The Kahlil Gibran Collective

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The Kahlil Gibran Digital Archive

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al-`Asifah [Short Story], al-Ghazzali [Essay and Drawing], al-Funun 3, no. 2 (September 1917), pp. 81-95; 143-144 [digitized by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA].

Tags: al-funun, al-Ghazzali, alAsifah, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran

In Digital Archive

Muwashshahat Jadidah: al-Bahr; al-Sharurah; al-Jabbar al-Ri’bal; al-Shuhrah [Poem], Bi-al-Ams, wa-al-Yawm, wa-Ghadan [Poem], al-Ard [Poem], Ibn Sina wa-Qasidatuhu [Criticism], Ibn Sina [Drawing], al-Funun 3, no. 3 (October 1917), pp. 163-166; 171-172; 191-192 [digitized by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA].

Tags: al-Ard, al-Bahr, al-funun, al-Jabbar, al-Ri’bal;, al-Sharurah;, Bi-al-Ams, ibn-Sina, MuwashshahatJadidah, wa-al-Yawm, wa-Ghadan

In Digital Archive

al-Hakiman [Short Story], Bayna al-Fasl wa-al-Fasl [Short Story], Ibn al-Muqaffa` [Drawing], al-Funun 3, no. 4 (November 1917), pp. 275-276; 297 [digitized by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA].

Tags: al-funun, al-Hakiman, Baynaal-Fasl, GibrankhalilGibran, ibnal-Muqaffa, kahlilgibran

In Digital Archive

Untitled Poem, al-Funun 3, no. 6 (June 1918), p. 465 [digitized by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA].

Tags: al-funun, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, untitledpoem

In Digital Archive

al-Husayn al-Awwal, Malik al-Hijaz [Drawing], Harun al-Rashid, A`zam Muluk al-`Arab [Drawing], al-Funun 3, no. 7 (July 1918), pp. 509; 556 [digitized by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA]. 

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In Digital Archive

Qard al-Hurriyah [Essay], al-Umam wa-Dhawatuha [Essay], al-Funun 3, no. 8 (August 1918), pp. v-ix; 561-5 [digitized by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA].

Tags: al-funun, al-Umamwa-Dhawatuha, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, Qardal-Hurriyah

In Digital Archive

In 1919 Gibran published 'al-Mawakib.' He had written it during summer vacations in Cohasset, Massachusetts, in 1917 and 1918 but wanted to bring it out in an elegant illustrated edition on heavy stock that was unavailable in wartime. It is a two-hundred-line poem in traditional rhyme and meter comprising a dialogue between an old man and a youth on the edge of a forest. The old man is rooted in the world of civilization and the city; the youth is a creature of the forest and represents nature and wholeness. The old man expresses a gloomy philosophy to which the carefree youth gives optimistic responses. Some critics noted the irregularities in the Arabic; Gibran’s haphazard education meant that his Arabic, like his English, was never perfect. Conservative reviewers objected to the poem’s solecisms, but Mayy Ziyada dismissed them as expressions of the poet’s independence. The work immediately became popular, especially as a piece to be sung. It is one of the great examples of mahjari (immigrant) poetry and pioneered a new form of verse in Arabic.

Tags: Al-Mawakib, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, TheProcessions

In Digital Archive

A fourth collection of Gibran’s Arabic stories and prose poems, al-’Awasif (The Storms or The Tempests), came out in Cairo in 1920. The contents dated from 1912 to 1918 and had been published in al-Funun and Mir’at al-gharb (Mirror of the West), an immigrant newspaper. It consists of thirty-one pieces that are generally harsher in tone than the sketches and stories of the three earlier collections. In the title story the narrator is curious about Yusuf al-Fakhri, a hermit who abandoned society in his thirtieth year to live alone on Mount Lebanon. Driven to the hermit’s cell by a storm, he is surprised to find such comforts as cigarettes and wine. The hermit tells the narrator that he did not flee the world to be a contemplative but to escape the corruption of society. In “‘Ala bab al-haykal” (At the Gate of the Temple) a man asks passersby about the nature of love. The powerful “al-’Ubudiya” (Slavery) catalogues the forms of human bondage throughout history. In “al-Shaytan” (Satan) a priest finds the devil dying by the side of the road; Satan persuades the priest that he is necessary to the well-being of the world, and the clergyman takes him home to nurse him back to health. Several other stories deal with the political themes that had concerned Gibran during the war.

