The Literary Works of Gibran Kahlil Gibran
Gibran’s supreme humanism consisted in this: in expressing
all those human values that exist in man and are recognized
in art under the generic name of poetry.
To Music (1905): Gibran’s first work is an ode to music in twelve pages.
Music is the language of the soul. Its melody is like the playful breeze that makes the strings tremble with love.
Works originally written in Arabic and later translated into other languages:
Martha (1906): Gibran’s first story tells the tale of a young orphan girl who falls into a life of sin. It was included with two other stories in Spirit Brides (Nymphs of the Valley).
If my people had attacked the despots and oppressors and died rebels, I would have said, “Dying for freedom is nobler than living in the shadow of weak submission.”
Spirits Rebellious (1908): Four prose tales that exhort men to break their chains and free themselves. An unveiled critique of the repression of the Ottoman Empire.
True light is that which radiates from within a man. It reveals the secrets of the soul to the soul and lets it rejoice in life, singing in the name of the Spirit…. God has given to your spirits wings to soar aloft into the realms of love and freedom. Why then do you cut them off with your own hands and crawl on the earth like insects?
Broken Wings (1914): An account of Gibran’s own experiences in his life. The main themes are loved and the impossibility of its consummation in the story of Hala Dhaler, a young villager.
… until love came and opened the heart’s doors and lighted its corners.
A Tear and a Smile (1914): A poem about love and sorrow, two contraries that complement each other.
Have mercy, my soul, / For you did show to me fortune from afar. / You and fortune are upon a high mountain; / I and misfortune in a deep valley. / Shall the high and the low meet?
The Processions (1918): A dialogue about good and evil.
Life is but a lethargy disturbed by the dreams the will suggests; the sad soul conceals its secrets with sadness, and the happy one with anxiety.
Works originally written in English and later translated into other languages:
The Madman (1918): The principal theme throughout this work is man’s relationship with God and with the world, in the voice of a man considered mad.
Why am I here, O God of lost souls, thou who art lost amongst the gods?
The Forerunner (1920): Parables and poems full of tenderness and understanding about human beings as the makers of their own destiny.
You are your own forerunner, and the towers you have builded are but the foundation of your giant-self. And that self too shall be a foundation.
The Storms (1920): An anthology of prose and poetry that addresses themes such as sadness, joy, exile, nostalgia, patience, and hope.
I am a stranger in this world, and there is a severe solitude and painful lonesomeness in my exile. I am alone, but in my aloneness I contemplate an unknown and enchanting country, and this meditation fills my dreams with spectres of a great and distant land which my eyes have never seen.
The Prophet (1923): Gibran’s major work, which he conceived and wrote over the course of twenty years, full of wise proverbs about life, love, joy, sadness, and other universal emotions.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; / For love is sufficient unto love. […] When love beckons to you, follow him.
Sand and Foam (1926): A man walks between the shore and the tide, between the sand and the foam, and expresses all human emotions on his way.
One may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night.
Jesus the Son of Man (1928): A human portrait of Jesus. Seventy-seven different persons describe their experiences with the Son of Man.
They released me and chose Him. Then He rose and I fell down. (Barabbas)
The Earth Gods (1931): A compendium of Gibran’s teaching. A dialogue about man and destiny between three gods representing strength, command, and love.
To raise man from secret darkness, / Yet keep his roots clinging to the earth; / To give him thirst for life, and make death his cup-bearer; […]
Lazarus and His Beloved and The Blind Man (1926): Two one-act theater plays.
The Wanderer (1932): A collection of fifty tales.
The Garden of the Prophet (1933): The second volume of The Prophet , with texts gathered by Barbara Young.
Nymphs of the Valley (1948): A critique of the powerful who fail to abide by the laws.
The Voice of the Master (1959): The third volume of The Prophet , which gathers the drafts of the unfinished trilogy.
Thoughts and Meditations (1961): A compilation of Gibran’s aphorisms by Barbara Young.
Mirrors of the Soul (1963): Critical and poetical texts published in the press.