Charles Corm

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Charles Corm
CharlesCorm.jpg
Born (1894-03-04)March 4, 1894
Beirut, Lebanon
Died 1963
Beirut, Lebanon
Occupation Writer, businessman and philanthropist
Nationality Lebanese
Notable awards Edgar Allan Poe International Prize of Poetry 1934
Spouse Samia Baroody
Children David, Hiram, Virginie and Madeleine

Charles Corm (1894-1963) was a Lebanese writer, businessman and philanthropist.[1] He is considered to be the leader of the Phoenicianism movement in Lebanon which ignited a surge of nationalism that led to Lebanon's independence.[2][3][4] In a country torn by sectarian conflicts, Corm's intention was to find a common root shared by all Lebanese beyond their religious beliefs. Over the course of his life, Corm received more than 100 international literary and non literary awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe International Poetry Prize 1934, Citizen of Honor of New York City (USA),[5][6] Grand Officer of the National Order of the Cedar (Lebanon), Officer of the French Poets' Society (France), Medal of Honor of the Académie Française in 1950 (France), Grand Officer of the Order of Human Merit (Switzerland), Cross of Academic Honor of the American International Academy (USA) and Grand Officer of the Academic Order (Italy).

Writer[edit]

Although most Lebanese authors at the time wrote in Arabic, Corm mostly wrote in French. One of his main contributions is La Revue Phénicienne, a publication he founded in July 1919 in which many of the most influential Middle East writers of the time took part and which strongly inspired Lebanon's independence.[1][2][7][8] He is considered to be one of the most influential and awarded modern Lebanese writers (along with fellow poet and friend Khalil Gibran) due to his advocacy of Lebanese identity and nationalism.[1][9] His literary work is found in most of the leading public libraries and universities in the world.[10]

Businessman[edit]

Upon graduation and at only 18 years old, Corm travelled to New York City where he secured a meeting with business tycoon Henri Ford, the richest man in the world at that time.[1][11] Subsequent to the meeting, Corm secured the exclusive Ford Motor Company dealership as well as several leading American brands for the entire Middle East region at a time when Ford Motor Company was the only car maker in the world.[1] In 1928 he personally designed[12] Ford Motor Company's Middle East Headquarters (later to be named "The Corm Building") with no formal architectural training. It was built in 1929 in Beirut,[11] later becoming the Corm family home.[12] It was the highest standing structure in Lebanon until 1967.[13] His wealth made, he decided to entirely devote his life to writing and literature on the occasion of his 40th birthday.[1]

Philanthropist[edit]

Corm helped finance several Lebanese state buildings and entities including the Lebanese Parliament, the National Museum, the National Library and other state and cultural landmarks[1] at a time when the nascent Lebanese state lacked funds, freshly independent from its French mandate status. Corm also totally financed the Lebanese pavilion at the 1939 World Fair in New York City. He was honored by New York City Mayor LaGuardia.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Corm was born in 1894 in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of the Lebanese artist Daoud Corm. He graduated from the Oriental Faculty at Saint Joseph University with high honors. In 1934 and at the age of just 40, he left business for a life of literature and philanthropy. In 1935, he married Samia Baroody, who had been Miss Lebanon and took second place in the Miss Universe pageant in New York City in 1934. They had four children: David, Hiram, Virginie and Madeleine.[1] Charles Corm continued to live in Beirut, where he died in 1963.[2] In addition to his literary legacy, he left behind him one of the most substantial fortunes in the region, now globally diversified.[1][14][15]

Works[edit]

  • La Revue Phénicienne
  • La Montagne Inspirée, Edgar Allan Poe International Poetry Prize 1934 | The Sacred Mountain (English translation)
  • 6000 ans de Génie Pacifique au Service de l'Humanité | 6000 Years of Peaceful Contributions to Mankind (English translation)
  • Les Cahiers de l'Enfant
  • Sonnets Adolescents
  • Contes Erotiques
  • La Montagne Parfumée
  • L'Eternel Féminin
  • Médaillons en Musique de l'Ame Libanaise
  • Petite Cosmogonie Sentimentale
  • La Planète Exaltée
  • Le Mystère de l'Amour
  • La Symphonie de la Lumière

References[edit]