Tags: Al-'Awasif, al-funun, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, Mira'atal-gharb, TheTempests

In Digital Archive

Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet, was published in September 1923. The earliest references to a mysterious prophet counseling his people before returning to his island home can be found in Haskell’s journal from 1912. Gibran worked on it from time to time and had finished much of it by 1919. He seems to have written it in Arabic and then translated it into English. As with most of his English books, Haskell acted as his editor, correcting Gibran’s chronically defective spelling and punctuation but also suggesting improvements in the wording. The work begins with the prophet Almustafa preparing to leave the city of Orphalese, where he has lived for twelve years, to return to the island of his birth. The people of the city gather and beg him not to leave, but the seeress Almitra, knowing that his ship has come for him, asks him instead to tell them his truths. The people ask him about the great themes of human life: love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, and many others, concluding with death. Almustafa speaks of each of the themes in sober, sonorous aphorisms grouped into twenty-six short chapters. As in earlier books, Gibran illustrated The Prophet with his own drawings, adding to the power of the work. The Prophet received tepid reviews in Poetry and The Bookman, an enthusiastic review in the Chicago Evening Post, and little else. On the other hand, the public reception was intense. It began with a trickle of grateful letters; the first edition sold out in two months; 13,000 copies a year were sold during the Great Depression, 60,000 in 1944, and 1,000,000 by 1957. Many millions of copies were sold in the following decades, making Gibran the best-selling American poet of the twentieth century. It is clear that the book deeply moved many people. When critics finally noticed it, they were baffled by the public response; they dismissed the work as sentimental, overwritten, artificial, and affected. Neither The Prophet nor Gibran’s work, in general, are mentioned in standard accounts of twentieth-century American literature, though Gibran is universally considered a major figure in Arabic literature. Part of the critical puzzlement stems from a failure to appreciate an Arabic aesthetic: The Prophet is a Middle Eastern work that stands closer to eastern didactic classics such as the Book of Job and the works of the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Persian poets Rumi and Sa’di than to anything in the modern American canon. Gibran knew that he would never surpass The Prophet, and for the most part, his later works do not come close to measuring up to it. The book made him a celebrity, and his monastic lifestyle added to his mystique.

Tags: 1923, knopf, NewYork, TheProphet

In Digital Archive

Al-Bada’i’ wa al-tara’if (Best Things and Masterpieces), a collection of thirty-five of Gibran’s pieces, was published in Cairo in 1923. The works had been selected by the publisher, and the collection is uneven and miscellaneous. It includes several short articles on major Arab thinkers, illustrated with portraits drawn from Gibran’s imagination, and prose poems and sketches of the sort familiar from his earlier collections. Two pieces are of more interest than the others. “Safinat al-dubab” (A Ship in the Mist) is a strange romantic short story. A lonely young man dreams of a woman who visits him continually in his sleep and is his wife in spirit. When he is sent to Venice, he finds her; but she has just died. Iram, dhat al-’imad (Iram, City of Lofty Pillars) is a one-act play set in a city mentioned in the Qur’an. A young scholar, Najib Rahma, comes to the mysterious city seeking a prophetess, Amina al-’Alawiya, who is said to have visited there. He first meets her disciple, the dervish Zayn al-’Abidin; then Amina al-’Alawiya appears and expounds a monistic mystical philosophy.

