Poet, philosopher, and artist, was born in
Lebanon, a land that has produced many prophets. The millions of Arabic-speaking
peoples familiar with his writings in that language consider him the genius of
his age. But he was a man whose fame and influence spread far beyond the Near
East. His poetry has been translated into more than twenty languages. His
drawings and paintings have been exhibited in the great capitals of the world.
In the United States, which he made his home during the last twenty years of his
life, he began to write in English.
Gibran Kahlil Gibran was born to a Maronite family, in Bsharri, a town
at the foot of Mount Fam al-MIzab, near the Cedar grove in North
Lebanon. He was the first born to his mother from her second marriage,
her having previously been a widow with only one son, Butros.
Birth of his sister Marianna.
1887 Birth of his second sister, Sultana. 1888 Entered a
one-class village school where he learnt the rudiments of Arabic,
Syriac, and Arithmetic.
1894 Emigrated with his two sisters and half-brother to
Boston, U.S.A. settling in Chinatown. The father, Khalil Gibran, a tax
collector and drunkard stayed behind.
1895 Butros opened a small shop, the family's only source of
income, while Gibran joined a local school where his name was anglicized
to Kahlil Gibran.
1897 Showed particular promise in his classes of drawing and
painting. Was introduced to the esoteric Bostonian artist- photographer
Fred Holland Day, who was experimenting with photography as art and in
whose studies Gibran was photographed in various postures, some in the
nude. Was sent back to Lebanon, where he joined al-Hikma high school in
Beirut. The program of study laid special stress on Arabic and French
language and literature.
1901 Returned to Boston.
1902 Came back to the Lebanon as an interpreter to an American
family touring Europe and the eastern Mediterranean countries. Hurried
back to Boston upon hearing of the death of his youngest sister, Sultana
1903 Struck by two losses: the death of his half-brother
Butros from tuberculosis and that of his mother from cancer.
1904 Held in spring a picture exhibition at Fred Holland Day's
1905 Published in New York, al-Musiqa (Music), a pamphlet in
which he eulogizes music, in particular Arabic music with its various
Published in New York 'Ara'is al-Muruj (Nymphs of the Valley), a
collection of three short stories, expressive of his anti-feudal and
1908 Published in New York, al-Arwah al-Mutamclrrida (Spirits
Rebellious), a collection of four short stories much in the spirit of
'Ara is al-Muruj. Left for Paris to study art through the generosity of
Mary Haskell .
Met in Paris Ameen Rihani who was on his way to New York. The two
visited London together for a few weeks to orient themselves with the
art life in the city; they then departed, Gibran to Paris and Rihani to
America. Returned to Boston after having spent in Paris two years and
Started to spend long intervals in New York City, sometimes staying with
the Rihanis, trying to get introduced to the art and life of the big
city and to draw distinguished personalities for income. He completed
the illustrations and cover picture for Rihani's Book of Khalid. Rented
for $20 in New York a small studio at 51 West 10th Street in a building
said to be the first in America to be built exclusively for the use of
painters and sculptors.
Became a resident of New York City. Published in New York, al-Ajniha
al-Mutakassira - Broken Wings), a novelette, dedicated to Mary Haskell.
His father died in Lebanon.
Moved to a larger studio, Room 40, in the same building, double the size
of the first, with more windows and light.
Published in New York Dam a wa Ibtisaima (a Tear and a Smile), a
collection of poetic prose pieces verging on the aphoristic . Held an
exhibition at the Montross Galleries on December 14.
Met for the first time, in the offices of al-Funun. Mikhail Naimy, his
life long friend and biographer, who had newly arrived that Autumn from
the State of Washington, to join the young Arabic literary movement in
Published in New York, The Madman, his first work in English, a
collection of parables.
Published in New York, Twenty Drawings, a selected collection of his
drawings with an introduction by Alice Raphael. Published in New York,
al-Mawakib (The Processions), a long Arabic poem in the form of a
dialogue between two voices, one that of a spiritually liberated man and
the other of a man in bondage.
Published in Cairo, al-'AuasiJ (The Tempests), a collection of
poetico-fictional pieces and essays characterized by revolt against man
the self-enslaved in the name of man the self- emancipated. Published in
New York his second English work The Forerunner, another collection of
parables and sayings. Founded with other Syrian co-writers and poets in
New York a literary society al-Rabita al-Qalamiyya (The Pen So-ciety),
consisting of Gubran as president, Naimy assecretary, W. Katsiflis as
treasurer, and N. 'Arlda, 1. Abu Madl, A.h. Haddad, R. Ayyub, and N.
Haddad as members.
Published in Cairo, al-Bada'i' waal-Tara'if (The New and the Marvellous)
a number of narratives and essays in the style of al-'AuasiJ; collected
and named by a publisher in Egypt with the blessing of Gibran. Published
in New York his chef-d'ceuvre The Prophet. Began to show real signs of
Published in New York, Sand and Foam, a collection of parables and
Published in New York, Jesus, The Son of Man, an attempt at portraying
Jesusthrough a synthesis of different views on Him offered by a number
of His contemporaries, making Him in essence almost a duplicate of
Published in New York, The Earth Gods, a long prose poem consisting of a
dialogue between three Earth-Gods on the destiny of man. Died on April
10, at St. Vincent Hospital, New York. In the autopsy he is said to have
suffered of "Cirrhosis of the liver with incipient tuberculosis in one
of the lungs." His body. after sometime in Boston, was returned to
Lebanon and laid in the chapel of Mar Sarkis, an old monastery carved in
a rock near Bsharrl. Gibran has two works that were published in New
York posthumously: The Wanderer, a collection of parables published in
1932 and The Garden of The Prophet in 1933.
This latter work, started by Gibran, was continued and concluded after
his death by another pen and should not, therefore, be taken seriously.
Al-Majmu'a al-Kamila li Mu'allafat Gubran Khalil Gubran (The Complete
Arabic Works of Kahlil Gibran), organized and introduced by Mikhail
Naimy appeared in Beirut, 1961.
His works been translated from the Arabic and published posthumously.
Tears and Laughter (Dam'a wa Ibtisama), translated by A.R. Ferris, New
York. l948 Nymphs of the Valley ('Ara'isal-Muruj), translated by
H.M. Nahmad, New York. Spirits Rebellious (al-Arwah al-Mutamarrida),
translated by H.M. Nahmad, New York.
A Tear and a Smile (Dam'a wa Ibtisama), translated by H.M.
Nahmad, New York.
1958 The Processions
(al-Mawakib), translated by George Khairal-lah, New York.
1959 The Broken
Wings (al-Ajniha al-Mutakassira) translated by A.R. Ferris New York