BR# 7 The Prophet

book reviews, Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge, kahlil gibran, the prophet / Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Date Started: 1/25/17                        Date finished: 1/25/17

For #7 of BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge: Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.

The Prophet was originally published in 1923.

About two years ago, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran was recommended to me by a co-worker when we were having a conversation of poetry. I told her she should check out Stevie Smith (who is fun to read, yet not so awe inspiring as Gibran). For those two years, the book lingered at the back of my mind. With this book at the forefront of my mind, I made sure to add this fine example of poetry to the book challenges.

One of Gibran’s illustrations from the book.
Did I mention, he illustrated the book?

This masterpiece, because really this is what it is at its core, introduces Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, the prophet of this collection leaving the city of Orphalese after staying for twelve years of bestowing his wisdom to everyone. Before he leaves to return to his homeland, the people of Orphalese gather ask him questions and to hear him speak for one last time. Each section deals with a different question the townspeople ask him. In each episode, he shares with them his profound knowledge.

After reading The Prophet, I cannot fathom why it is not as popular as it should be, or revered as classical cannon among some of Gibran’s contemporaries like Ernst Hemingway and Virginia Woolf to name a few. I am not quick to admit this about any book, but I found this book to be the single most inspiring piece of literature I have ever read in my life. My clumsy words cannot do justice to the magnificence of Gibran’s poetry. I need to buy The Prophet so in times of trouble I could be a pretentious jerk and quote from it (because the edgy hipster in me is done with Shakespeare all the time).  Also, for the spiritual catharsis it leaves with every verse.

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