Mikha'il Na'ima

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Mīḫāˀīl Nuˁayma
BornOctober 17th, 1889
Baskinta, Metn, Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate
DiedFebruary 28, 1988
Beirut, Lebanon
Literary movementMahjar, New York Pen League
Notable worksBook of Mirdad (1948, trans. 1962)

Mīḫāˀīl Nuˁayma (also spelled Mikhail Naimy; Arabic: ميخائيل نعيمة) (Baskinta, Lebanon 1889- Beirut, 1988) was a Lebanese author famous for his spiritual writings, notably "The Book of Mirdad". He is widely recognized as one of the most important figures in modern Arabic letters and one of the most important spiritual writers of the 20th century.

A poet, novelist and philosopher, Naimy co-founded, along with Kahlil Gibran and others, the New York literary society known as the Pen League


Na'ima completed his secondary education in the Baskinta school, studied at the Russian Teachers' Institute in Nazareth and the Theological Seminary in Poltava, Ukraine. He moved to the United States where he received degrees in Law and Liberal Arts at the University of Washington and began his writing career in Walla Walla, Washington in 1919.

After graduation he moved to New York, where along with Kahlil Gibran and eight other writers he formed a movement for the rebirth of Arabic literature, the New York Pen League. He was the Vice President and Gibran was President. In 1932, having lived in the States for 21 years, he returned to Baskinta, where he lived for the rest of his life. He died of pneumonia at the age of 98 on February 28, 1988 in Beirut.

The mystic Osho had this to say about The Book of Mirdad: "There are millions of books in the world but The Book of Mirdad stands out far above any book in existence".

Selected works[edit]

  • A'hadith ma al Sihafah أحاديث مع الصحافة
  • A'kabar أكابر
  • Ab'ad Min Moscow.. ابعد من موسكو و من واشنطن
  • Aba' wa al Bnun الآباء والبنون
  • Abu Bata أبو بطة

Critical essays on Na'ima[edit]

(from the MLA database, March 2008)

  1. Abbe, Susan. "Word Length Distribution in Arabic Letters." Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 2000 Aug; 7 (2): 121-27.
  2. Bell, Gregory J. Theosophy, Romanticism and Love in the Poetry of Mikhail Naimy. Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2002 May; 62 (11): 3804. U of Pennsylvania, 2001.
  3. Poeti arabi a New York. Il circolo di Gibran, introduzione e traduzione di F. Medici, prefazione di A. Salem, Palomar, Bari 2009.
  4. Boullata, Issa J. "Mikhail Naimy: Poet of Meditative Vision." Journal of Arabic Literature 1993 July; 24 (2): 173-84.
  5. El-Barouki, Foazi. "How Arab Émigré Writers in America Kept Their Cultural Roots." Dialog on Language Instruction 1997; 12 (1-2): 31-36.
  6. Najjar, Nada. "Mikhael Naimy (1889-1988)." Aljadid: A Review & Record of Arab Culture and Arts 2000 Summer; 6 (32): 27.
  7. Nijland, Cornelis. "Religious Motifs and Themes in North American Mahjar Poetry." Representations of the Divine in Arabic Poetry. Ed. Gert Borg and Ed De Moor. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi; 2001. pp. 161–81

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