Khalil was a Lebanese-American writer and artist who made a significant contribution to the literary world. Khalil wrote several philosophical essays, novels, short stories, and mystical poems. In addition, he managed to produce several paintings and illustrations during the course of his career. Gibran was born in Bsharri an area that falls under the current geographical Lebanon.
Gibran was born in 1883 in a mountain village that was mostly inhabited by Maronite Catholics. Gibran’s mother was thirty years old when he was born and she had another son from a previous marriage. Gibran regarded his father as an ill-tempered man who never showed love and care towards his family. The writer’s family faced abject poverty mostly because of his father’s gambling habit.
In one occasion, all his family’s belongings were auctioned off to pay for Gabrin’s father gambling debts. His father was consequently jailed in 1884 after being unable to pay some of his gambling debts. After the family’s bankruptcy, Gibran’s mother Kamila decided to move to the United States with three of her children. Gibran’s mother settled in Boston together with a young Gibran, his two younger sisters, and his half brother.
After settling in Lebanon, Gibran’s mother made a living by selling linen and laces. In 1895, the young Khalil enrolled at a school in Boston. His school put him in an immigrant’s class where he could learn English. In addition, Gibran was able to enroll in a nearby art school. It was in this art school where he had the chance to meet Fred Holland.
Holland was a member of the European avant-garde-movement and he acted as a tutor and mentor to Gibran. Later on Gibran moved back to his home country where he studied at a Beirut college.
In college, he concentrated on Arab classics, Syrian novels, and Syrian poems. He also served as an editor for the college magazine. His return to Boston was marked by tragedy because he lost three members of his family within a period of one year.
Following this tragic loss, his remaining sister Marianna was the only person who maintained him as he sought to launch his career. Gibran spent his days scouring through the Boston society in search of valuable contacts. Later on, Gibran met Mary Haskell a local headmistress.
The relationship between Haskell and Gibran was both professional and personal. Letters that were exchanged between the two indicate that they were lovers although Haskell was ten years older than Gibran. Haskell acted as an editor for Gibran’s English publications and financed most of his early projects.
Gibran’s first official art exhibition was conducted at Boston’s Day Studio. The exhibition featured Gibran’s illustrations of spiritual allegories, and reviewers considered it a success. “Al-Musiqa” was the first book that Khalil published. The book talked about music and it was published in 1905. This publication was followed by a small novel and two short-story collections.
In 1908, Gibran moved to Paris to study art for two years. After his art studies in Paris, Gibran relocated to New York. During his stay in New York, Gibran was an avid contributor for several magazines. He also continued to paint with most of his painting featuring naked intertwined bodies.
Gibran’s early literary works were mostly written in Arabic. These early works are considered to be the pillars of modern Arab literature. The author drew his inspiration from both Lebanese and Boston influences. Some of his early publications offended some conservative audiences because they criticized the traditional Lebanese society. Around 1918, Gibran started writing almost exclusively in English.
Gibran was able to revolutionize the poetic language that was being used during his active period. By the year 1930, Gibran had already established himself as a literature icon. The author’s partnership with the Alfred Knopf Publishers resulted in the publication of several English books including “Madman”.
“Madman” was published in 1918 and it features a mixture of poetry and prose. In 1926, the author published “Sand and Foam” a book that did not achieve any major success. Gibran’s next publication “Jesus the Son of Man” was more successful than his previous productions.
Khalil Gibran’s style of writing usually utilized a philosophical prose that acted as a condemner of the evil that plagued the writer’s society. The writer did not possess any remarkable poetic abilities but he was still able to usher in a new method of writing. His writing resembled prose and it was almost addictive to its readers.
His most famous book is “Prophet” a book that features a prophetic personality who teaches people about the secrets of life. “Prophet” consists of 26 philosophical prose essays. This book is one of the best selling poetic books of all time. The book was particularly popular during the 1960s when the ‘new age’ wave hit America. Gibran died in 1931 from liver disease complications.
He was then buried in his homeland of Lebanon in accordance with his wishes. Several decades after his death, Gibran is still considered as one of the greatest poets that ever lived. Today, his poetry is still being read on several social occasions.