A release of a new collection of 260 manuscripts, unfinished works and conversations, letters, aphorisms, and paintings, all of which were penned by Gibran Khalil Gibran were gathered in a book entitled "Turn the Page Young Man".
This book shows Gibran deals with existential and spiritual topics that show the various stages of his intellectual, literary and artistic development.
It was launched in a ceremony at the UNESCO Palace hall - Beirut under the auspices of the Minister of Culture H. E. Mr. Salim Wardeh, in the presence of over 350 local and international figures and local and international media/press. The ceremony was followed by a big cocktail. A copy of the book was presented to each attendee upon his departure.
In his speech Dr. Tarek Chidiac Gibran National Committee president stressed that "in the presence of so many manuscripts, the GNC decided to release a large portion of Gibran's ideas, aphorisms, proverbs and philosophical thoughts, while keeping another portion at the Gibran museum for anyone interested who wishes to come and see them" Some writings date to 1899 when Gibran was attending the Sagesse High School in Ashrafieh. Other writings were completed during various stages, such as while writing his "Al-Musiqa" book in 1905, his time in Paris, World War I, and during creation of the 'Pen League' literary circle.
In the collection, Gibran wrote about love, life, nature, God, knowledge, eternity, history, the body, the soul and matter. He recorded his emotions about sad and happy moments, music, and his views about the arts, the world, and dialects.
He also included paintings of nude bodies and portraits of women and himself.
On one page, he wrote, "Who are you, Gibran? If I tell them that I came from a lineage of kings, they won't believe me, because my feelings towards them are those of a brother towards his siblings, and this is something that they are not used to. And if I tell them that I come from the common people, they will not accept that. They treat me as if I am one of them although they believe that they are the descendants of the gods. What would they say if they knew that I come from dust?"
In the collection Gibran takes the reader into the philosophical debate about the meaning of life, a theme that permeated all his writings.
Gibran gives a definition of death, writing "Death is the end of the finite, and the beginning of the infinite."
He wrote about his self-worth, "They tell me, 'You won't know your own worth until you die'. They're right. Whoever knows the real nature of seeds below the ground before they sprout? And do I want to be remembered after I die? Yes! But, about one thing: that there was more in my heart than my tongue could say and there was more in my soul than my hands possessed."
Mr. Antoine El-Khoury Tawk, professor of Arab literature and former president of the Gibran National Committee, who was instrumental in putting out "Turn the Page Young Man", said Gibran's newly published manuscripts are not outdated.
"Gibran's pen is still relevant to our times," he said." It is a necessity, a Lebanese necessity, an image that we show to the world and to Lebanon because of the harsh and regional discourse that it contains."
Tawk said putting together the new collection involved making difficult choices about which parts of the manuscripts would be published or left out.
"The overwhelming view was to go ahead and publish what could be published," he said. "These pangs of labour were due to the question that we posed ourselves: would Gibran have published them? We decided to publish them because we are in need of these writings, and because they are clean, clear and bold, even in their impudence."
Regarding the title Tawk said, "according to Gibran's notes, we notice that every time an idea would come across his mind, he would write it down, then organize it and handwrite it with a quill pen. When the whole text was completed, he would write at the bottom of the page, 'Turn the page, Gibran' or 'Turn the page, young man', which is where we got the title of the book from."
"Turn the Page Young Man" will be translated into English by the Gibran National Committee's publishing house in the United States.
The first edition of the book was presented to H. E. Mr. Michel Slaiman President of the Republic of Lebanon by the Gibran National Committee headed by Dr. Chidiac few days after to the launching ceremony