Truth, Love, Beauty, Liberation, and Wisdom weaved into this 28
timeless poems, a trully masterpiece of Khalil Gibran. This rare poetic gem embody the conversation between prophet Almustafa with a
group of people concerning life and human condition.
First published in 1923, it has been translated into more than twenty languages.
The book seamlessly unites the mundane and the transcendental, concerning
every aspect of life. Gibran considered this book his masterpiece and said: "I think I've never been without The
Prophet since I first conceived the book back in Mount Lebanon. It seems to have
been a part of me... I kept the manuscript four years before I delivered it over
to my publisher because I wanted to be sure, I wanted to be very sure, that
every word of it was the very best I had to offer."
The Madman is the first English poem of Khalil Gibran and first published in 1918.
You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long
before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were
stolen,—the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives,—I ran maskless
through the crowded streets shouting, “Thieves, thieves, the cursed
Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear
And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a
house-top cried, “He is a madman.” I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my
own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own
naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks
no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who
stole my masks.”
Thus I became a madman.
And I have found both freedom of loneliness and the safety from
being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.
But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail
is safe from another thief.
During his lifetime, Khalil Gibran also created many mystical paintings and drawings with naked human body as central theme. Gibran's artistic talents was recognized early and he was introduced to F.
Holland Day, a photographer, who tutored him in art and literature. He held his first art exhibition in 1904 in Boston. From 1908 to 1910 he studied art in Paris with August Rodin. You can view some images of his artworks here.