasus mountainsto the Black Sea. announced to his followers thathe no longer There,in Sochi, Gurdjieff had money to supportthem,and all but about six or seven disbanded. The remaining nucleus followedhim to Tiflis, where he again began to in Tiflistoo preIn he attract when deemed the situation pupils. 1920, carious,about 30 people accompaniedhim out of thatcity. They found theirway eventually to France,enteringParis in July1922. By August the Prieur&, on property nearFonchateau, theyhad locateda promising 40 miles fromthe city. would later tainebleau, They leased it (Gurdjieff to and to down roots it) (Moore prepared put arrange buy 169).8 in Pariswere in partpractical. reasonsforsettling He and Gurdjieff's his followers had made alreadymade a stop in Constantinople, leaving in 1921 when Gurdjieff decided thatthe politicalclimatewas becoming too threatening but (Webb 184). Then theyspent a year in Germany, abandoned that countryafterlosing a legal battleover a potentialsite in Hellerau.9Next Gurdjieff foran institute considered London as a base. a groupthere. established Ouspenskyhad precededthemand had already


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve fora visawas denied. Webb suggests However, Gurdjieff's application this and Gurdjimayhavebeendue to theprevailing "Bolshevophobia" eff's Russian followers thereason for theBritish refusal, (224).Whatever able to obtain a in to settle Paris (225). Gurdjieffwas permit morethan utilitarian considerations havemade However, purely may France attractive to theteacher. admitted at that one Gurdjieff pointin hislifehe had been"sickforart"(Webb39). Like so many he others, have been drawn to Parisby whatEdith Wharton as described might that also haveappreciated (55). He must city's "longartistic supremacy" thedisinterested withwhichthe French tolerance received eventheir mosteccentric institute at Fontainebleau could not guests. Gurdjieff's havesurvived in a too-attentive or repressive butas Fredenvironment, erick "theFrench observed, J.Hoffman traditionally accepted foreigners withlittle stiror curiosity" French was (44). Finally, although society basedon inheritance rather than andalthough theFrench self-invention, what Wharton termed a "reverence" for thenotradition, (29) possessed on self"so central tionof"work to Gurdjieff's was beteaching slowly tofind inFrance. Not only didan influx ofAmericans ginning acceptance their to notions in the but Paris, also, bring self-improving beginning Alexandre a series of lectures 1930s, philosopher Kojevebegangiving on Hegelthat broached ideasvery similar to those Sartre wouldlater set forth in Being andNothingness."o a far from Existentialism, though cry theoptimistic American belief itwaspossible that to invent oneself from nevertheless stressed theimportance ofindividual choiceandacscratch, tion.The in intellectual climate France would morehosemerging prove to than that a decade earlier. pitable Gurdjieff's teachings prevalent only Even so,Gurdjieff's fortheHarmonious Institute of Development Man got off to a rocky A tubercular start. Katherine Mansfield joined thegroupin Octoberand died fourdaysbefore theinstitute's official onJanuary Press ofMansfield's death com13,1923.11 opening coverage theopening. "Fromthe ordinary overshadowed the pletely viewpoint, Institute's French debut... proved writes Moore (189). In disastrous," madea trip to NewYorkthat waspart mission1924,Gurdjieff January to restore the institute's It fortunes. aryeffort, part gamble already failing worked. those toimpress were Anderson, Among Heap, Gurdjieff managed and Georgette Leblanc(an actress andsinger, Leblanc wasMauriceMaeterlinck's former He alsocaught theinterest Hart Toomer, lover). ofJean andcritic Gorham Munsonl2 headlines like Crane, (Moore200).Despite


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andthe Rope Gurdjieff whichread, "'Dr.' Gurdjieff and hisMagicalSeTheAmerican Weekly's, ofLife--Howto Be a Superman or Superwoman cret by Feeding Pigs, All and Dances Other Fantastic Antics" Weird Dancing Night ( no fewer than 80 Moore 199),theNewYorkvisit Americans prompted to apply to comeworkat thePrieur& thetransplants were (204).Among and Leblanc. Anderson, Heap, War thestory of howAnderson, withno Years' recounts My Thirty and a great dealmorespunk thanexperience, founded theLittle money In 1915 in Chicagoshe metHeap,thena writer and painter. Review. and lovers. In The twojoined forces, bothliterary partners becoming to New the 1917 they moved York.Over years judgHeap's editorial mentstrengthened themagazine's butbythetimeGurdjieff reputation, in theUS, Anderson was tired oftheLittle and ready to arrived Review financial It had them let it go. It had been a constant dragged struggle. their After dedito courtto defend serial ofJoyce's publication Ulysses. in 10 of her life to the the habit of Anderson, magazine, cating years for her was new. But trusting instincts, ready something Heap disagreed. Anderson one oftheir Near theend ofMyThirty Years' War, reproduces arguments: I am definitely I told Review, giving up theLittle Jane. You can'tgiveitup.Youstarted it..... I can certainly giveitup.I'll giveitto you. this but (I considered just-as wellas interesting, Jane to (239) stopped good morning me). saying Ratherthanstopping of themagazine, movedits publication they base ofoperation to Paris. Anderson reasons for this gives contradictory Years' itwasa logicalstep, sincemany of decision. War MyThirty suggests their friends weremoving overseas The Fountains (238-39). Fiery explains that themovewastheresult ofan artendowment to Leblanc, with given in love(16). TheUnknowable whomAnderson hadfallen Gurdjieffclaims that Anderson and herfriends wentto Francespecifically to study at institute Anderson herself not have known which (2). Gurdjieff's may wastruest. version is unambiguous forHeap'smoveto Paris: aboutthereason Baggett life was forever and "Heap's changed byGurdjieff hisideas"(5).The letin DearTiny ters Heart aremorematter-of-fact. themselves Heap merely
notes thatshe plans to be "on the front row of the show" forthe Gurd-


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve later first danceperformance shewrites (90).Afewdays Reyjieff troop's "Let the man be a Charlatan or a devil... I don'traveabout nolds, forit and it comesin a highly this-I havebeen waiting satisfactory all" way-that's (94). confirmed lesthat expresses surprise Heap andherfriends, Baggett homothephilosophy ofa manwho condemned wouldembrace bians, male to boot: was an undeniable chauvinist sexuality. Gurdjieff is Nature ofwomanis very different from that ofman.Woman her to arise to of from and for another stage ground onlyhope man.... If development-to go theHeavenas yousay-is with woman becomerealwoman womancanfind realman, then in work. Moore without 68) necessity (qtd. ofGurdjieff's that "embraced phiHeap simply aspects Baggett suggests andignored shefound therest" (18).As empowering losophy personally acweredoubtless editors oftheLittle bothHeap andAnderson Review, own in a male-dominated field customed to holding their by adopting to dealwithGurdjieff. justsucha strategy. Theywereequipped in Paris, arrival LeblancandAnderson On their reported together caracciTheirtiming was poor. After a serious institute. to Gurdjieff's that all theinstitute's resident haddecided dentinJuly 1924,theteacher and The sweepincluded Anderson students shouldbe sentpacking.13 showed "never model Leblanc, (Moore 226).WhenHeap exactly pupils" the turned herawayas well.Nevertheless NewYork, Gurdjieff up from as in their determination to spendtimeat thePrieur&, three persisted In if as 1927 and Anderson visitors not residents. Heap persuadregular a withthem. friend SolitaSolanoto visit theinstitute ed their Solano, correin in 1922 her New Yorker had settled Paris with lover, journalist, Flanner. the generated by Gurdjieff's Despite publicity Janet spondent ritual and readings which included dance, music, teaching techniques, enfrom his workin progress, Solano was not impressed by herfirst It "I a his vaunted book. to reading from counter withtheman: listened music." Shedidn't bored Shewasequally me." by"thefamous unimpressed womenweren't allowed or thefactthat likeGurdjieff's tablemanners, in thestudy house(qtd.inAnderson, Unknowable to smoke 28). scholar Mathilda toAnderson WhatSolanodidlike, Hills, according to the herself. was Margaret Aroundthe timeof Solano'sexcursion and Hillswrites, Prieur&, great magnetism, "Margaret gavein to Solita's


