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Solita Solano was born in New England in 1888. Both in youth and maturity she was strong-willed, inquisitive, and independent. Expressing her dislike for educational systems and her love of travel early in life, she spent three years in the Philippines instead of going to college. There she helped to survey and build coral roads. After her return to America, she began her writing career in 1914 as a cub reporter for the Boston Herald-Traveler, where she was soon promoted to the post of drama editor and critic (becoming the first woman to hold that position on a major daily U.S. newspaper). Five years later Solano went to work for the New York Tribune, where she served as drama editor for one year before departing in 1921 for Europe and the Near East with her friend Janet Flanner.
Solano spent time traveling in Greece, Crete, Turkey, and Vienna before settling in Paris in 1922. Once settled in Paris she mingled freely with the literary vanguard and was acquainted with many of its luminaries, including Sylvia Beach, Gertrude Stein, Margaret Anderson, the Fitzgeralds, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound. Her closest and longest friendships, however, were with Nancy Cunard, British poet and founder of the Hours Press, and with Flanner, who in 1925 became Paris correspondent for the New Yorker. Their enduring friendship she later described as "a fixed triangle ... forty-two years of modern female fidelity." Solano lived with Flanner for twenty years.
Solita Solano was also Gurdjieff's secretary and one of the members of the lesbian group directed by him.
Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope: Notes of Meetings in Paris and New York 1935-1939 and 1948-1949
Author/Artist: Solita Solano
Publisher: Book Studio
First published: 2012
During the mid-thirties in Paris, Gurdjieff drew together four women: Solita Solano, Kathryn Hulme, Alice Rohrer and Elizabeth Gordon -- and formed a special, mutually supporting work group.
In allegory he explained: You are going on a journey under my guidance, an "inner-world journey" like a high mountain climb where you must be roped together for safety, where each must think of the others on the rope, all for one and one for all. You must, in short, help each other "as hand washes hand," each contributing to the company according to her lights, according to her means. Only faithful hard work on yourselves will get you where I want you to go, not your wishing.
Among themselves they called their foursome "The Rope."
The company around Gurdjieff's table, his principal teaching site, soon expanded to include Louise Davidson, Margaret Anderson, Georgette Leblanc and Jane Heap.
This drawing is included at the end of the book
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