Beelzebub’s Tales, Book One: Side-by-side Comparison

The purpose of the books in this series, of which this is the first, is to provide its readers with the ability to directly compare the text of Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, with the text of its earlier draft, The 1931 Manuscript.

The reader of this first book in the series will discover that, in many places, the text of the two versions is similar exhibiting only minor edits, while on other  pages there is obvious divergence between the texts.

Where there is divergence, when reading The 1931 Manuscript  you sometimes get the impression you’re reading a book of Gurdjieff’s you haven’t encountered before. The subject matter may be familiar, but the text feels “new.” In any event, the text bears the mark of Gurdjieff. It is permeated with his rhythm and style.

There are two main reasons why someone might choose to read The 1931 Manuscript.

1) For the sheer joy of reading unfamiliar text written by Gurdjieff.

2) As part of an effort to “try and fathom the gist” of The Tales.

Of course, it’s the second of these activities that this book has been designed to facilitate, making the direct comparison of the two texts as easy as possible. In the layout, wherever possible, paragraphs and even lines are directly lined up between the two versions, affording the reader the ability to analyze the differences precisely.