The Pen League – الرابطة القلمية

13 01 2021







The Pen League - الرابطة القلمية dans Littérature 201211081523976447








The literary scene of the North American Mahjar is dominated by one group of writers and poets who became known as al-Râbița al-Qalamîya (The Pen League). This League came out into the open in 1920 after its members had already been closely working together since 1911. It counted ten working members such as Ameen Rihany, who wrote the first English-language Arab American novel, The Book of Khalid (1911), which traces the journey of an immigrant from Lebanon to the United States and back home again. But three of whom (ten working members) produced a substantial literary œuvre. They are: Gibrân Khalîl Gibrân (1883-1931), Mîkhâ’îl Nu’ayma (1889-1988) and îlîya Abû Mâdî (1890-1957).


The most productive poet was Ilîya Abû Mâdî who produced five volumes of poetry, the first of which appeared in Egypt in 1911, followed in 1919 by Dîwân Îlîya Abî Mâdî, al-juz’u al-thânî (The Diwan of Iliya Abu Madi, second part) and by the volumes al-Jadâwil (the brooks), 1927, al-Khamâ’il (the thickes), 1940 and Tibr wa-turâb (golddust and dust) posthumously published in Beirut in 1960.


Mikhâ’îl Nu’ayma published one volume of poetry, Hams al-Jufûn (Eyelids whispering), Beirut, 1943, which comprises all his poems written between 1912 and 1931.


Gibran came to the United States at age of 12, he began his career as a writer with prose poems which he published under the collective title Dam’a wa ibtisâma (A tear and a smile) in the journal Al-Muhâjir (The Emigrant), from 1903 until 1908. They were republished in one volume with the same title in New York in 1914. Gibran also composed other forms of poetry instances of which can be found in the journal al-Sâ’ih (the Traveller) in New York in the year 1916 and 1917, and he composed one long poem al-Mawâkib (The Procession), published in 1919. In 1923, he wrote and illustrated The Prophet, a book of mystical poetry, in English, and shortly thereafter, he became a celebrated writer. The Prophet, in print continuously since its publication in 1923, has sold more than 9.5 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages.


The members of The Pen League, who traveled between Lebanon and the United States, wrote in English as well as Arabic, often consciously tryging to bridge cultures and positing the United States as a land of opportunity and freedom.























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