How to pronounce Kahlil Gibran

Summary of the Prophet

Lebanon as the plaything of the powers that be

For more than 300 years, Lebanon, Khalil Gibran's homeland, was a province of the Ottoman Empire. Many Maronites settled there, a Christian denomination that recognized the Pope as head and to which Gibran's family belonged. After pogroms by the Druze minority against the Christians in 1860, the Europeans enforced Lebanon's independence. The administration continued to be held by an Ottoman governor, who, however, had to be confirmed by the European powers. The fall of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II. in 1909 by the Young Turks helped Lebanon to flourish again. Beirut was soon known as the “Paris of the Middle East”. The trade activities and the numerous missions made the country known for its cosmopolitanism.

During the First World War, Lebanon lost its independence and was placed under Ottoman military administration. The Ottomans suppressed the national movement, which was particularly strong in Lebanon. There was a famine between 1916 and 1918 - triggered by a sea blockade imposed by the Entente powers on the Ottoman coast. Around 100,000 of the 450,000 people living in Lebanon at the time lost their lives as a result of hunger and epidemics. In the USA, where numerous exiled Lebanese were staying, protests and relief operations broke out.

The main destination of Lebanese emigrants, including Gibran, was Boston, which was the intellectual center of the United States around 1900. Artists and writers, rich and influential patrons, publishers and business leaders met here.


The origins of the book the Prophet possibly go back to Khalil Gibran's childhood: he sustained a shoulder injury while climbing a mountain and had to lie with his arms outstretched for 40 days; this is said to have contributed to his strong identification with Jesus.

In exile in the USA, Gibran met in 1904 at an exhibition of his pictures Mary Haskell know. She was ten years older than him, came from a well-to-do family, ran a girls' school and regularly supported penniless artists. This progressive feminist, who became his patron, confidante and editor, supported him financially. His letter was also inspired by his stay in Paris in 1908, as numerous Syrian-Lebanese dissidents fled to the French capital around this time.

During the First World War, Gibran wrote various chapters of the Prophets under the provisional title “The Advice”. Between 1919 and 1923 he wrote tirelessly on the manuscript as his American publisher pushed for completion. The book changed titles several times before being called it in 1923 the Prophet appeared.

Impact history

the Prophet was received positively by the criticism. The success even made the author so prominent that he of Franklin Roosevelt was invited shortly before this US president became. Later, the work became a worldwide box-office hit, particularly due to its importance for the counterculture and the New Age movement of the 1960s. the Prophet has been translated into over 40 languages ​​to date. The success led Gibran to become one of the best-selling poets after today WilliamShakespeare and Laotse applies.

The Scottish Educator Alexander Sutherland Neill, the founder of the Democratic School Summerhill, introduced his book Theory and Practice of Anti-Authoritarian Education perhaps the most famous quote the Prophet"Your children are not your children", go ahead.

Gibran's work is sometimes assigned to the esoteric category and the author as a person is often stylized as an oriental guru. To this day, the academic world hardly deals with the poet and his books. There are no entries in literary encyclopedias, and scientific studies of his work are scarce. In any case, it defies common classifications.