File Name: thoughts and meditations kahlil gibran .zip
Though he considered himself to be mainly a painter, lived most of his life in the United States, and wrote his best-known works in English, Kahlil Gibran was the key figure in a Romantic movement that transformed Arabic literature in the first half of the twentieth century. Educated in Beirut, Boston, and Paris, Gibran was influenced by the European modernists of the late nineteenth century. His early works were sketches, short stories, poems, and prose poems written in simple language for Arabic newspapers in the United States.
These pieces spoke to the experiences and loneliness of Middle Eastern immigrants in the New World. His themes of alienation, disruption, and lost rural beauty and security in a modernizing world also resonated with the experiences of his readers.
He quickly found admirers and imitators among Arabic writers, and his reputation as a central figure of Arabic literary modernism has never been challenged. His works have been hugely popular, making him the best-selling American poet of the twentieth century, but that enthusiasm has not been shared by critics.
His paintings and drawings of sinuous idealized nudes belong to symbolism and art nouveau and are, thus, a survival of a tradition rejected both by American realists and European abstractionists. His English books—most notably, The Prophet , with its earnest didactic romanticism—found no favor with critics whose models were the cool intellectualism of James Joyce and T. Eliot or the gritty realism of Ernest Hemingway. As a result, Gibran has been dismissed as a popular sentimentalist by American critics and historians of art and of literature.
There are signs that this situation is changing, at least on the literary side, as critics become more sensitive to the characteristics of immigrant writing. He had a half brother, Butrus also known as Peter Rahma, and two younger sisters, Sultana and Marianna. The father seems to have been a violent drinker and a gambler; rather than tend the walnut grove he owned, he was a collector of taxes for the village headman, a job that was not considered reputable. In he was convicted of some irregularity, and his property was confiscated.
Gibran later described his father to his women friends as a descendant of cavaliers, a romantic figure, who got into trouble with the law for refusing to compromise with corrupt village authorities. His education in a school run by the local priest would have been erratic; since Bisharri was a Maronite village, the new education offered by the Protestant missionaries was not available to him. He absorbed a good deal of Lebanese folk culture that appears in his writings. His sensitivity to natural beauty owed much to the magnificent setting of impoverished Bisharri above the Qadisha Valley on the slopes of Mount Lebanon.
Kamila left her husband in and took the children to the United States; they were part of the large wave of immigration that took place in the three decades before World War I. They arrived in New York on 17 June and went on to Boston, where they settled in the teeming immigrant slums of the South End.
Kamila, as was common for immigrants, became a peddler; soon she had saved enough money to open a shop with her son Butrus. Khalil went to school, while his sisters helped in the shop.
The school gave him the American form and spelling of his last name, Gibran. He began in an ungraded class for immigrants who knew no English; he learned the language quickly, though his written English, especially the spelling, remained erratic. In November Gibran was introduced to Fred Holland Day, the eccentric leader of a Boston avant-garde group who called themselves the Visionists.
A pioneering art photographer, Day was partial to exotic and orientalist themes and produced elegant homoerotic photographs of young men. His drawing progressed, and he published at least one book cover. He sketched a portrait of her from memory and gave it to Day to pass on to her.
Peabody was charmed by the sketch, and she and Gibran exchanged a few letters. He attended the Maronite high school Madrasat al-Hikma in Beirut, where he was allowed to study independently; he read widely in Arabic and French literature, started a school poetry magazine, and won a poetry contest. He visited Bisharri during vacations, but his relationship with his father was strained. Gibran left Beirut in and wandered around Europe; Paris was among the places he visited. In April he received news that his sister Sultana had died of glandular tuberculosis; he hurried home, arriving two weeks after her death.
Butrus also had tuberculosis and left for Cuba that winter in search of a more healthful climate. Soon afterward, their mother was diagnosed with cancer.
In November Gibran wrote to Peabody, and she invited him to a party held at her house two weeks later. An intense platonic relationship resulted, though Gibran seems to have wanted it to progress to a sexual one. He visited her regularly; they went to musical and artistic events together; they wrote to each other often; and she encouraged his writing and his art.
Butrus died on 12 March Kamila died on 28 June, leaving Gibran responsible for Marianna and the debt-ridden family shop. He ran the business long enough to pay off the debts, then allowed Marianna to support the two of them on her earnings as a seamstress. In October Gibran wrote something in a letter to Peabody that angered her, and their relationship cooled.
It was favorably reviewed, and some of the pictures were sold. She seems to have concluded that Gibran was the most important person she would ever meet and that it was her responsibility to encourage him and to document his intellectual and artistic life. She recorded their conversations and preserved his sketches and other ephemera in extremely detailed journals.