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andthe Rope Gurdjieff in love" (12). Solano tookAnderson to visitChartres Solitafellwildly was a central of hernewly becausethe spireof the cathedral symbol Leblanc and Flanner were tolerant ofthe novel This WayUp. published in the In and Anderson broke thirties. but Solano 1934, affair, early up "I suddenly in"a crisis ofmisery," Solanoturned to Gurdjieff. knewthat I had longbeen waiting he was expecting me" to go to himand that in Unknowable 29). (qtd. Anderson, oftheRope group, member HulmewasnotiniThougha faithful to whichSolano, Anderliterary tially partofthetight-knit community and extent in to some Leblanc Raised San Francisco son, Heap, belonged. to NewYork ofGurdHulmehadmoved mother, bythetime bya single hisperformances orlectures first visit butdidnotattend there (Unjieff's in and discovered Far from Anderson's was she circles, 19). moving Heap a in the at as neckwear B. Altman. ladies' employed salesgirl department childhood to be a writer, herconnection Thoughshehadlongedfrom at thebuildings to theliterary world consisted ofgazing that housedthe offices ofwell-known Her move to Europe (17). publishing companies camewhenshelandeda job as companion to a successful milliner who wanted to tourtheContinent. Whenshefinally metSolanoin Parisin encounter concerned notwriting buta transaction abouta 1930,their car.Hulmeand heremployer had decidedto selltheirs, and a traveling mentioned that SolanoandFlanner werein themarket. companion "My I I as took card. Writers! Two of them! had heart never [their] jumped meta writer in theflesh," Hulmewrites (37).14 Solanoeventually Hulmeto a study led byHeap.The invited group in which was as a 1932, group, regular beganholding meetings designed sort ofintroduction to Gurdjieff's ideasandmethods ofself-study.AnderinVernet, son andLeblanc werethen butthetwoattended meetliving from and moved time to time later back to the to ings city participate morefully. andDjuna Barnes Webbsuggests that Flanner mayalsohave attended toward was skeptical, attitude and if (432),buttheir Gurdjieff didparticipate their wasprobably due moreto respect for they presence in than to interest the Hulme claims Heap'sintelligence any teachings. due to Heap's influence thatGurdjieff's thatit was largely reputation in a persistent Bankconversations hush-hush like "loomedin Left way, a cloudenveloping a Jehovah" wasmes(Undiscovered 44). Hulmeherself in Heap'smeetings. Forthat merized when reason, bytheideassheheard
her employerreturnedto the US, she stayedin Paris,"counting each sou" (47).

This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

RebeccaRauve workedfora living, Hulme was the only Perhapsbecause she always memberof the Rope who seemed awareof thefinancial difficulties that the 1930s.Membersof Heap's study doggedGurdjieff during grouprarely encounteredGurdjieff, but one day in 1932, when Hulme spottedhim in a caf6, and he unexpectedly she introduced herself invitedher to visit the institute, by then deserted.She describesthe occasion as a melanand the Prieureitself as "a hauntedhouse" (69). Of Gurdjieff one, choly he looked like theloneliest himself she says,"Ithought man in theworld" of the institute-and the future of (70). As Hulme noticed,the future seem even to the In 1926 master. he'd Gurdjieff's teachings-did shaky, had a chance at a generousendowmentfromMabel Dodge Luhan,the Taos literary but Gurwealthy patronwho laterhelped D. H. Lawrence, in winter1931, he made another turnedher down.'5 Instead, brief djieff to NewYork to "restock his wallet" But had bills (Moore 244). trip gone foreclosed.16 unpaidfortoo long.In April 1932 The Prieure's mortgagees From 1933 to 1935 Gurdjieff spentmuch of his time in the US, where, he attempted in the styleto which to "reestablish himself Webb writes, he had become accustomed"(430). But by the late summerof 1935 he had returned to Paris,livingin a seriesof flats and using the Cafe de la Paix as a sortof unofficial It was here thatmembersof the as-yetoffice. unnamedRope groupsoughthim out. Because Gurdjieff workedthere, Solano,Hulme,Anderson, Leblanc, and Davidson began to frequent the caf&.Sipping coffeeat a discreet distance, theywatched his everymove. Hulme describesthem as "five table" highlyvibrating beggars, waitingfor a crumb fromthe master's (Undiscovered 73). Heap leftParis for London in October of thatyear. was "sufficiently withher masimpressed BaggettexplainsthatGurdjieff his he her move London of ideas that instructed to to to begin her tery own studygroup" (6). Unfortunately, Hulme writes,Heap's departure leftthe Paris students and Hulme was distressed "high dry." by the idea that the group would have to meet without a leader. So, afterseeing on theboat train, she proceededto Gurdjieff's tableat the Cafe Heap off de la Paix,where a mixture of audacityand luck nettedan invitation to dinnerwith the teacher(74-76). Hulme broughtDavidson and Solano and thento regular along forthe meal,which led to a second invitation, with the full In the meetings group. beginning,manuscriptreadings forthe sessions. seemed to supplythe raisond'&tre was at work Gurdjieff on Beelzebub's Talestohis Grandson, and he used the women as sounding


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff

boards on theself" andto (85).LaterGurdjieff beganto speakof"work outline forthewomento follow. exercises Hulme declines to describe theexercises butadds: directly, I believe that who hasstruggled to shut off themechanianyone mind a or who hastried to cally racing through sleepless night, for evenhalf a minute without associations pray having drag hashada taste, however ofthekind one'sattention small, away, ofself-discipline intowhichhe initiated us. (90) as there werereasons to theInstiJust whyParisproved hospitable tutefortheHarmonious of Man,there are distinct feaDevelopment tures of the French culture thatmade the phenomenon of the Rope The womenwho comprised it wereno different study grouppossible. from other women artists who abandoned theUS for wantFrance.They to find "thenecessary sexual andpersonal freeed,Benstock cultural, says, domto explore their creative intuitions" She contends that women (10). "a wholesubterrain shared ofresistance" to restrictions then expatriates in theUS, from itsprohibition ofalcohol to itsProtestant work prevalent notto mention itshostility to sexual ethic, (13).By conexperimentation Paris and freedom. the sortof trast, represented sophistication Exactly and openness to experimentation that attractindependent-mindedness ed thewomento Pariswouldhavebeen prerequisite to working with In the could not have Gurdjieff. addition, group'sunique dynamic without the sexualfreedom thatRope members in emerged enjoyed Paris.Itsmembers werenotjust friends but in some caseslovers, and this contributed to thestrong cohesion ofthegroup. Theirrelationships havedeveloped in themore US.As Germight very differently repressive trude Steinremarked, "It wasnotwhatFrance but whatit did gaveyou nottakeaway from that was in Benstock you important" (qtd. 13). The Rope groupmetfortwoyears and finally in spring disbanded from thethreat ofwar. After thispointits 1938,withgrowing pressure members had onlyverylimited contact withGurdjieff; their tutelage wasessentially over.Webb devotes fewer than twopagesin hislongbook to theRope,characterizing thegroup as something akinto an unsavory secret:
composed of women of a certaintype--literary, sophisticated,

It wasa group whichGurdjieff to itself, a group keptstrictly


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

RebeccaRauve or frankly and single-whether divorced, unmarried, deserted, who askedto be allowed to join the Lesbian.Casual visitors Workwere met with a blankrefusal. (432) beforeit had beMoore saysthatthe Rope group was "over virtually survived "the burnt-out landand adds that Solano and only gun" Heap scape of Gurdjieff'ssingular lesbian experiment" and went on to of Gurdjieff's these contribute to thegrowth (267). However, organization dismissals do not begin to takeinto account the salutary effect the group nor the courage and generosity had on its members'work as writers, the women scattered, with which theymet subsequentchallenges.After nursed Leblanc, who was dying of breast cancer, Anderson selflessly the heightof the war in France.Leblanc made "prodigiousefthrough death" forts to 'die consciously'-to watchthe core of herbeing through

Anderson's nextpartner, (Webb466).17 DorothyCaruso,also died ofbreast Anderson rose to the and cancer, challengeof nursingher comagain her patrioto Americato express panion untilthe end. Hulme returned Later she worked for an tism by working as a welder at a shipyard. She perinternational relief assisting displacedwar victims. organization, overseveral Ukrainiancamps, formedso well thatshe was made director a fine two men Solano, editor, 266). (Undiscovered unstintingly replacing in helpefforts of her friends and was instrumental the supported literary remained a Leblanc's death.Heap ing Andersonreturnto the US after movementin Britain.DirectorPeterBrook, keyleader in the Gurdjieff "When she spoke ... she would open greater one of her students, wrote, lifeto the detail of everyday vistasof understanding, linkingthe tiniest laws and the forces thatconditionhumanity" ( Baggett8). Ander"I cannot son recallsGurdjieff's saying, develop you; I can only create in whichyou can developyourselves" conditions 98).Wheth(Unknowable can be attributed to Gurdjieff, er or not theirstriving Rope members untilthe end seem to have takenthe taskof self-development seriously of their lives.


