Lesson Plan: The Life and Work of Kahlil Gibran

Lesson Plan - The Life and Work of Kahlil Gibran


Kahlil Gibran, poet, philosopher and author of The Prophet is one of the world's all-time best-selling authors. His works have been translated into more than fifty languages and The Prophet alone has sold over eight million copies.

The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the life and the work of this Lebanese-American writer. The lesson will also try to encourage students to look at Gibran in his social-historical context and examine his place in the American canon of literature. (Note: Before this lesson, assign your students to read the ADC issue paper on Gibran and selections from The Prophet. If you have time, assign all of The Prophet.)

Key Points about Gibran's life:

· From the village of Bsharri in Lebanon. Born in 1883. His family lived near poverty with a drunken, abusive father. Despite this, Gibran always remembered fondly his childhood spent in the Bekka valley of Lebanon.

· Emigrated to the US in 1895 with his mother, Kamileh, sisters Mariana and Sultana and brother Peter. Lived in Boston. Mother and sisters worked as seamstresses and his brother ran a shop.

· 1897: Went back to Beirut to study. Returned to the US in 1901

· Drawings first exhibited in 1904. At exhibit, Gibran met Mary Haskell who was to become a life-long friend, mentor and editor.

· Formed Ar-Rabitah Al- Qalamyiah, an Arab-American cultural society in 1911.

· Moved to New York in 1912. On Mary's recommendation, began perfecting his English and writing in his adopted language. First published in English in 1915.

· Became very politically active during the war. Wanted to go to Lebanon and take part in the fighting against the Ottoman army but a shoulder injury kept him in America.

· Sat on the boards of two magazines, The Seven Arts and Fatat Boston. Contributed to other magazines such as Al-Mouhajer and Al-Funna throughout his career. Joined Golden Links Society. All these magazines and societies created a forum for Arabic writers and intellectuals in America.

· Continued exhibiting paintings and publishing novels. The Prophet published in 1923.

· Died on April 10th 1931. Buried in Lebanon.

Significance of his work:

· Very spiritual books. Strongly attached to the Maronite