Gibran, Kahlil (1883–1931)
Metaphysical poet and philosopher. He was born in the
town of Bsharýe, Lebanon, traditionally the area of the forest
of the Holy Cedars, which furnished timber for King Solomon’s
temple in ancient Jerusalem. Gibran was baptized in the Maronite
(Eastern Rite) branch of the Roman Catholic Church and
named after his paternal grandfather as Gibran Kahlil Gibran,
a name he retained in Arabic, although he used the simpler
‘‘Kahlil Gibran’’ in his English writings.
He was educated in Lebanon and emigrated to the United
States with his family when he was 12, settling in Boston in
1895. There he attended a public school but he returned to the
Middle East for schooling two years later.
In Lebanon he studied at the Madrasat Al-Hikmat (The
School of Wisdom), founded by the Maronite bishop Joseph
Debs in Beirut. After graduation he traveled in Syria and Lebanon,
visiting historic places.
In 1902 he returned to the United States to dedicate himself
to painting, and in 1908 went to Paris to study under famous
sculptor Auguste Rodin at the Academy of Fine Arts. He then
returned to the United States once again, where he continued
to paint. Gibran wrote many books of mystical inspiration that
dramatize a quest of self-fulfillment, of which The Prophet
(1923) is by far the most popular.
Sources
Gibran, Kahlil. Beloved Prophet The Love Letters of Kahhil Gibran
and Mary Haskell and her Private Journal. New York Alfred
A. Knopf, 1972.
———. Earth Gods. New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1931.
———. Gibran A Self-Portrait. New York Citadel, 1959.
———. Jesus the Son of Man. New York Alfred A. Knopf,
1956.
———. The Prophet. New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1923.
———. Sand and Foam. New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1926.
———. Wisdom of Kahlil Gibran. New York Philosophical Library,
1966.
Hawi, Khalil. Kahlil Gibran His Background, Character, and
Works. Beirut, 1963.
Nu’aymah, Mikha’il. Kahlil Gibran A Biography. New York
Quartet, 1988.
Sherfan, Andrew Dib. Kahlil Gibran The Nature of Love. New
York Philosophical Library, 1971.
Young, Barbara. This Man from Lebanon A Study of Kahlil Gibran.
New York Alfred A. Knopf, n.d.