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Of loveandhate: The literary community's response

thegeneral of Gurdjieff's effect on auFromthebeginning, assessment on anyone at all-was hardly favorable. Some madefun thors-indeed, ofthephenomenon. RobertMcAlmon KayBoylerecalls hearing sayof "It'sa masshypnotism ofsomekind.....Theyliveon their theinstitute, and one meal's hallucinations" (McAlmon Boyle86-87).ForEzraPound, oftalkaboutspiritual was he worth liked development enough; Gurdjibetter than hisideas. flavored Persian eff's bright yellow, delicately soupfar in his(culinary) "If he had hadmoreofthat sort ofthing he repertoire on towards at leastone further could . . haveworked conversation," theteacher Pound joked ( Moore 191).Otheropinions regarding moresinister. BeforeMansfield died, Wyndham suggested something "in the gripof theLevantine Lewisnotedthatshe had fallen psychic in Moore188).After shark" herdeath,John Middleton wonMurry (qtd. deredifhermove"intothespiritual of Gurdjieff" had sealed quackery in herdeath Moore Rom Landau's Is God Adventure, 189). (qtd. My pubin 1935,embraced lished Gurdjieff's repudiated Gurdjiteachings-but An Ouspenskydevotee, eff. Landau spoke of Gurdjieff's "hypnotic and in Moore W B.Yeats told aggression" "telepathic rage"(qtd. 259).18 thehusband of themedium "I have a lot had of GeorgieLees, experiin mytime, ence of that sort ofthing and myadviceto youis-leave it alone" ( Byrd68). According toWebb, thatGurdjieff suspicions be even were to some extent borneout might unprincipled, dangerous, His events. influence to haveprompted several by subsequent appears withsome of his female suicides (332). He had sexualrelations pupils a number At one pointhe wasacand fathered ofillegitimate children. cusedofnear viewed asjoke ora threat, rape(335).Whether Gurdjieffwas Mooretells "Between andtheworld ofcultural bontonthere us, Gurdjieff wasto be no conciliation, no giving andno asking ofquarter" (288). formembers What thenwas the teacher's attraction of the Rope ofhiswriter An answer andother to that be group pupils? question may found in three of Gurdjieff's thecontent of separate aspects enterprise: histeachings, themodelhe provided forhisstudents, and theaesthetic he endorsed.

to Gurdjieff


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

stress on individualgrowthand empowerment was unique Gurdjieff's that flourished the strains of the mysticism during earlydecades among had a "sense of'I' so powerful of the 1900s.Moore writesthatGurdjieff and discreteit almostseemed to rattleinside him" (124). While other undertheinfluence and eventeachers oftheEast stressed self-abnegation to look for the "real I" among tualself-dissolution, Gurdjieff taught pupils the multiple, mechanicalIs thatdirectedtheirlives (Hulme, Undiscovered it the selfratherthan 41). Perhaps was this emphasison strengthening and it that attracted certain writers thePrieure artists.Visiting subjugating beforeshe became a pupil herself, that Solano observedof itsinhabitants for himself alone" in Ford "each was an egoist, 278).Anderstudying (qtd. remarked thatshe was a creature of ego,foundherson,who frequently his students to "act rather selfattracted by Gurdjieff's promiseto teach thanbe acted upon" (qtd. in Ford 262). She recallsa conversation with Moore says, as GurdjiMadame de Salzmann, who came to be regarded, "If I mustgive eff's mostadvanceddisciple(268). Andersoncomplained, moods I will have nothingto write about, I'll lose up my self-induced and feelings thatmake a good book." Salzmannreplied, all the thoughts like everyoneelse's?I do want to have and feelings "Why you thoughts from what wait forthe timewhen what you sayto me will be different else to own" Unknow(Anderson, everyone says me-authentic-your able 200-01). The searchfor the authenticI made a good project for writers materialready disposedto view theirown livesas theirprimary al. Referenceto the practiceof self-observation appearsin manyof his accounts. students' A relatedaspect of Gurdjieff's was its emphasison self-resystem to put mylife Toomer claimed"a deep-seatedunwillingness sponsibility. in underthe directionof anyoneotherthanmyself" (qtd. Byrd 72). He was able to learn fromGurdjieff because of the teacher's insistence that own his students were responsible for their Hulme, noticing progress. that"a major innerchange"had takenplace in her even thoughshe was with Gurdjieff, "There mustbe, in not in physical exclaimed, proximity that a certainpethis a factor of self-initiation could Work, appear after Youinitiate riod of apprenticeship. (Undiscovered 164). yourself!" sexual openness and his colorfulshock tacticscertainly Gurdjieff's He taught not onlythrough also appealed to the avant-garde community. and symbols but also "through esotericdance,diagrams, money, through

The teachings


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andthe Rope Gurdjieff andeating offood" thepreparation, andthrough alcohol, (Moore cooking Fourth thewayof theslyman, demands no rejec41). Gurdjieff's Way, to theworld(Moore57). Moorelaments thepubtionofsex,no dying ofwhatwenton at Gurdjieff's but lic misperception institute, in terms havedone moregood thanharmwhen Sinclair of publicity it might Lewiswrote, "It must be a hellofa placeto live... they havebuilttheir . . . a cross a cabaret and a harem" own 'gymnasium' between ( Vivienne EliotcalledthePrieur& for Moore 192),or when "that asylum theinsane ... where[Lady does dances naked with Rothmere] religious Katherine Mansfield" ( Moore 188).While theseare exaggeraPrieur& wererequired to participate in thenightly students ritual tions, oftoasts to various of where alcohol flowed and idiots, freely categories In the could become off-color. condemned jokes quite theory Gurdjieff but in practice he was no prude. Hills reports thathe homosexuality, shocked Anderson "withallusions to bodily functions shehad Margaret never in herlifementioned and withgross references to lesbian loveIn an letter to Hulme recounts (18). making" unpublished JaneHeap, thestory a brothel. ofa daywhenGurdjieff tookheroutfor Perrier-at "Nakedgirls buttocks our and men out to table, brushing past reaching them-that sortofthing. He watched never I felt so safe or everything. in all mylife-and yet, all thewhile, so secure he was baiting me,"she recalls in Baker 39). (qtd.

The model
also appealed to writers becausehe was a writer himself and Gurdjieff modeled thecommitment that thewriting entails. Formost writprocess erstime andsolitude arewhattheprocess demands aboveall else;andin weeks hisnear-fatal after carcrash, moved September 1924,just Gurdjieff to claimthese for hand for the On reToomer occasion, things himself. callsthewaythat without at the "calledevery Gurdjieff warning person Institute to gather himandsimply around announced ... that he would closetheInstitute-'liquidate' it was hisword"(76). Gurdjieff toldthe stunned students thatthe Prieur& would become his personal home, where visit friends andstudents Buttheformal strucbyinvitation. might ture oftheinstitute hadbeenpermanently A brush dissolved. withdeath in a carcrash wasa notoriously bad driver) had reordered his (Gurdjieff told He student "I, who have priorities. longtime Olga de Hartmann,


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve beenconsidered of lately byvery many peopleas a rather good teacher havenow becometodaya professional writer" dances, temple ( Moore211-12). He setto workimmediately on themanuscript that wouldlater be toHis Grandson.19 A good as AllandEverything: Tales published Beelzebub's he madehiswriting visible. Hulme's first model, process quite impressionof Gurdjieff, whensheand heremployer first himat the glimpsed wasthat Caf6de la Paix, of"a shaven-headed bentover hiswork" writer he (Undiscovered 60). Not onlydid he maketheact of working public, his of work in Leblanc recalls to gavepublicreadings progress. listening thembreathlessly: "To knowsomething of thestature of theman one had to listen of hismanuscript-an to thereading workin enormous in nineparts" Unknowable were still Anderson, 137).Thesereadings (qtd. a feature ofGurdjieff's when met him Caruso first community Dorothy in Parisin 1948.In hermemoir she remarks at length on thepractice, the that at first struck her as "interminable," admitting nightly readings his other seemed riveted the teacher's work(Personal though pupils by 173-75).20 History also demonstrated morehumble skills, Gurdjieff writerly including advicefrom andpersistence infaceoffailure. theability to accept others forthree on Beelzebub, In 1928,after he realized that he working years had "missed theright tone of voice" (Moore 222). He turned to "his editors" At other JaneHeap andA. R. Orage forhelp. long-suffering he neglected he times to askfor much-needed but knew how to advice, a mistake. In 1932,perhaps admit that hisworkhad still not impatient beenpublished, he dashed a book titled TheHerald Good: off ofComing toContemporary andcirculated itprivately. First Humanity RecipiAppeal "Ifanything an obstinate nail wereappalled. wascalculated to drive ents it of Gurdjieff's was the into the coffin literary reputation, ironicallytitled writes Moore(247).Ouspensky burned thecopiessent to Herald," Afhad contracted and mad. that him, syphilis gone assuming Gurdjieff that tera fewmonths, thenin NewYorkon a visit, admitted Gurdjieff, it.However, no soonerhad thebook was unacceptable and suppressed to he done so than he beganworkon another getting up early project, write at Child's Restaurant on Columbus Circle(Moore254). as an himself andto construct continued to write publicly Gurdjieff Herald was fortherest ofhislife, author eventhough theself-published
the only book thatsaw printin his lifetime. (The publisher's proofsof


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff

in hishands before hisdeath[Moore313]). Beelzebub arrived eight days he writer Ifhe wasnota successful nevertheless standards, bytraditional needed with a literhabits and attitudes modeled bypupils consistently useful to them at various that couldprove arybentand setan example in their owncareers. points

The aesthetic
"Art" thereadA chapter in Beelzebub's Tales toHis Grandson titled gives is a fallofGurdjieff in theroleofliterary critic. Beelzebub era glimpse of humanbeingsas he hurtles en angel, upon thenature expounding in a art Beelzebub tells his Before deteriorated, space spaceship. through the known as an "This he exartist was word," "Orpheist." grandson, ofwords then in use, which from twodefinite roots "is composed plains, in contemporary and'essence.' Ifsomeone was times wouldsignify 'right' he rightly it meant that sensed theessence" calledthus, Unfortu(495). ofart losttrack oftheword's after several practitioners nately, generations, anddecided to callthemselves which meant sense artists, genuine simply with were invented art" fashions (496). Literary "he-who-is-occupied Beelzebubsays: "The maleficent to covertheemptiness of theactivity, form of custom forthemis thatthey periodically changetheexternal whatis called (501). 'the-covering-of-their-nullity"' thecauseoftrue Beelzebub attributes art's to humanity's demise proofperception" that "thebasis lossofthe"sensibility for gressive provided ofnatural Like D. H. Lawrence thepossibility and (472). self-perfecting" had thesensethat thehumanracehad theearlier romantics, Gurdjieff somehow fallen from He shared that writer's with grace. preoccupation of theunconscious, an interest that in theproblem beganforGurdjieff "Likesomeof hisEuropean his early career as a hypnotist. contempoto breakthrough raries-Freud andJung amongthem-he was trying 'normal consciousness' to thesubconscious Webb man's mind," waking

of Gurdjieff's in the introThereare further indications aesthetic duction to Meetings with Remarkable Men.He describes whathe seesas thethree of contemporary thendismisses them all. literature, categories to be "an he writes: "To sum Persian," Claiming quoting intelligent up that ofour times, I cannot hasbeen saidabouttheliterature everything find to describe itthan theexpression,'it better words hasno soul'"(14).


