A Masquerade of a Kind
The book, To Fathom The Gist, Vol 2 – The Arch Absurd devotes about 20 pages to analysis of and discussion of the awful revised version of The Tales, pointing out the many ways in which it damages Gurdjieff’s masterpiece. I was recently informed by a friend in the Work that the false version of The Tales is presented for sale in some countries. (As far as I can tell, it never seems to surface when using Amazon from the US,
For the purpose of discouraging those who might actually try to read that version I decided to post the full details of the many failings of that revision for the benefit of readers of the Lost Herald. Below is a summary of them, each linked to a page that offers a detailed explanation.
- It fails to use full capitalization, thus confusing references to GOD with many other lesser individualities or concepts.
- It uses initial capitalization in a confusing manner that is inconsistent with Gurdjieff’s use of this typographical feature.
- In some places it confuses French capitalization rules with English ones.
- It does not use hyphens as a means to cluster words and hence loses the meanings that Gurdjieff achieves in this way.
- Its use of hyphens is particularly confusing—we could not identify any specific policy.
- Its use of quotation marks appears to derive, primarily although not always, from the French text. It often appears to be arbitrary. We could not identify the application of any specific policy.
- In some instances it destroys important parts of the original text.
- Its use of footnotes appears to be based on the French text, but only for the first half of the book, after which it abandons footnotes. There are some content differences in the footnotes where it appears to follow the French text, rather than the English or German.
- There are cultural disparities. Where Gurdjieff clearly chose words that would have cultural meaning to the English reader, The Revision seems to repeat French colloquialisms in the vain hope that English readers will resonate with them.
- There are obvious cases of poor word choice where the revision team chose clearly inappropriate words, even avoiding the word chosen in the French version. Meaning is damaged accordingly. Sometimes it is destroyed completely.
- It is clear that no attention has been given to philology and thus some word choices in The Revision are philologically wrong. This is a very serious defect as the key to the meaning of some parts of The Tales is to be found in the philology of Gurdjieff ’s chosen words.
- In a few places completely new text has been added. Where this is the case it appears to have been patched in from the French version.
- At times The Revision makes the style error of adopting the passive voice whereas Gurdjieff ’s original used the active voice.
- The rhythm of the words in The Revision is different to Gurdjieff’s chosen rhythm. This is the case throughout the whole book.
In summary, it is a pig’s breakfast for one of Mullah Nassr Eddin’s gluttonous swine. If you encounter anyone who asks you whether it has any merit, please direct them to this posting.