The Prophet (book)

The Prophet (book)
The Prophet  
Author(s) Kahlil Gibran
Language English
Genre(s) Poetry
Publication date 1923
Followed by The Garden of the Prophet

The Prophet is a book of 26 poetic essays written in English by the Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer Kahlil Gibran.[1] It was originally published in 1923 by Alfred A. Knopf. It is Gibran's best known work. The Prophet has been translated into over forty different languages.[2]



The prophet, Al-Mustafa who has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses topics such as life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.


Research on sales figures is difficult to come by, but sources in the publishing world report that behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu, Khalil Gibran is the third most widely read poet in history, having been translated into well over 40 languages.[3] The Prophet is in its 163rd printing and has sold over 100 million copies[4] since its original publication in 1923.[5] The Prophet is consistently in the best selling category (overall) at Amazon.[6] The Prophet is one of the best-selling books of all time.[citation needed]

Of a rather ambitious first printing of 2,000 in 1923, Knopf sold 1,159 copies. The demand for The Prophet doubled the following year — and doubled again the year after that. Since then, annual sales have risen almost at an exponential rate: from 12,000 in 1935 to 111,000 in 1961 to 240,000 in 1965. Worldwide, The Prophet sells more than 5000 copies a week.[7]

Royalties and copyright control

Upon his death, Gibran instructed that the royalties and copyrights to his materials be owned by his hometown, Bsharri, Lebanon.[8] The Gibran National Committee (GNC), located in Bsharri, manages the Gibran Museum. Founded in 1935, the GNC is a non-profit corporation holding the exclusive rights to manage the Lebanese author Khalil Gibran's copyright in and to his literary and artistic works.[9] In 2009, the GNC granted exclusive rights to create a film based on The Prophet to Gibran: The Prophet, LLC, a group located in the United States.

The Garden of The Prophet

Gibran followed The Prophet with The Garden of The Prophet, which was published posthumously in 1933.

The Garden of the Prophet narrates Almustafa's discussions with nine disciples following Almustafa's return after an intervening absence.

Versions and interpretations

  • 1973 – The Profit; Albran's Serial a parody published by Price/Stern/Sloan, California, as written by the fictional Kehlog Albran. It reached fourth printing in 1981.
  • 1974 – The Prophet by Khalil Gibran: A Musical Interpretation featuring Richard Harris. Music composed by Arif Mardin, Atlantic Records
  • 1981 – On Children recorded by Sweet Honey in the Rock, on the Good News LP, Flying Fish Records
  • 2007 – Myriam of Lebanon – A lyrical philosophy of ambiance steadfastly established on Khalil Gibran's The Prophet by rural philosopher-poet Richard Mc Sweeney (Richard of Éire)
  • 2008 – The Prophet was translated to Maltese, Il-Profeta by the Maltese writer Victor Fenech
  • 1995 – Lyricist and vocalist Layne Staley references The Prophet in the first verse of "River of Deceit" – the third track of the album Above by the Seattle super-group Mad Season.
  • 2002 – Electronic and New Age music composer Gandalf and narrator Thomas Klock created an audiobook CD with German version – Der Prophet – layered with music.
  • 2010 – The Propheteer; A book of political satire reimaginging The Prophet as George W. Bush lecturing his cronies on the White House lawn while waiting for his chopper bound for Texas. ISBN 978-1-4502-6057-2


External links

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