About Eureka Editions
Archimedes’ famous cry of “Eureka! Eureka!” (“I have found it!”), when he suddenly understood why his bathwater overflowed, marked his joy at solving the problem of determining the proportion of silver in a “golden” crown, and of course at a succesful application of the principle of specific gravity. In 1980, newlyweds Siebold and Patricia Tromp-Guégan decided that from then on they would call their newly formed enterprise in selling books EUREKA.
How had it begun? In 1974, after selling or giving away all his belongings, Siebold left his home town, Utrecht in The Netherlands, for the USA – in search of answers: “It’s so strange to be here, but why am I here, with this name, with this body and what can I do?”
Very soon he was attracted to California and San Francisco, a town he revisited periodically as if to keep an appointment he had vaguely remembered and then again forgotten.
Between times, Siebold traveled to most of the states of the USA and with a friend into Mexico for his companion’s interest in old cultures. It was there that, having just finished Dostoyevsky’s THE IDIOT, he noticed three dark-blue Dutton paperbacks on someone’s bookshelf. He had read all of Hermann Hesse, Carlos Castaneda, Aldous Huxley and more; now he had found his first book of The Work:
BEELZEBUB’S TALES TO HIS GRANDSON. The writer’s name, Gurdjieff, evoked a vague memory, as if someone had told him: “You ought to read this. . .”
A month later Siebold found himself in a Hollywood bookstore where he picked up an old yellow copy of THE FOURTH WAY by a certain Ouspensky, of whom he had not heard. After failing to barter a lower price he bought the book for $4.95 and started reading. To his surprise, he learned this Ouspensky was connected with Gurdjieff!
Determination to decipher the meaning of these books spurred a further study of English. (English-speaking readers might realize how spoilt they are in the availability of Fourth Way information by imagining their plight if the only available Gurdjieff writing was in Dutch.)
Siebold was riveted by what he read, especially the revelation that one can be free of negative emotions, and of course by the teaching of self-remembering, which reminded him of certain states of presence in his youth – “How strange it is to be here, with this name, with this body ” – that until then he had forgotten after the age of 10 or 12.
Impelled by the teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, he became associated with Fourth Way groups in the San Francisco Bay area and Mexico City. For a while he attended meetings almost daily – always asking questions, and working with other students.
One of Siebold’s main questions stemmed from the idea that one can change one’s “level of being” and thus encounter events different to those one doesn’t want to experience any more – or meet them differently. Previously he had felt he had already left his old life behind in Utrecht. But now, a perceived failure “to do something useful with my life” tormented him.
So hard work beckoned when he returned to Holland in 1979 with the self-imposed task of becoming a “good householder”. One practical piece of advice that he took to heart was that “to start your own business you will have to work twice as hard as the average man”.
Gurdjieff himself wrote, on page 5 of his first book: “But with what indeed begin. . .? Hurrah!. . . Eureka!’’ One has to begin somewhere – just begin!
Perhaps this resolution took Siebold closer to his destiny, which began to help him. After a series of coincidences he met his future wife, Patricia, from Toulon in France. After exchanging letters for more than a year they married. In search of a “business’’ they took up a market place in the old Dutch town of Delft to sell antiques.
But it turned out that their books sold best. A newspaper advertisement showed that there were many books for sale, persuading Siebold and Patricia that they were on the right track. They soon felt they were finally coming into what belonged to them essentially.
To make a long story with many events short: their business grew to a stock of 60,000 books in a building they owned in 1999. The family had now three daughters. They had also acquired some property in the south of France where they worked during holidays as a change from sitting in a bookshop.
In 1988 they had published their first book, a volume of French children’s songs, compiled at first for their own children. More than 1700 copies of this book, illustrated by Patricia, are in circulation. They named the publishing part of their bookshop “Eureka Editions”.
A few years later they came into contact with Lewis and Louisa Creed, of York in England, and Bob Hunter, from Brisbane, Australia, and – working together with Maurice Nicoll’s only granddaughter, Isobel Salole – Eureka Editions began republishing the Nicoll books THE NEW MAN, THE MARK and LIVING TIME and works by Beryl Pogson. Lewis, Louisa and Bob had been students of Beryl Pogson in the 1960s and Lewis had already reprinted Work books that until then had circulated only privately.
Eureka Bookshop was the first book store in Holland on the Internet. The speed of the computer seemed to increase in sync with the decline in the number of customers who actually visit a bookshop. So the large stock and building were sold. With the development of desk-top publishing and the World Wide Web, Eureka Editions gradually grew to the publishing firm it is today.
Eureka Bookshop is now a small shop in the Herenstraat 4 in Utrecht. It is open by appointment only. Here customers with an interest in the Fourth Way meet from time to time, or search for new or old books from a stock including Buddhism, Sufism, Zen, Gnosticism, Kabbalah and related literature such as that of Montaigne, Goethe, Dante, Laurens van der Post and many others.
Eureka Editions is not connected to any Foundation, Institute, Fellowship, Church or other form of organization, however useful they may be. As Nicoll wrote:
Work is not a building,
© Eureka Editions 2009