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A collection of three short stories, it was first published in 1906 by New York newspaper Al-Mohajer. It is known in English as 'Nymphs of the Valley' or 'Brides of the Meadows'. “Rimal al-ajyal wa al-nar al-khalidah” (The Ash of Centuries and the Immortal Flame) is a story of reincarnation. Nathan, the son of the priest of Astarte in Baalbek, loses his lover to disease. Despite her promise that they will meet again, he is maddened by grief and wanders lost in the desert. Ages pass, and a Bedouin shepherd, ‘Ali al-Husayni, falls asleep in the ruins of the temple and dreams of love. Seeing a girl by a stream, he recognizes himself as Nathan and her as his long-lost lover. It is noteworthy that the main part of the story is set in the Phoenician, not the Islamic, Lebanese past. The other two stories deal with social oppression. In “Marta al-baniya” an orphan is kidnaped from her village by a man from the city, who rapes her and keeps her as his mistress. She becomes pregnant, and he throws her out. When she dies, the priests refuse to bury her in consecrated ground. In “Yuhanna al-majnum” (Yuhanna the Madman) a poor cowherd’s cattle stray onto monastery land while he is reading his Bible, and the monks refuse to return them. When Yuhanna preaches against the monks at the Easter service, they arrest him; he is freed only after his father testifies that he is a madman.

Tags: 1922

In Digital Archive

An-Nashi’a (The New Generation) was a comprehensive monthly literary magazine dedicated to the advancement of scientific and cultural life in post-World War I Iraq. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in that war, Iraq was placed under a League of Nations mandate administered by the British. In 1921, a monarchy was established, and the country went on to gain independence from Britain in 1932. An-Nashi’a was founded at the beginning of the monarchy, and its first editorial declared that the new publication was a response to the needs of the new nation. Only three issues (called parts) appeared before An-Nashi’a ceased publication. The magazine was owned by Ibrahim Salih; its editor-in-chief was Hassan al-Bayati. Each issue started with long essays on a wide range of issues covering literature, science, arts, philosophy, history, new discoveries, lifestyle, and other news and anecdotes from around the world, especially from America. Examples of topics covered included the value of learning; sea life, minerals, and other resources; poets and poems; lessons from history, which cited Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar; sports, and particularly how American newspapers dedicated many pages on a daily basis to news about sports; the “don’ts” of social etiquette; and “immortal words,” a collection of wisdom attributed to figures from around the world, including George Washington. Overall, the magazine had a progressive and worldly air, although it remained anchored in Arabic culture. The last page was typically “from management” and was dedicated to correcting typographical errors, with apologies to the readers. In addition to the owner and the editor-in-chief, contributing writers included some of the leading pan-Arab intellectuals at that time, such as Iraqi Kurdish poet and philosopher Jamīl Ṣidqi Zahawi, Egyptian writer and essayist Mustafa Lutfi Manfaluti, Turkish-Egyptian poet Waliy ud-Deen Yakun, and Lebanese-American writer and artist Kahlil Gibran.

Tags: 1922, An-Nashi'a, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, Ru'ya