Gurdjieff, G. I. Meetings with Remarkable Men (Penguin / Arkana, London) ISBN 0140190376

A fascinating book which apparently recounts the early travels of G. I. Gurdjieff, including several passages in Georgia around the turn of the 20th century

"Meetings with Remarkable Men"* is, strictly, the second book in a series of three written by G. I. Gurdjieff. As such, it is in theory to be read only after the first book - "Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson". Having said that, the first book is over 1,000 pages long and whilst very interesting and worthy of study (and indeed I have read it quite a few times), it is nonetheless rather dense and, at first sight, to a considerable extent incomprehensible.

For this reason, I think that many go directly to the second book - "Meetings with Remarkable Men"** - which recounts in ten chapters various episodes from Gurdjieff's life, largely centred on nine "remarkable men" (as the first chapter is an introduction to the book), with several passages occurring in Tiflis (i.e. Tbilisi) around the end of the 19th century. And unlike "Beelzebub", this book is remarkably easy to read. In fact, it is almost so easy to read that one might wonder whether one is missing something. I cannot pretend to have any simple answer to that, but I do think that Gurdjieff placed in this book many pointers to some of the ideas which he expounds in his first book. In any case, I have read this book numerous times and will likely continue to refer to it for years to come.

Review by Anthony Stobart (December 2016)

*The title has inspired two recent books - "Meetings with remarkable trees" and "Meetings with remarkable manuscripts". To the best of my knowledge, neither has any connection with either Gurdjieff or Georgia.

**There are various references to reading Gurdjieff in the book "Bread and Ashes" by Tony Anderson, in which the author recounts a number of walking trips across the Caucasus mountains. I have confirmed with Tony that the book in question is indeed "Meetings with Remarkable Men".