Ready for a quick random ride through different families and generations? Ending in an awkward attempt at tying it together at the end? Let’s go!
In 1883, Kahlil Gibran was born in Bsharri, Lebanon. He emigrated to Boston 12 years later, in 1895.
Later on, he wrote “The Prophet”, in print since 1923 and translated in more than 100 languages. It is a book of immense poetic and philosophic power. Its 26 fables touch on many aspects of the human condition with great sensibility.
Friendship, love, marriage, time, solitude, you name it, MC Gibran has a moving, wise idea about it.
A teacher at his school noticed his artistic talents. He recommended him to Fred Holland Day, who was mentoring poor immigrants in Boston.
Although Day’s work is contentious, as his subject matter often included young male nudes, he is a renowned American photographer. He was the first to argue for photography to be recognised as fine art.
Fred Holland Day was a descendant of Ralph Day, who was a British early settler and member of the local government of Dedham, Massachusetts.
Ralph Day came to America in around 1630. His day job was to beat the drum to call worshipers to the First Church and Parish in Dedham.
In 1647, Ralph Day married Susan Fairbanks.
Susan Fairbanks was the daughter of Jonathan Fairbanks (born in 1594) who is known to have built one of the oldest surviving wood houses in the United States.
Today Kahlil Gibran is the person we remember most out of all these people.
Yet this backstory makes me wonder: how can we know how much being taught by the artist descendant (Fred Holland Day) of a guy who beat the drum in 17th century America (Ralph Day) influence Kahlil Gibran in his road to poetry? Is this influence quantifiable? Are there some things that can become some kind of intergenerational echoes?