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve theoldmanprefers "anecdotes andproverbs," ofwhich Instead, bymeans of an idea can sometimes be very well transmitted." "the quintessence The formal characteristics of thebook thatfollows are very muchin withthis accord Instead of forth his preference. straightforwardly setting describes encounters with who others have "voluntheories, Gurdjieff andinvoluntarily, served as'vivifying factors' for thecomplete fortarily of mation ofone or another (109). aspect myindividuality" The Persian ofGurdjieff's introduction an anecgoeson to recount the fact dote aboutsome sparrows on a ledgeand bemoaning sitting andrattle, that for all their smoke automobiles cannot be counted on to road which the had some (from produce apples sparrows formerly pecked as horse-drawn had.Theold manconcludes that nourishment) carriages in contemporary is nothing for substantial ouressential "there literature, all only, aim.It is all exterior: as in the taleof the old sparrow, noise, a and nauseous smell" critical here (16).The rattling, principles espoused could be saidto sharecertain modernist suchas thoseextendencies, in her 1925 "Modern whensheacWoolf Fiction," pressed byVirginia cuses and of to make Wells, Bennett, Galsworthy wasting energy trying and the transitory "It is because the trivial appeartrueand enduring. not with the but with the that have are concerned body spirit they they Woolf writes us," (158). disappointed to reinforce This story of thesparrows not onlyserves Gurdjieff's the that literature should serve reader's spiritual developprimary point it also betrays a rather Walter ment, Benjamin jaundicedview ofwhat he terms the"production world.Whether (94) oftheliterary apparatus" in theservice itor not, theauthor is"working ofclass realizes interests," a production asserts (93). It is"all too easyto supply apparatus Benjamin without he writes and it," (95); bywayofpromoting change, changing thewriter taketheattitude ofa teacher, he recommends that instructing He concludes: "This in theartofbecoming themselves. readers producers in it contact will the more consumers be the better, brings apparatus it withtheproduction themorereaders or spectators process-inshort, transhada genius for turns intocollaborators" (96). Gurdjieff certainly that his into he understood his students collaborators. forming Perhaps on to a on their skill and extent literary might depend large reputation whatthey hadto sayabouthiswork. in"artfor art's sake" werenotinterested LikeGurdjieff, hisstudents
in art as a means to achieve more profoundaims."Self-exbut rather


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff

therecording is notenough; is notenough; ofspepression experiment writes cialmoments or casesis notenough," Jane Heap in her1929ediLittle Review issue of the Little Review torialforthe final (Anderson, that the works 353).22 Anthology Claiming self-expressive, experimental withtheir had"lostconnection origin... published by themagazine that "The thelegitimate andpermanent material ofart," concludes Heap no doubt; butit'stoo biga job forart" world-mind hasto be changed, "If artdoes notpromote humandevelopment in (353).Toomerasked, who produce itandin those who receive those it,ofwhatuseart?" (qtd. in Byrd 86). andself-responsibility, Due to their on self-reflection Guremphasis lentthemselves to thewriting process. djieff's teachings Thoughmany writers wereputoff his outlandish theoneswho methods, by teaching withhimseemed atleastin somewayto enjoythem. worked Gurdjieff on their own terms. and he tookit upon writers He wrote, approached himself ofmodern literature. to assess thestate Smallwonder, that then, he polarized theliterary both of the Atlantic. on sides More community butfewremained writers reviled than embraced neutral. him,

The Rope group

attend thetask ofexamining on thework Challenges Gurdjieff's impact ofhisliterary How can one tellwhether similarities pupils. amongtheir worksare theresult of association withGurdjieff or occursimply becausethewriters who weredrawn to histeachings shared certain character traits andinterests ofthemaster? Another is independent difficulty theexistence ofmany each with its own characteristics. The subgroups, lifeofthecentral at thePrieur6 wasrelatively short. community Spinoff in Paris, andLondonwereallvery different one from NewYork, groups to a specific subsite liketheRope another.23 By restricting investigation one avoid can the of sites with group, problem comparing competing butsuchrestrictions For exalso tendto limit characteristics, meaning. oftheRope'smembers most wrote little or nothing before meetample, it impossible to drawanyconclusions abouthow ing Gurdjieff, making workmight havechanged their as a result oftheencounter.
two preliminary observations about Gurdjieff's effect on hislitStill,

as a siteof literary production


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve afFirst, erarydisciplesseem significant. manybecame more productive ter meetinghim.This is certainly true of both of his well-knownmale Toomer and Rene whose output increasedmarkDaumal, pupils, Jean in if not is not a well-knownfact, but during "It edly quantity quality.24 the tenyearsthat Toomerwas mostactivein theGurdjieffwork, he wrote more novels, and essaysthanat any otherperiod plays, poems,sketches, This was an enormously in hislife. writes Toomer," productive period for in the and ineven-handed Rudolph Byrd (86), perhaps only thorough of the impact of Gurdjieff on an author'sliterary vestigation output. draft Toomer completedthefirst of his novel Transatlantic duringa single stint at the Prieur& It that is the(Byrd108). 17-day possible Gurdjieff's ories keptDaumal from abandoningwriting altogether. Roger Shattuck notes thatin 1930, Daumal "was preparedto throwover everything he had workedto accomplish, as Rimbaud had literature at abandoned just It was at this a corresponding age" (18).25 juncture thatAlexandrede in his life. most devotedpupils,intervened Salzmann,one of Gurdjieff's Insteadof abandoninghis work,Daumal went on to produce a seriesof on Nerval,Spinoza,Dalcroze,Hegel, Plato,Hindu philosophy, and essays For a season he was in chargeof a department otherrelatedsubjects. of RevueFranfaise; he translated the Nouvelle Death in the Hemingway's Afand in 1935 he won theJacquesDoucet prize forhis first volternoon; ume of poems,Le Contre-Ciel. Three yearslaterhis philosophicalsatire, La Grande He spentthe lastfouryearsof his life was published. Beuverie, hardat work on Mount Analogue despitehis havingbeen diagnosedwith and despitehis marriage into a Jewish tuberculosis just beforethe family fall of France,which doomed him to a life of uncertainresourcesand perpetualrelocation(Shattuck19-20). Associationwith the teacherseems to have had a similarly invigoeffect on writers of the Rope group.Little Review founder Margrating in France. "One of Gurdjieff's after exercises called forisolashe arrived for at least an hour of not the tion permitting mind to wanquietness, on 'the aim of life.'.. . Out of thisexercisecame der,but concentrating writesHills (11). My Thirty War the idea of writingher own life," Years' of what would was a resultof thatearlyexercise.It was only the first In addition to these works and the novel,Andersonalso wrote an ac-

until thesummer of 1924, aret Anderson didn't beginto write seriously

and energetic to be three volumes ofan engaging autobiography. prove


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff

countof the impact of Gurdjieff's on herown life, The Unteaching knowable Gurdjieff Between1928 and 1930,as Anderson worked on herautobiograher lover Leblanc wrote a Souvenirs,candid, phy, occasionally moving memoir ofheryears with Maurice Maeterlinck. Shewaspriplaywright a singer and actress, but in the headyatmosphere marily surrounding she recalled the earlier ofherlitplaywright's Gurdjieff, encouragement anddecided to putitto use (131).Later, as shewasdying of erary ability breast shewrote a second book aboutherresponse to Gurdjieff's cancer, La Machine thepoetic a Courage. in France, this book (Published teachings, hasnever beentranslated intoEnglish.) Hulmecredits withimproving notjust herproKathryn Gurdjieff but also the of her an exercise exductivity quality writing. Performing Hulme to herself in the events plained byHeap, began trying picture day's as thecentral on a rollof film(Undiscovered 48). This led herto figure visualize childhood in thesamewayandto write events downwhatshe remembered When who in lived an Solano, (50). apartment upstairs, chanced across a page of thesememories, she toldHulme,"This... is whatyou're to do.Rightnow. else"(53).The resulting Drop everything We Lived as was to Children, eventually manuscript, published byKnopf, Hulme's amazement andjoy."Ifan unknown mannamedGurdjigreat eff had nottoldsomeone, who toldsomeoneelsewho finally toldme, how to unroll thereels andlook at theshadow offorgotten selves buried in theunconscious there would never havebeenthat start," memory, she writes a number of highly read(54). Hulmewenton to produce crafted three travel Arab Interable,carefully books, narratives, including Desert and The Wild Place last won the Atlantic Nonfiction lude, (the Night, PrizeAward in 1953);thenovelsTheNun'sStory and Annie's Captain; and Undiscovered the of her encounter with Country, story Gurdjieff. EvenDorothy who metGurdjieff after hishealth Caruso, only briefly had begunto fail, usedhistechniques as inspiration to write. Anderson herto record hermemories ofmarriage to EnricoCaruso. encouraged WhenDorothy that shedidn't knowhow to begin, Anderson protested at a where above stoodandtoldher,"Suppose there pointed balcony they was a screen stretched across that at balcony. Supposeyouwerelooking a motion-picture ofyour life with Enrico. and tell what Beginanywhere finished thefirst draft of 156).Dorothy yousee" ( Personal History thebook in six weeks, "as ifpropelled by powers beyond[her]own."


