BELOVED PROPHET: The Love Story of Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell as revealed in their letters and journals by Virginia -- Ed. Hilu

BELOVED PROPHET: The Love Story of Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell as revealed in their letters and journals

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This unsuspected correspondence was found at Gibran's death and Barbara Young, his faithful attendant of the last years and later memoirist (The Man from Lebanon -- 1945), asked Miss Haskell to destroy it; in fact she said in that book, in which there is no mention of Miss Haskell by name, ""It is always wise to be wary of the woman who appears out of nowhere and claims a great man for her own when he is dead."" Miss Haskell took the papers and deposited them in the University of North Carolina Library from which they now emerge, annotated by the editor. The prophet who once said ""We have eternity"" was indeed prophetic as well as beloved and the latter is the word he uses in almost all of his letters to her. Mary met him in Boston at an art exhibit (""Are you interested in that picture?"" -- she was a schoolteacher), she helped to support him through the years, and there, is no question of his attachment to her -- ""The most wonderful thing, Mary, is that you and I are always walking together, hand in hand, in a strangely beautiful world, unknown to other people"" (as they were). Chaste was their ""union (which) always rested on our conscious love of that ultimate"" although often she longed for more -- Gibran implying that his drive was channeled into his work (although in the Young book he contends that ""the most highly sexed beings upon the planet are the creators. . . . Sex is always beautiful, and it is always shy."") The letters and journals go on and on -- she records his ""peculiar glow"" and his ""unspeakable sensitiveness. . . all electricity and velvet."" His breathy murmurations intone nothing that is not spiritually ennobling -- ""Life is deep and high and rich -- and I am so busy drinking Life that I cannot do much of anything else."" Soul to soul, the interchange emanates for some 20 years (she married in 1926 -- he died in 1931) with altitudinous monotony and one must remember that there are two kinds of constant reader.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1972
Publisher: Knopf