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Portrait of a Vertical Man: Maurice Nicoll - An Appreciation (New)

by Copley, Samuel


Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket

Book ID: 9780951441404, 095144140X


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A biography is usually an account of the events of a life along the horizontal dimension of passing time. This book is different in that it attempts to illustrate the vertical component in the being of Dr Maurice Nicoll, a man who stood erect in the height and depth of his understanding. To this end I have chosen some of the main developments in his career and tried to show how, whilst always acknowledging his gratitude to his teachers and other sources of inspiration, he found his feet and his own centre of gravity in each adventure and thenceforth spoke, wrote and taught with his own authority to the great advantage of many of his pupils.

Sam Copley was for most of his life employed in his family's banking business, with a five year interlude as a war-time sailor. He can recall no noteworthy attainments unless it be that, as a great grandfather in his eightieth year, he published this first book.

A Review:

Maurice Nicoll and his work deserve to be known far more generally. A pioneering psychiatrist, who valued his close association with C.G.Jung, he was one of the first to recognize the shell shock of the First World War as a psychological illness and not moral weakness.

When in 1921 he heard P.D.Ouspensky lecture it proved to be a turning point in his life. Soon afterwards, together with his wife, he spent a year at G.I.Gurdjieff's Institute near Fontainebleau and was later authorised to teach what is known as 'the Work'. This became the main focus of his life. To it he brought his own profound understanding of the human psyche, and his Commentaries are for many, the most helpful approach to the Work.

His interpretations of the esoteric meaning of the New Testament Scriptures (The New Man, The Mark) are equally illuminating.

Sam Copley's Portrait, based on his own personal and sometimes intimate recollections of Maurice Nicoll, was first published in 1989 and is now newly available.

It includes (page 50-52) a review Copley wrote for Light of Nicoll's Commentaries when these were reprinted in paperback in the 1970s.

This review appeared in Light and was written by Brenda Marshall

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