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Nature Sao Tome and Principe
*** Madman's thoughts ***
Jun 23, 2009 11:19 PM 6644 Views



The Madman – is the first published book by Kahlil Gibran. Like any other first timers, we can see an amateur writer in Kahlil in this book but with seeds of his fine thoughts.

The book, ‘The Madman His Parables and Poems’ is a collection of prose, and a bit of poetry. When we talk about prose and poetry, from my experience on reading Kahlil so far, he is strong – in fact very strong – where he try to explain his views by poetry, where quite weak in prose. The prose in part may feel appealing to the readers not based on the writing style or skill, but the power of the message. However, when it comes to poetry, Kahlil gives a double punch with his excellent writing style. Sadly, Madman is not much of poetry, but prose. No need to say that the book is only to read for its message, not for the reading experience one feel from ‘The Prophet’ or ‘Sand And Foam’.

For one who swims in the river of Kahlil, we will encounter with a similar story of a person who tells the truth will be called as ‘Madman’. The Madman is telling something which is against our beliefs, understandings or knowledge. A rebellion is visible. At the same time the writer looks not free to say what he feel right at that moment. For this reason, the messages and the arrows are thrown at dark, but with a good aim. The thoughts of Kahlil the Prophet and Kahlil the Madman just go on the opposite direction. If the Prophet covered the message with love and compassion, the Madman did it with lot of wandering and rebellion.

If Kahlil is indebted heavily to ‘Tagore’ for ‘The Prophet’, here the ‘inspiration’ is from various old stories which have been circulating for many centuries. I can see the modified version of ‘The naked king’, and ‘the Hariharaputhra’, the drama staged in the ancient Indian theater. The ‘Panchathanthra’ style stories too changed to convey different messages.

This is a small book of just 35 or so parables/messages. Out of this, the last parable, ‘The Perfect World’ is the best. “Said A Blade of Grass”, “The Three Ants”, “The Seven Slaves” and the first one (Madman?) are excellent. The story on ‘God’, ‘On Giving and Taking’, ‘The Wise King’, ‘The blessed city’ & ‘The great longing’ are the ones I felt unwanted. All others were simply average.

It is my personal opinion that once an author succeeds with a Mega hit release like ‘The Prophet’, the earlier works like ‘Madman’ should have been stopped printing. This is not because the book doesn’t have some wisdom, but it no way match to the expectation one have from the author. Also the initial works before the author himself come to a matured philosophy may contradict the final works which is not good for the author’s name or for the readers. Also it is only a fact that the fine messages from the book is been repeated by the author himself in his later books with a better presentation to make the first work irrelevant.

I am a bit disappointed with this book. The Madman didn’t turn me as a Madman, but I can almost see that the mountain of fire in the madman peeling the unsorted selves and searching for a deep sea and regretfully the journey was not competent but a Mad run. Thumps down!

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Madman : His Parables and Poems, The - Kahlil Gibran