Paperback • 202 pages
In To Make a New race Jon Woodson explores the intense influence of the Greek-born mystic G.I. Gurdjieff on the thinking of Jean Toomer and his literary coterie and, through them, Gurdjieff’s influence on many of the notables in African American literature.
This is the first study of Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance to look beyond contemporary portrayals of Gurdjieff in order to judge his influence. Scouring correspondence, manuscripts, and published texts, Woodson finds the direct links in which Gurdjieff through Toomer played a major role in the development of ‘Objective literature.’ He discovers both coded and explicit ways in which Gurdjieff’s philosophy shaped the world views of writers well in the 1960s.