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The Posthumous Reception of Gibran

Jibran Hayyan wa Mayittan [Gibran Alive and Dead]. Majmu'a tashtamilu 'ala mukhtarat mimma kataba wa-rasama Jibran Khalil Jibran wa-mimma qila fih.

Sao Paulo, Brazil: [Maṭbaʻat Abu al-Hawl], 1932.

Price: $5,500.00


About the item

First edition. Photographic frontispiece portrait of Gibran, 32 hors texte plates (works by Gibran, portrait of the artist in his studio, his birthplace, and a color plate of the cedars of Lebanon with pink tissue guard); full page drawing, manuscript facsimiles and other illustrations in text. Text in Arabic[iv], 567, [1, imprint] pp. 1 vols. 4to. The Posthumous Reception of Gibran. Original publisher's tan printed wrappers with yapp edges, portrait of Gibran to front cover with titles in white. A very good copy (slight wear to edges). Provenance: Ownership signature “Barbour / Jerusalem / 1936” inside front wrapper.

Item #366505

The first critical anthology of the work of Lebanese-American poet, novelist and artist Gibran Khalil Gibran, known best in the West for his visionary work 'The Prophet'. This anothology was printed in Arabic in Sao Paolo in 1932 (the year after Gibran's death at the age of 48), by the diaspora Lebanese newspaper Abu al-Hawl.
Born to a Maronite family in Ottoman-ruled Lebanon in 1883, Gibran's talents were first noticed in Boston after his family's emigration in the 1890s. After studies in Lebanon, the US and Paris, Gibran settled in New York where he exhibited his paintings and drawings and published his first English-language book 'The Madman' in 1918. 'The Prophet', published by Knopf in 1923, followed and despite a cool initial reception, sold well and has become subsequently one of the biggest selling English-language titles of all time (it remains in print today), as well as being translated into more than 100 other languages. Due to 'The Prophet' Gibran's commercial success was assured but it was this anthology that began the efforts to establish a critical reputation. Mas'ud provides excerpts from Gibran's prose, letters and poems, and includes a biographical sketch as well as contemporary criticism. The account of Gibran’s death draws from newspaper accounts and reproduces pictures from the funeral procession through the streets of Beirut.
The manuscript of Gibran's 'Al-Mawakib' (The Procession) is presented in facsimile as are the suite of metaphysical drawings he made for it. The hors-texte plates and text illustrations reproduce drawings by Gibran: Abu Nuwas, Ibn Sina, Majnun, the Prophet, al-Ghazzali, and others. The sole colour plate shows Bsharri, Gibran's Mount Lebanon birthplace, and a number of cedars. As noted by one critic, Gibran's artistic work bears more relation to Leonardo than to any artist or school from the intervening centuries. Gibran's longterm patron, Mary Haskell, bequeathed the whole of her collection of drawings and paintings to the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia.
The signature 'Barbour' to the front wrapper verso is intriguing and may be that of Arabist Nevill Barbour (1895-1972), who lived with his wife in Palestine in the '30s and became the BBC correspondent during the Second World War. Together with two other Christians, three Jews and three Muslims, Barbour was the co-author of 'A Constitution for Palestine' (1945), a moderate attempt to introduce a non-Zionist solution to the political problems of the region.
This study is scarce: OCLC locates a single copy at Harvard; COPAC adds a copy at Cambridge. A second edition was published in Beirut in 1966.