The 1931 Manuscript of Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson
There are two versions of this book. Both are edited versions of the original 1931 Manuscript of Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson by G. Gurdjieff (in the sense of correcting typos and punctuation only). The text is, for the most part, unchanged from the original manuscript that was published in a limited edition in 1931 under the direction of A. R. Orage. It was necessary to make some changes for the sake of structure and readability.
The first published version of these two chose to substitute the neologisms from the 1950 version of The Tales providing notes as to exactly what had been changed for what and where. The second version is identical except for that point. It leaves the neologisms as they were. It’s up to the reader to choose which they prefer.
A full index to the manuscript is provided in both versions, almost to the level of a concordance. It documents all changes to the neologisms and all edits, aside from typographical corrections made to the text.
The attraction of this publication lies in the fact that, although Gurdjieff approved this original edition for publication and hence regarded his writing effort as near completion, he subsequently made significant changes to many parts of
it. Indeed, the text of The 1931 Manuscript edition is significantly different to The Tales in some areas, including the appearance of a whole part-chapter on Termosses, which is not found in the later 1950 published version. The text is
significantly different in places and in a few places the order of the content is different at the paragraph level.
As a consequence, reading The 1931 Manuscript at times feels as though one is reading a different book, but one that nevertheless was forged by Gurdjieff himself.