Tags: 1923, Al-Bada’i’-wa-altara'if, bestthingsandmasterpieces, GibrankhalilGibran, kahilgibran

In Digital Archive

In 1926 Gibran published Sand and Foam. It comprises about three hundred aphorisms of two to a dozen lines, generally written in the style of The Prophet. Sand and Foam is decorated with Gibran’s drawings, and the aphorisms are separated by floral dingbats also drawn by Gibran. Some scholars consider this book the off cuts of The Prophet, written on various materials from match box cartons and napkins whenever inspiration would take hold.

Tags: 1926, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, knopf, sandandfoam

In Digital Archive

To Young Americans of Syrian Origin [Essay], Mohammed, Prophet of Islam [Drawing], The Syrian World (July 1926), pp. 4-5; no page number [digitized by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA].

Tags: GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, Mohammad, ProphetofIslam, TheSyrianWorld, ToyoungAmericansofSyrianOrigin

In Digital Archive

In 1928 Gibran published his longest book, Jesus, the Son of Man: His Words and His Deeds as Told and Recorded by Those Who Knew Him.Jesus had appeared in Gibran’s writings and art in various forms; he told Mary Haskell that he had recurring dreams of Jesus and mentioned wanting to write a life of Jesus in a 1909 letter to her. The book was written in a little over a year in 1926-1927. Haskell edited the manuscript. Seventy-eight people who knew Jesus—some real, some imaginary; some sympathetic, others hostile—tell of him from their own points of view. Anna is puzzled by the worship of the Magi. An orator is impressed by Jesus’ rhetoric. A merchant sees the parable of the talents as the essence of commerce and cannot understand why Jesus’ followers insist that he is a god. Pontius Pilate discusses the political factors leading to his decision to execute Jesus. Barabbas is tormented by the knowledge that he is alive only because Jesus died in his place. It was the most lavishly produced of Gibran’s books, with some of the illustrations in color. For once, the reviews were strongly and uniformly favorable, and the book has remained the most popular of his works next to The Prophet.

Tags: 1928, GibrankhalilGibran, JesusSonofMan, kahlilgibran

In Digital Archive

Exhibition: Forty Wash-Drawings by Kahlil Gibran [Catalogue], New York: M. Knoedler & Co., January 29-February 10, 1917.

Tags: 1917, Exhibiton, FortyWashDrawings, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, M.Knoedler&Co

In Digital Archive

Exhibition: Pictures by Kahlil Gibran [Catalogue], New York: Montross Gallery, December 14-30, 1914.

Tags: 1914, Exhibiton, Gallery, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, montross

In Digital Archive

Exhibition of Drawings [Catalogue], New York: M. Knoedler & Co., February 19-March 3, 1917.

Tags: 1917, Drawings, Exhibiton, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, M.Knoedler&Co

In Digital Archive

Foreign and American Painters [Catalogue], New York: M. Knoedler & Co., November 27-December 16, 1916.

Tags: Drawings, Exhibiton, kahlilgibran, M.Knoedler&Co

In Digital Archive

Autumn Exhibition [Catalogue], Season 1915-1916, New York: Montross Gallery, October 2-23, 1915.

Tags: 1915, Catalogue, Exhibiton, Gallery, kahlilgibran, montross, NewYork

In Digital Archive

Rasaʼil Jubran [Letters of Kahlil Gibran], Introduction by Jamil Jabr, Beirut: Manshurat Maktabat Bayrut, 1951.

Tags: 1951, GibrankhalilGibran, Kahlil, kahlilgibran, Letters, Rasa'ilJubran

In Digital Archive

At his death Gibran was working on The Garden of the Prophet (1933), which was to be the second volume in a trilogy begun by The Prophet. It is the story of Almustafa’s return to his native island and deals with humanity’s relationship with nature. Of the third volume, “The Death of the Prophet,” only one sentence was written: “And he shall return to the City of Orphalese . . . and they shall stone him in the market-place, even unto death; and he shall call every stone a blessed name.”

Tags: 1933, garden, GibrankhalilGibran, kahlilgibran, TheProphet