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve Soon after itscompletion, thesimply toldlove story was published by Simonand Schuster. This success likeLeblanc, to writea her, inspired secondmemoir, Personal History. The twoRope members who seemed lessencouraged asbytheir sociation withtheteacher to write booksor commit their memories of himto paperwereSolitaSolano andJaneHeap,though bothwomen cameto playkeyroles in Gurdjieff's As mentioned above, organization. was sent to London in the mid-1930s to found herown group. Heap more renowned herspeaking for than for what shewrote,26 Always ability in remained London as an active of ideas. Heap promoter Gurdjieff's in herroleas spiritual letters She alsowrote missives that leader, brusque could havea strong effect on their Solano had published recipients.27 three novels before to work the with teacher: The Uncertain beginning Feast The Failure and This Allthree (1924), Happy (1925), Way Up(1927).28 werepsychological studies withthemisery and unpredictability dealing ofromantic love. were not well and it maybe that Solreviewed, They also a successful freelancer to had tired of ano, magazines, simply grown to herfiction) (or ofthecool reception writing bythetimesheturned to Gurdjieff. The collection of poemsshewroteafter theRope group a Statue in in a greater convened, Field, privately published 1934,reveals of than the as wellas a gift for lannovels, degree maturity using simple In 1937SolanobecameGurdjieff's unusual effects. secguageto produce Historians credit her with vital information about his retary. preserving methods. who was on this "treasure trove inof Baker, teaching drawing formation" forhisbook (41),madesomeofSolano'snotesavailable on theGurdjieff website before hisdeath; them are wonderful tidamong bits likethenames ofthegroup members"'"inner was animals"-Solano's a canary, Hulme's wasa crocodile, andAnderson's wasa Tibetan yak(42). Given all theactivity described itseems in terms clear that of above, the benefited no than less and Toomer Daumal productivity Rope group theGurdjieff-endorsed from ofvisualizing then commemories, practice themto paper. A secondwaythat writers to havebeen mitting appear affected withGurdjieff involves theform their work took, byassociation whichmirrored theteacher's choices. DaumalandToomer favored selfinstructive the of to lines Tales His Beelzebub's consciously allegory along Grandson. unfinished fable a sea voyMount describes Daumal's Analogue that contains theworld's tallest whichthe mountain, age to a continent
narrator and his companionsare intenton climbing. (The mountainre-


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andthe Gurdjieff Rope invisible to most Toomer's mains ofhumanity.) Transatlantic mysteriously a sea voyage. Both it and The Gallonwerps are fables also recounts that for theories. Instead of writers serve asvehicles allegories, Gurdjieff's Rope forms and encomiums, alsofavored byGurdproduced questnarratives Remarkable stories focuson people Like Meetings with Men,their jieff. as vivifying in their who"served factors" lives.While Anderson, Hulme, all wrote on and Caruso narratives centered Leblanc, book-length quest works alsocelebrate Gurdjieff's galvanizing byRope members presence, thanGurdjieff. The first volume ofAnderson's peopleother autobiograin as can be read a tribute to the influence ofHeap; phy part enlivening Leblanc's and the third frethesecondpraises makes wisdom; spiritual to Solano'slively Anderson's novelForbidquentreference intelligence. fictionalizes her relationship withstillanother denFires commanding PlowsDay.Leblanc's actress memoir of Maeterlinck woman, Josephine their anddwells on theplaywright's Carubreakup downplays strengths. so eulogized herhusband, and Hulme'sTheNun'sStory is basedon the ofherlife fictionalized adventures Malou Habets. partner to serve often allowedtheir texts as vehiWhile theRope writers didso moredirectly andyet clesfor lessheavytheories, they Gurdjieff's handedly than Gurdjieff'smale pupils did, avoiding both the and didacticism that flawed self-valorization Toomer's novels post-Cane that and thevagueness allows a critic likeRogerShattuck to imply that withGurdjieff. Daumal never so muchas cameintocontact Shattuck's toMountAnalogue contains no direct introduction reference totheteacher, thenovelwaswritten after Daumalbecamehisstudent. Moore though claims that this unfinished novelis"thefirst French testament to GurdbutShattuck theGurdjieff connec(273),29 jieff's teaching" underplays Daumal'sown lively whichhe describes as tion,stressing intelligence, full ofhuman devoted to seeking and fearless, sympathy, "unquenchable, truth" sketch ofDaumal, Shat(20).In a nine-page teaching biographical a to Gurdjieff that at low in his tuckalludes once,conceding life, point Daumal"regained hisconfidence andhissenseofdirection as a result of a man Alexandre de who [Gurdjieff's Salzmann] meeting disciple apto embody thegoalswhichDaumalfelt from him"(18). peared slipping Shattuck "The meeting did not so muchchange However, continues, Daumal'sideasas reconfirm all thethinking he had done in thepreviand to In ous five then doubt." the critical section of his years begun dwells on Shattuck Mount links to Eastern essay Analogue's philosophy


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

RebeccaRauve of the attempts of thinkers like Sartre "to trace (21) and its anticipation the perpetualflight of consciousness" (25).30 It would be impossibleto obscureToomer'stiesto the teacher. Dethe of their 190 to subject voting Byrd argues that pages relationship, almostall of Toomer'swork can only be understoodas expressive of a commitment to a particular "ideal of Man" (xv) inspiredby Gurdjieff. from The Gallonwerps, and He drawson excerpts Toomer'snovelsCaromb, Transatlantic to supportthe claim thatToomer'sobsessionwith Gurdjieff'stheories"weakened and thenwasted his greattalent"(99). Indeed, one sample passage fromThe Gallonwerps (99-100) seems to rival the All written after Toomer's worstof D. H. Lawrenceforsheerdidacticism. with Gurdjieff, the novelsremainunpublished to this decisiveencounter the Harrison Smith to Toomer publisher day,though begged accept If we trust thesewere books with a thesisrather them.31 Byrd'sreading, than a vision (98). And, he claims,the novels have other features that After the meetingwith Gurdjieff, forexample, open them to criticism. the issue of race virtually Toomer's work,despite the disappearsfrom black ancestry meantthatit remaineda sensifactthathis own partially rich literary tive issue in his life and a potentially subject (98).32The After threeunpublishednovelsalso invitecensureon feminist grounds. in the sexist of"male savior the which theyemploy trope detailing ways come down to rescue and lead a helplessfemale," Byrd concludes that view thatwomen are the blame restswith the influenceof Gurdjieff's He writes, intellectual. emotionaland men essentially "Sensiessentially will and disappointed ... and wonderwhattivereaders will be dismayed everbecame of the perceptive, sensitive poet of Cane" (105).33 Leinfluence on their lives, opennessabout Gurdjieff's Despite their of and Hulme received a fair number blanc,Anderson,Caruso, positive In Strange Anderson records the Frenchcritical reviews. response Necessity, "A book so tragic, an exso moving,constitutes to Leblanc's Souvenirs: in has rare event. so so tremely Nothing beautiful, strong, appeared many "A book Stendhalwould have loved,forall thatit years"(109). Further: in And further still: "Genius overflows containsof the rareand the true." and psychological Ford that thisbook--literary genius."34 Hugh reports Years' Warwas favorable the contemporary (272), responseto My Thirty criticsthroughout her long and Anderson'swork continuedto interest life.In a 1970 review (Andersondied in 1973), AlfredKazin describes as a "highlycharged, femiher three-volume autobiography fascinatingly


