Gibran Khalil Gibran (born, January 3, 1883 – April 10, 1931) also known as Khalil Gibran, was an artist, philosopher, poet and writer. Born in the town of Bsharri, mount Lebanon, as a young man he immigrated with his family to the United States where where he studied art and began his literary career. He is chiefly known in the English speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, a series of philosophical essays written in Enlish prose. An early example of Inspirational fiction, the book sold well despite a cool critical reception, and became extremely popular in the 1960s counterculture. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind.
Youth - In Lebanon
Gibran was born in Bsharri to the daughter of a Maronite priest. His mother Kamila was thirty when he was born; his father, also named Khalil, was her third husband. As a result of his family's poverty, Gibran received no formal schooling during his youth. However, priests visited him regularly and taught him about the Bible, as well as the Arabic and Syriac languages. Gibran's father initially worked in an apothecary but, with gambling debts he was unable to pay, he went to work for a local Ottoman-appointed administrator.
Around 1891, extensive complaints by angry subjects led to the administrator being removed and his staff being investigated. Gibran's father was imprisoned for alleged embezzlement, and his family's property was confiscated by the authorities. With no home, Kamila Gibran decided to follow her brother to the United States. Although Gibran's father was released in 1894, Kamila remained resolved and left for New York on June 25, 1895, taking Khalil, his younger sisters Mariana and Sultana, and his elder half-brother Peter(/Bhutros/Butrus)
Art and poetry
Gibran held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day’s studio. During this exhibition, Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, a respected headmistress ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship that lasted the rest of Gibran’s life. Though publicly discreet, their correspondence reveals an exalted intimacy . Haskell influenced not only Gibran’s personal life, but also his career . In 1908, Gibran went to study art with Auguste Rodin in Pari for two years. While there he met his art study partner and lifelong friend Youssef Howayek. He later studied art in Bostn. .
While most of Gibran's early writings were in Arabic, most of his work published after 1918 was in English. His first book for the publishing company Alfred A. Knoph in 1918, was The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose. Gibran also took part in the New York Pen League, also known as the "immigrant poets" (al-mahjar), alongside important Lebanese-American authors such as Ameen Rihani, Elia Abu Madi and Mikhail Naimy, a close friend and distinguished master of Arabic literature, whose descendants Gibran declared to be his own children, and whose nephew, Samir, is a godson of Gibran's.
Much of Gibran's writings deal with Christianity, especially on the topic of spiritual love. His poetry is notable for its use of formal language, as well as insights on topics of life using spiritual terms. Gibran's best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of twenty-six poetic essays. The book became especially popular during the 1960s with the American counterculture and New Age movements. Since it was first published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. Having been translated into more than forty languages, it was one of the bestselling books of the twentieth century in the United States.
One of his most notable lines of poetry in the English-speaking world is from "Sand and Foam" (1926), which reads : “Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the other half may reach you”. This line was used by John Lennon and placed, though in a slightly altered form, into the song Julia from The Beatles' 1968 album (a.k.a. "The White Album").
"Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only before the truth" -Khalil Gibran
Gibran called for the adoption of Arabic as a national language of Syria and the application of Arabic at all school levels . When Gibran met `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1911-12, who traveled to the United States partly to promote peace, Gibran admired the teachings on peace but argued that "young nations like his own" be freed from Ottoman control. Gibran also wrote the famous "Pity The Nation" poem during these years which was posthumously published in The Garden of the Prophet.
When the Ottomans were finally driven out of Syria during World War I, Gibran's exhilaration was manifested in a sketch called "Free Syria" which appeared on the front page of al-Sa'ih's special "victory" edition . Moreover, in a draft of a play, still kept among his papers, Gibran expressed great hope for national independence and progress . This play, according to Khalil Hawi, "defines Gibran's belief in Syrian nationalism with great clarity, distinguishing it from both Lebanese and Arab nationalism, and showing us that nationalism lived in his mind, even at this late stage, side by side with internationalism."
Death and legacy
Khalil Gibran memorial in Washington ,D.C.
Khalil Gibran memorial in Boston, Massachusetts.
Khalil Gibran memorial in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Gibran Museum and Gibran's final resting place, in Bsharri, Lebanon.
Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931: the cause was determined to be cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis. Before his death, Gibran expressed the wish that he be buried in Lebanon. This wish was fulfilled in 1932, when Mary Haskell and his sister Mariana purchased theMar Sarkis Monastery in Lebanon, which has since become the Gibran Museum. The words written next to Gibran's grave are "a word I want to see written on my grave: I am alive like you, and I am standing beside you. Close your eyes and look around, you will see me in front of you ...."
Gibran willed the contents of his studio to Mary Haskell. There she discovered her letters to him spanning twenty-three years. She initially agreed to burn them because of their intimacy, but recognizing their historical value she saved them. She gave them, along with his letters to her which she had also saved, to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library before she died in 1964. Excerpts of the over six hundred letters were published in "Beloved Prophet" in 1972.
Mary Haskell Minis (she wed Jacob Florance Minis in 1923) donated her personal collection of nearly one hundred original works of art by Gibran to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia in 1950. Haskell had been thinking of placing her collection at the Telfair as early as 1914. In a letter to Gibran, she wrote "I am thinking of other museums ... the unique little Telfair Gallery in Savannah, Ga., that Gari Melchers chooses pictures for. There when I was a visiting child, form burst upon my astonished little soul." Haskell's gift to the Telfair is the largest public collection of Gibran’s visual art in the country, consisting of five oils and numerous works on paper rendered in the artist’s lyrical style, which reflects the influence of symbolism. The future American royalties to his books were willed to his hometown of Bsharri, to be "used for good causes"; but this led to years of controversy and violence over the distribution of the money, and eventually the Lebanese government became the overseer.
- Nubthah fi Fan Al-Musiqa (Music, 1905)
- Ara'is al-Muruj (Nymphs of the Valley, also translated as Spirit Brides and Brides of the Prairie, 1906)
- al-Arwah al-Mutamarrida (Spirits Rebellious, 1908)
- al-Ajniha al-Mutakassira (Broken Wings , 1912)
- Dam'a wa Ibtisama (A Tear and A Smile, 1914)
- al-Mawakib (The Processions, 1919)
- al-‘Awāsif (The Tempests, 1920)
- al-Bada'i' waal-Tara'if (The New and the Marvellous, 1923)
In English, prior to his death:
- The Madman (1918))
- Twenty Drawings (1919)
- The Forerunner (1920)
- The Prophet (1923)
- Sand and Foam (1926)
- Kingdom of the Imagination (1927)
- Jesus, The Son of Man (1928)
- The Earth Gods (1931)
Posthumous, in English:
- The Wanderer (1932)
- The Garden Of The Prophet (1933, Completed by Barbara Young)
- Lazarus and his Beloved (Play, 1933)
- Prose Poems (1934)
- Secrets of the Heart (1947)
- A Treasury of Kahlil Gibran (1951)
- A Self-Portrait (1959)
- Thoughts and Meditations (1960)
- A Second Treasury of Kahlil Gibran (1962)
- Spiritual Sayings (1962)
- Voice of the Master (1963)
- Mirrors of the Soul (1965)
- Between Night & Morn (1972)
- A Third Treasury of Kahlil Gibran (1975)
- The Storm (1994)
- The Beloved (1994)
- The Vision (1994)
- Eye of the Prophet (1995)
- The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran (1995)
- Beloved Prophet, The love letters of Khalil Gibran and Mary Haskell, and her private journal (1972, edited by Virginia Hilu)
This article incorporates text from the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.