One of us

The New Yorker published a profile of Kahlil Gibran. Turns out he’s one of us:

He had another difficulty: alcoholism, a situation that may have developed soon after “The Prophet” was published, or while he was writing it. Robin Waterfield thinks that Gibran’s basic problem may have been a feeling of hypocrisy, in that his life so contradicted his pose as a holy man. In his last years, he stayed closed up in his apartment, occasionally receiving a worthy visitor but mostly drinking arak, a Syrian liquor that Marianna sent to him, apparently by the gallon. By the spring of 1931, he was bedridden, and one morning the woman who brought him his breakfast decided that his condition was dangerous. Gibran was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he died later that day. The cause of death was recorded as “cirrhosis of the liver with incipient tuberculosis.” Waterfield reports that Gibran’s admirers have greatly stressed the tuberculosis over the cirrhosis. “Nothing incipient kills people,” he objects. His speculation seems to be that Gibran drank himself to death out of a sense of fraudulence and failure.

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