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff withthe mostintensely vibrations nine monologue, rocking personal .. . Kazin comparesher Andersonpossessedgenius, (1).While he deniesthat with its"furiousideaccount of her love forLeblanc in Fiery Fountains, to the great"roalism concentrated wholly on personalrelationships," in Fitzgerald mantictragedies and Hemingway"(29). Reviewer Ann FE Caruso:A Personal Wolfe claimsthatCaruso's Dorothy History, published her book about her husband, seven yearsafter is "an even better-a far better-book than EnricoCaruso" (55). Wolfe acknowledgesDorothy Caruso's "discipleship" with Gurdjieff, but even so does not hesitateto creditthe memoirwith historical "As a candle illuminates significance: its sconce,so the storyof [Caruso's]innerevolutionthrows lighton the of her era."Hulme's The Nun's Story, which transposes the Gurdhistory values of and a self-observation self-reliance onto Catholic jieffian prowas a best seller-popular enough to be made into an Audrey tagonist, Hepburn movie (Baker40). books and Solano'spoetry, whatremains Leavingaside Hulme's travel of the Rope group'soutputis a cluster of narratives markednot onlyby forms In Strange similar but by similar Andersondescribes Necessity, styles. the group'ssharedaesthetic, one that stresses the primacyof emotion over intellect, the particular over the general, and the personalover the "To the emotions of life is to live. To expressthe life of public. express emotionsis to make art," Andersonwrites (19). Solano also privileged the emotions, Leblanc's Souvenirs as "a recordof her unique valpraising or and tragedy." She added,"It is specialforpeople who reactto a great, illuminednatureof innerstruggles, all of which are individual(personas al) to her" (qtd. in Anderson, 109).35Discountingintellectuals Strange lists the reasons she to view her more "sentimental,"Anderson why began cerebral friends with distrust: "Theirjudgments(so wavering), the inexactitudesof theirweightsand measures, the irresponsibility and unrealityof theiropinionsand their positions"(105). had taughtthem to see as Rope writerscounteredwhat Gurdjieff the relentless mechanicalactivity of the mind with the use of imagery. the work her of Anderson friends, Praising says, "They seem not to think, but to see; and theirthoughts are pictures" 116). Leblanc:"It de(Strange on I a vision. a see like an pends grief image tracedby my nerves.It becomes more clear, more precise, it takeson a form, and thenfallsfrom me. The storyof a fruittree."Heap: "With my hands I take my brain and slowlyuncrumpleit ... surprising how big it is smoothedout like


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

RebeccaRauve meltedsilk.I will crumpleit up again firmly I have and put it back after leftit thisway fora long time shiningand clean" (117). In additionto anothersharedstylistic trait is thatof pastiche. vivid imagery, Rope narrativesoftenincorporateold journal entries, or aphorisms, significant of remembered scraps dialog.Caruso'smemoirofEnrico Caruso includes The same inclusivetendency that cartoonsketches by the famoussinger. of to choose others as the so writers many of promptedRope subject them to open theirtextsto adtheirbooks also seems to have inspired mitthe wordsand work of others. Anderassertedthatshe was not a writer, Althoughshe frequently of the group.Her son was in factthe most accomplishedand inventive as she aged, remained work,which became increasingly experimental In "I mustwrite in her lived last book she wrote, experience. grounded no singlesentencethatdoesn'tpresent an experiencedfact-real or that took place in my imagination"(Strange 174). These books invite really the explorationof a varietyof open questions,among them the relaand of the memoirto issuesof self-representation, self-creation, tionship in of the and the role of the constitution writing everyday; performance; in relation of narrative to affect. the function

The Rope group Conclusion:

Gurdjieff encouragedcommunalfeelingamong the Rope membersto The November a much greaterextentthan among his male students. beforeher death,KatherineMansfieldwrote in a letterto her husband "I remember I used to think-if therewas one JohnMiddleton Murry: it would be the women. But thingI could not bear in a community, now the women are nearerand fardearerthanthe men" (qtd. in Webb the Rope group's"inner-world 248). Hulme recallsbeing told to regard a of team effort as sort 92). "Each mustthinkof (Undiscovered journey" the otherson the rope,all forone and one forall."Theywere instructed to the comeach contributing to help each other"'as handwasheshand,' her means." her to to lights, according panyaccording memberstook seriouslythe directionto help The group'sliterary each othernotjust with respectto theirspiritual quest but also to their Leothersharedvocation-writing. Heap prescribed writingexercises.

as a literary community


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff books as a direct result ofAnderson's blanc and Caruso wrotetheir prodYears' like the War, ding.The publishedversionof Anderson'sMy Thirty two autobiographical volumesthatwould follow, was the productof SolForbidden Baker notesthatSolano ano's "expertediting"(Anderson, 12). savedHulme's Undiscovered whichmight otherwise have Country, probably under the of its She was not (44).36 collapsed weight "purpleprose" just a skillededitorbut a supportive one as well.To helpAndersonin the last she actually Years' fora room in War, My Thirty stagesof writing arranged a quiet hotel for her,and had tulips sent up every three days (Ford 269-70). The more successful women in the group did theirbest to see that the newcomersto the literary scene were published.37 Andersonin parher in ticulargrewfrustrated friends' by difficulty placingtheirwork: I oftenwonderwhy some publisher doesn'tannounce to the "I shall books which areART. Help!!"This is world, publishonly what the Little Review would be did,and a valiantnew publisher as we were at the response-aestheticand finanas surprised cial-he would receive. (Strange 111) did not materialize When publishers evenwhen quickly(and sometimes wordsintoher own projects. The theydid),Andersonsplicedher friends' is a veritablepatchworkof her own writing, Unknowable secGurdjieff tions frombooks by Leblanc and Caruso, and lettersfromHeap. The includespoems by Solano and Leblanc as well as a numStrange Necessity ber of otherwritingsamplesby her friends. The resultis verydifferent fromthe self-conscious use of pasticheforits formalqualities.Instead, the effect is more like thatof a dinnerconversation where everyoneis energizedand wantsto talkat once. Withinthe Rope group, letters role.An indicaplayedan important tion of how theircorrespondence can be seen in a 1941 letfunctioned terto Heap fromher longtimecorrespondent FlorenceReynolds,who, like Caruso,became an honorary memberof the Rope circle: I wroteyou thatSolita sentme the manuscript [Anderson's Fiery of it Some is so with the Fountains].... exquisite quality fragile had theselastyears.... [But] to takeout all the Martyhas herself G stuff-mydear-do you realizehow littlewould be left, I mean how few actualpages?His name is mentionedfifty-five


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve timesby actual count and whole sectionsare nothingbut a disin your cussionof ideas and theirimpactupon her.Yousuggest that"Solita selectthe storiesor pieces thatmightget publetter in her letter, so lished."She didn'tcommenton thissuggestion I'll writeher and see ifshe is amenable.... (Heap 141) even membersof how all the group'smembers, This passage suggests of the texts like Reynolds,assumedownership the extendedcommunity to conveythose textssafely the group produced.They workedtogether readthepublishing processand intothehandsof discriminating through more is at what present also hints to Anderson's ers.Thereference fragility forone another's concern members' letters: the in other group overtly text aboutAnderletter is The and Reynolds's safety well-being. physical in is written and son's textabout Gurdjieff's text, responseto a textby an important part of theirmuHeap. The web of language constituted net. tualsafety As time went on and theirfriendships deepened, Rope members to a wide audience.At in catering appearto have become less interested the novel'sheroineacForbidden in Anderson's a significant Fires, point of worryingtoo much about the public."The cuses her love interest public is an 'unconsciousmonster'.. . Why considerit?" she asks (81), with a disdainthatechoes sentiments by fellowAmericanexexpressed did the group'swriting much of and Stein. Pound Nevertheless, patriates enmembers that The acceptance readers. findits way to appreciative linked in no small measureto is lifetimes their probably joyed during The libthatParis offered. the personalfreedomand artistic inspiration with work to chance them the also afforded eral Parisianenvironment seemsto have contribwhose unorthodox clearly mentorship Gurdjieff, sexof interests-literary, uted to theirsuccess.Formedat an intersection for site as a fertile functioned ual, spiritual-the Rope study group thepriIt privileged and self-empowerment. self-revision, self-invention, over the collaboration vate and personaloverthe public and impersonal, Whetheror not its meetings "work of genius." the individual produced community literary theydid engendera feminist higherconsciousness, whose membersgave birthto a sincereand searching body of work.In "parable of the road keeping with the values expressedby Gurdjieff's unaffected remained to have seems the relatively Rope group apples," their work the smell" of nauseous and the "noise, rattling, industry by


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff Their attention focusedinsteadon self-reflection, selfmodestlyfueled. forfellow"sparrows." and a desireto providenourishment responsibility,

1866? Gurdjieff born in Alexandropolin RussianArmeniato a Greek andArmenianmother. father 1887-1907 Gurdjieff's the inspiration forthe years," "missing possibly in detailed with Remarkable Men. wanderings Meetings in St. Petersburg, 1911 Arriving takeshis first Gurdjieff pupils. 1914 Margaret Andersonfoundsthe Little Review. 1916 AndersonmeetsJaneHeap.They become loversand In 1917 theymove to NewYork. copublishers. 1918 Gurdjieff and a group of about 40 followers are displacedby politicalupheaval. 1922 Journalist in Pariswith NewYorker Solita Solano settles Flanner. correspondent Janet now with a band of about 25, entersParis.In August Gurdjieff, he foundsthe Institute forthe HarmoniousDevelopmentof Man nearFontainebleau. 1924 Andersonand Heap are among thoseimpressed by Gurdjieff duringhis visitto NewYork.Andersonand her new lover the GeorgetteLeblanc move to Parisand begin to frequent Fontainebleau institute. follows soon after. Heap 1927 Heap and AndersontakeSolano to visitthe institute. Solano is not impressed. 1929 The finalissue of the Little Review appears. in Europe as a paid companion,meetsSolano. 1930 Hulme, traveling 1932 Due to unpaid bills,the institute's foreclose. mortgagees Gurdjieff much of the next few in the US. spends years A studygroupled by Heap beginsto hold regular meetings. Hulme attends, and her interest in Gurdjieff's teachings her to remainin Paris. prompts


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

RebeccaRauve 1935 Gurdjieff returns to Paris.Heap goes to London to founda new study group. 1936 The Rope groupis officially In additionto constituted. include New Anderson, Leblanc,Solano,and Hulme, attendees Louise Davidson and British follower Elizabeth Englander Gordon. 1938 The groupdisbandsunderthreat of war. 1941 Leblanc dies of breastcancer, nursedbyAnderson.On herway back to the US (whereSolano has already Anderson returned), meetsDorothyCaruso. 1943 Hulme servesthe war effort as a welderin a San Francisco in the shipyard. Beginningin 1945, she worksas a supervisor relief international effort. 1948 Andersontravels to Pariswith Caruso,who meetsGurdjieff for the first time.Solano, Hulme, Heap, and a numberof other students return to spend timewiththe agingteacher. 1949 Gurdjieff dies in Paris.

