Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > "Your Daily Life Is Your Temple And Your Religion”: The Material and Immaterial Availability of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
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Available after 6 July, 2019

This thesis will use the reception history of the book The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, a short, illustrated book of prose poetry first published in 1923, to question the prevailing characterization in American religious history of the sixties as a revolution in an otherwise stagnant religious culture. The Prophet is best known for its popularity in the 1960s, where it acquired a reputation as a “counterculture Bible.” I argue that The Prophet is distinguished not by any special affinity for the counterculture, but by its remarkably consistent level of “availability” to readers over time, in terms both literary and material, as demonstrated by two instances in its publication history: the publication and distribution of an “Armed Services Edition” of The Prophet during World War II; and the widespread selection of excerpts from The Prophet as alternate ritual texts for reading aloud at weddings beginning in the late 1960s and 70s.