She supported him intellectually, financially, and emotionally, with, it seems, a clear understanding of the financial and emotional costs that would be involved. They considered marriage, but their relationship never became sexual. Inside the cage is a sparrow that has died of hunger and thirst, despite being within sight of water and food.
The cage dissolves into a skeleton containing a human heart dripping blood. The heart speaks, declaring that it has died from being imprisoned by human laws that bind the emotions. Inspired by concerts Gibran attended with Day and his other intellectual friends, it is a Romantic paean to music. Gibran begins by comparing music to the speech of his beloved, goes on to discuss how music was worshiped by civilizations of the past, and concludes with short poetic descriptions of four modes of Middle Eastern music.
Arabic writers were expected to have mastered the rigid poetic forms and vocabulary of the pre-Islamic period and the first centuries of Islam; having absorbed this rich literary heritage, they could not escape its overwhelming influence. Gibran, however, did not have the training to imitate the old masters of Arabic literature: his education had been haphazard and was as much in English as in Arabic, and there is little evidence of the influence of classical Arabic literature in his works.
Instead, his Arabic style was influenced by the Romantic writers of late 19th-century Europe and shows obvious traces of English syntax. His allegorical sketches of exile, oppression, and loneliness spoke to the experiences of immigrants and had none of the rhetorical decoration that made high Arabic literature difficult for ordinary readers. Even the novella al-Ajniha al-mutakassira and the later English works tend to be short units strung together rather than sustained narratives or exposition.
His written works also exhibit an underlying painterly aesthetic in which the basic unit is the exposition of a single vivid image. Nathan, the son of the priest of Astarte in Baalbek, loses his lover to disease. Despite her promise that they will meet again, he is maddened by grief and wanders lost in the desert.
Seeing a girl by a stream, he recognizes himself as Nathan and her as his long-lost lover. It is noteworthy that the main part of the story is set in the Phoenician, not the Islamic, Lebanese past.
The other two stories deal with social oppression. She becomes pregnant, and he throws her out. When she dies, the priests refuse to bury her in consecrated ground. When Yuhanna preaches against the monks at the Easter service, they arrest him; he is freed only after his father testifies that he is a madman.
He then began a secret affair with a pianist, Gertrude Barrie, who, like Peabody, was several years his senior. In Michel suffered an ectopic pregnancy and had an abortion. She leaves him for a younger lover, disgraced in the eyes of the world but honest in love. He is beaten and brought to trial, where his eloquence wins over the villagers. They demand that he be made headman, but Khalil knows that power corrupts.
He refuses the position and lives quietly with his lover. In Haskell paid for Gibran travel to Paris to study art. He made a series of pencil portraits of major artists, of which that of Auguste Rodin is the best known. In Paris he also encountered the works of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who became a major influence on his writing.
He met several Syrian political exiles and the Lebanese American writer Amin Rihani, who became his friend and literary ally. Eventually his money ran out, and he returned to the United States in October In Gibran published al-Ajniha al-mutakassira, which he seems to have written several years earlier. When he was eighteen, the narrator fell in love in Beirut with Salma Karama.
Salma was then confined to her home and eventually died in childbirth. The book led to a correspondence with the Syrian writer May Ziyada that evolved into an epistolary love affair. After Paris, Gibran found Boston provincial and stifling. New York was the center of the Arabic literary scene in America; Rihani was there, and Gibran met many literary and artistic figures who lived in or passed through the city, including the Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats.
He grew more politically active, supporting the idea of revolution to gain Syrian independence from the Ottoman Empire. Though Gibran initially had some success as an artist in New York, artistic currents were moving rapidly in other directions. The reviews of an exhibition of his own work in December were mixed.
He devoted most of his time to painting for the next eighteen years but remained loyal to the symbolism of his youth and became an isolated figure on the New York art scene. Al-Funun The Arts , an Arabic newspaper founded in New York in , provided a new vehicle for his writings, some of which were openly political. For the most part they are prose poems: painterly expositions of a vivid image or story fragments.
The themes are love, spirituality, beauty, nature, and alienation and homecoming. Gibran feigned reluctance to republish these pieces on the grounds that he had moved beyond them. During World War I, Gibran was active in Syrian nationalist circles and in efforts to bring relief to the starving people of his homeland.
He was unable to accept the pacifism that was popular among his American intellectual friends. Along with such eminent writers as the poet Robert Frost and the critic Van Wyck Brooks, Gibran was a member of the advisory board of the prominent literary magazine The Seven Arts, which was founded in An introduction, in which the narrator tells how he became a madman when a thief stole his masks and he ran maskless through the streets, is followed by a series of pieces that were written, and sometimes published, separately.
The first two remark on the barren nature of this strange land; the third insists that they are on the nose of the Supreme Ant. The other ants laugh at his strange preaching; at that moment the man awakes, scratches his nose, and crushes the ants. Reviews were mixed but mostly positive.
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