1.Margaret Anderson haslately someattention from feminist received critics. NinaVanGessel that Anderson's ofher memoir funny, suggests pugnacious Little Review canbe readas an attempt to counter ofthelesbian cliches as years tormented misfit. A 1996dissertation K.Willis discusses Anderson's byJulia in connection ofMarianne aesthetics withtheaesthetics Moore.Fascinating as withGurdjithese twoworks don'tmention Anderson's connection are, they Mathilda Hills's informative introduction toAnderson's eff. very recently pubnovelForbidden Fires doesdiscuss connection withGurdjieff, lished Anderson's excellent introduction to theHeap/Reynolds as doesHollyA. Baggett's letters, takes itas a primary butneither topic. one ofGurdji2.Another significant literary pupilwasA. R. Orage.Foryears eff's staunchest theNew a British deOrageedited supporters, Age, magazine votedto politics, andthearts from 1907to 1922. literature, 3. Gurdjieff's exactbirthday is unknown.Though he claimed to havebeen Allthat bornin 1866,scholars debate boththeyear andtheday. is clearis that he celebrated itonJanuary 13.


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andthe Rope Gurdjieff

whateverservedthe aims of theWork was good; what hinderedit, 4. Basically, evil (Webb 179). in mysticism, Ti5. Narzunoff and his sponsorssharedan interest specifically betanBuddhism(Webb 57). 6. The early1900s were a timewhen theWest had a certainopennessto ideas consideredunconventional. Before Gurdjieff reachedParis to attract previously thatrepresented some of the period'sprominent artists and writers, a following forexample,Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Societywas alreadywell established in England and the US, and Indian guruslikeVivekanandaandYogananda had touredtheWest and been well received.For a discussionof this phenomenon,includingthe influenceof Hindu philosophyon Blavatsky's seeVivianWorthington.Julie Kane also providesa good summary theosophy, of the occult in the early1900s. of the popularity is probably the mostreadablelong 7. Ouspensky'sIn Search oftheMiraculous it account of Gurdjieff's teachings, though was publishedafter Ouspenskysplit with Gurdjieff. amassedfundsforthe purchaseof the Prieur6by a seriesof"fre8. Gurdjieff netic businessdeals" (Moore 175).When he wasn'tat Fontainebleau, he was in Paris exercising his talents as a restaurateur, as a hypnotist who serveda clienon the Middle East. tele of alcoholicsand drugaddicts, and as a consultant in oil-fieldshares. Moore reports thathe "made a killing" 9.The property's owner,Harold Dohrn, claimed thatwhen he leased the propin to he had been hypnoerty Gurdjieff violationof a preexisting agreement, tized (Webb 189). 10. Georges Bataillewas one of the regular attendeesat Kojeve's lectures at the The concept of sovereignty he would laterdevelop bears College of Sociology. of self-mastery. at leastsome superficial to Gurdjieff's similarity system 11. Moore suppliesMansfield's own account of her bizarrelodgings, a supposhealthful "bower" above the stable: edly It's simplytoo lovely. There is a smallsteepstaircase to a littlerailed-off are divanscoveredwith galleryabove the cows. On the littlegallery so simple, Persiancarpets. ... And all so gay, one of summer reminding thatsmelllike milk. (181-82) grassesand the kind of flowers 12. Between 1922 and 1924, Munson put out a literary magazine called Secesmeant to steer a course between what he saw as the mistakes of the toosion, Dial the successful and too-obscure Little Review (thatis,sellout) (Munson


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve

that wouldhave hints at a sensibility editorial 1.22-23).Themagazine's policy with for madeMunsona good candidate study Gurdjieff: between a therelation task ofthecritic is ... to examine The primary the andto ascertain writer andhisdynamic matter), reality (subject ofthis relationofmindinduced ofthestate bytheprecipitate quality a writer: itis always a poetor fiction maybe a vicefor ship. Catholicity virtue for thecritic. (1.16) HartCrane, thelikes of WaldoFrank, itsdemise, Secession Before published and Malcolm William Carlos Williams,Wallace Stevens, Cowley. in light of thecrash theideathat 13.Webb mayhavebeendeliberate, explores Howoftheevent. eerieforeknowledge to havebeenGurdjieff's whatappears wouldgo to such that itis difficult to believe he concedes ever, anyteacher his followers to test (296-97). life-threatening lengths simply Hulme's memoir. Soon after ofself-effacing 14.Thissort pervades language wasaccepted for in Europe, one ofherstories herarrival bytransipublication butadds,"It works itappeared with that tion. She notes bySteinandBoyle, to that sometimes freakish one ofthose wasofcourse happen acceptances atAnderson Christmas writers" novice (33).Ata festive reception Day musical in 1931,Hulmefelt to be Paris chateau outside rented andLeblanc's lucky she behind thebar, where scene" from to"look outon thesparkling allowed to serve drinks hadbeenassigned (56). work in Gurdjieff's interest that Luhanhada "dilettante" 15.Moorereports couldbe andsexualnecessities that "hersharp andhadconcluded spiritual atTaos-with virile ofhisInstitute setup a branch reconciled onlyifGurdjieff a Toomer wouldstart Toomer as principal" andhandsome (215).Later Jean own share of and his at Wisconsin, garner Portage, experiment Prieure-style lurid (244). newspaper publicity camedown for theforeclosure theimmediate reason outthat 16.Webb points couldno of the Prieur6 theloss andthat a localcoal merchant, to a billfrom in if so. hadbeeninterested doing It was doubthavebeenavoided Gurdjieff behavior of the teacher's instance occasionally incomprehensible yetanother (426). volume ofherautobiography, thefinal 17.Attheendof TheStrange Necessity, to from death Leblanc Anderson her:"Always encourage returning imagines heart and that eased in the same words ofGurdjieff, shespeaks my always all we learned will that will not effort:You on, forget you my go encouraged we sawhimaccomplish" all that from him, (221).


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

and the Rope Gurdjieff 18. Both Ouspenskyand A. R. Orage began as loyal disciplesand laterbroke storiesthatwould requiremanypages to recount. with Gurdjieff--complicated after his death in 1949. His otherbooks 19.This book was publishedshortly Good (1933), Meetings Remarkable Men were The HeraldoftheComing with the Third left at in a and his death Series, (1963), privately published fragmenthe hastily written Heraldof tarystate(Webb 544). Since Gurdjieff repudiated theComingGood,and since Meetings with Remarkable Men may have been heaviBeelzebub remainsthe most reprely edited beforeitsposthumouspublication, sentative of his work. sample 20.The readings, stillfromBeelzebub's TalestoHis Grandson, lacked continuity. week, or some"Chaptersread the week beforewere repeatedthe following timesa chapterread halfway was neverresumed," Caruso recalls(174). through 21. Luhan triedhardto interest Lawrence in Gurdjieff's and the teachings, Lawrencesactuallyvisitedthe Prieurebriefly towardthe end ofJanuary 1924. But Lawrence remainedfirm in his dislikeforall thingsGurdjieffian (Webb 339). 22.When Heap finally let the Little Review die,it may have been at Gurdjieff's "in she did so order to pursue her spiritual studies"(6). instigation. Baggettsays 23. Some of the writer-students in thesesubgroupshad only verylimited contactwith Gurdjieff. Gorham Munson andWaldo Frank, forexample,rarely saw the teacherhimself, despitetheirassociationwith Orage's NewYork seemed "particularly keen to group.In fact, accordingto Moore, Gurdjieff alienateWaldo Frank"(221). 24. Daumal was one of Gurdjieff's first Frenchpupils.It was only in the second ideas finally partof the 1930s thatGurdjieff's began to findacceptancewith the Parisianintelligentsia (Webb 433). 25. Up to thispoint,Daumal's primary consistedof literary accomplishment to found Le a that boasted of"a resolve to stop at helping GrandJeu, journal in its of human consciousness" (Shattuck17). nothing investigations 26.Andersonsaid of her: There is no one in the modern world whose conversation I haven't sampled,I believe,except Picasso's.So I can't sayit isn'tbetterthanJane I feltin 1916 and I feel Heap's. But I doubt it in spiteof his reputation. that is the world'sbest talker. (My Thirty today JaneHeap 103) 27. Her correspondence with Leblanc beforeLeblanc'sdeath is an example. "If we could only understand thatit is the same GreatSelf in all Heap wrote,


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Rebecca Rauve of us; thatwe are only like beads strung on thatGreatSelf...." Leblanc replied, so are so "Wonderful admirable, Jane, you courageous-you are alone in the in in the unique and real sky...." life-alone the mind-alone large strong 224). (Anderson, Fiery mostsuc28. At the time,Solano could have been seen as one of Gurdjieff's cessful pupils.As Moore pointsout,by 1937 "she had lived to the hiltas an and dramatic she had publishednovels ... and had enactress, critic; reporter, a of (267). catholicity experiences" joyed 29. It seems truethatGurdjieff's are in evidence throughout Dauprinciples mal's book.The idea that"man achievesinnerspiritual by his own progress efforts" (27) and the notion thatpeople tend to vibratein a way thatresonates around them-in Daumal's book, thisphenomenon is with the influences termed"the cameleon law" (61)-are examples. thananticipating 30. It is possiblethatrather Daumal was aware of Sartre, His some of the same ideas, on work does lectures Hegel. embody Kojeve's in on the of"the act of negation" its stress significance revelatory particularly (Shattuck 24). "The publicationof thisbook means every31. In a letterto Smithhe wrote, me" to (Byrd108). thing that Toomer'ssilencewas due less to his wantingto distance 32. Byrdsuggests himself fromtheAfrican-American partof his heritagethanto his beliefthat and psychological"(98). "the problemsof man were not racialbut spiritual likeAlice Walkercriticizehis silencebecause they Toomer critics Present-day are less inclinedthanhe was to believe thatsimplyignoringracialinjusticecan make it go away (Byrd98). all ofToomer'spost-Cane efforts 33. However,Byrdrefrains fromdismissing workspossessgenuine He asserts thata few of the Gurdjieff-inspired outright. merit. He finds the playsKabnis, Balo,and The Sacred Factory "deserving literary revival"(150). He argues of seriousstudy, and,in the lastinstance, production, thatthe long poem "The Blue Meridian,"which appearedin The New Caravan of Cane, despite in 1936, comes close to matching the literary achievements unnoticedat the timeof itspublication(153). the factthatit wentlargely 34. As an added honor,the prefaceto the Frencheditionof Leblanc'sbook was written 136). by Cocteau (Anderson,Unknowable that 35. Rope writers had no sympathy with an ateleologicalview of literature have all is as and that asserts thatone account as good another, perspectives ideas of self-development day to Gurdjieff's equal validity. Exposed day after


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff thewomenbelieved that andmovement onlya up a scaleofconsciousness, a US real Anderson describes an encounter with rare could make art. person a a official when she tried to obtain favor for French who government singer redtape. washaving trouble withbureaucratic She wastold,"Ican grant no ... is entitled treatment." favors to Anderson countered, everyone special equal "Who is everyone? Thereis no everyone. a Sarah BernIs everyone created hardt?"The official ...""Will ever find another but Sarah stammered, "No, you "I don'tknowwhether Bernhardt?" I willor not.""Well, Anderson youwon't," said. "So youwillhaveno problem" 114). (Strange ofHulme's 36. One example unedited ofhowthe is this writing description felt after sent to off London: "Not like group Gurdjieff Jane Heap light-bearbutlikewingless withinner too newly-kindled, too ingLucifers orphans lights frail to survive still thewindy draft" After such 44). (Baker ruthlessly excising Solanowouldpencilin comments like"Katie, youaremydespair!" phrases, 37.The collaborative sometimes extended those community beyond directly withGurdjieff. associated Forexample, Solano's longtime companion, Janet translated Leblanc's from Souvenirs French to English. Flanner,

TheFiery Fountains. NewYork: 1951. Anderson, Margaret. Hermitage, Forbidden Fires. Tallahassee: 1996. Naiad, ~. Review NewYork: 1953. ,ed. TheLittle Horizon, Anthology. Years' London: 1930. War. . MyThirty Knopf, . TheStrange NewYork: 1969. Horizon, Necessity. London: 1962. . TheUnknowable Gurdjieff Routledge, DearTiny Heart: TheLetters HollyA. Introduction. Baggett, Heapand ofJane Florence Ed. Holly A. Baggett. NewYork: NYU P,2000. Reynolds. 1-20. Rob. "No Harem: andthe Women oftheRope." Gurdjieff Baker, Gurdjieff International Review 1.2 (Winter 27 1997-98)39-45.Onlineposting 2002.<>. Jan. "The Author as Producer." Twentieth Walter. Benjamin, Century Literary Theory. Ed. K. M. Newton. London: 1988.93-97. Macmillan, Shari.Women 1900-1940.Austin: U of TexasP, Bank: Benstock, Paris, Left ofthe 1986. Toomer's Years with Portrait anArtist 1923Byrd, RudolphP.Jean of Gurdjieff. U ofGeorgia 1936.Athens: P,1990.


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

RebeccaRauve Caruso:A Personal NewYork: Caruso, Dorothy. Dorothy History. Hermitage, 1952. His Life andDeath. NewYork: 1945. Simon, Caruso, -. Enrico Rene. Mount Novel Authentic Non-Euclidean Daumal, ofSymbolically Analogue:A Adventures inMountain Trans. Shattuck. NewYork: Climbing. Roger 1960. Pantheon, inParis. Lives San Francisco: North 1987. Point, Ford, Hugh.Four I. All and Tales to his NewYork: G. Grandson. Beelzebub's Gurdjieff, Everything: 1950. Dutton, Men.NewYork: Remarkable 1963. with Dutton, Meetings .. Dear Heart: Letters and Florence The Reynolds. Tiny Heapand Heap, Jane, ofJane 2000. Ed. A. NewYork: NYU Florence P, Reynolds. Holly Baggett. Forbidden Fires. Mathilda. Introduction. Anderson.TallahasHills, By Margaret see:Naiad,1996.1-26. New inthe Postwar Decade. Frederick Hoffman, Writing J.TheTwenties:American 1962. York: FreePress, Boston: 1956. TheNun's Hulme, Little, Kathryn. Story. 1. Adventure. Boston: Undiscovered 1966. Little, Country:A Spiritual in the "Varieties ofMystical of Virginia Writings Experience Kane,Julie. Woolf." Twentieth Literature 41.4 (1995):328-50. Century "A LifeLed as a Work ofArt." Years' The Alfred. Rev.ofMyThirty Kazin, War, TheStrange and TheLittle Review Fountains, by Fiery Necessity, Anthology, 1+. New York Times Book Review 16 1970: Anderson. Aug. Margaret with Flanner. Souvenirs: Maeterlinck. Leblanc, MyLife Trans.Janet Georgette. 1932. NewYork: Dutton, Geniuses andKayBoyle. Robert, McAlmon, Being Together. Baltimore:Johns 1997. UP, Hopkins 1991. The a Myth. Element, Moore, Shaftsbury: of Gurdjieff Anatomy James. 1-8 NewYork: ed. Secession: Numbers Kraus, Munson, Gorham, (1922-1924). 1967. an Unknown P.D. In Search Miraculous: ofthe of Teaching. Fragments Ouspensky, NewYork: 1977. Harcourt, WomLadies Bank Patrick. Patterson,William ofthe Left Rope:Gurdjieff's Special 1999. en'sGroup. Fairfax:Arete, Authentic Mount Novel Shattuck, Roger.Introduction. Analogue:A ofSymbolically Rene Daumal. Non-Euclidean Adventures inMountain Climbing. By 1960.11-34. NewYork: Trans. Pantheon, RogerShattuck. Failure. NewYork: Solita. TheHappy 1925. Putnam's, Solano, NewYork: 1927. This Putnam's, Way Up. .. 1924. NewYork: Feast. Putnam's, ~. TheUncertain


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

andtheRope Gurdjieff note. Box 67,folder Collection. Toomer Toomer, 5.Jean Jean. Unpublished TN. FiskUniversity, Nashville, ofMyThirty VanGessel, Nina."Margaret Anderson's LastLaugh: TheVictory Studies in Canada 25.1 67-88. Years'War." (1999): English TheLives andWork Circle: P D. TheHarmonious ofG. I. Gurdjieff Webb,James. and Followers. NewYork: 1980. Putnam's, Ouspensky, Their Edith. French andTheir 1919. NewYork: Wharton, Ways Meaning. Appleton, K. "Critics andConnoisseurs, Editors andAesthetes: Marianne Willis,Julia andtheAesthetic." Diss.Rutgers Anderson, Moore, U, 1996. Margaret AnnE Rev.ofDorothy Caruso:A Personal Caruso. Wolfe, History, byDorothy Review 7 June1952:55-56. Saturday TheEssays "ModernFiction." Vol.4. Ed.Anof Virginia Woolf,Virginia. Woolf drew 1994. McNeillie. London: Hogarth, A History London: 1982. ofYoga. Worthington,Vivian. Routledge,


This content downloaded from on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:07:35 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions