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The Madman: His Parables and Poems Paperback – December 3, 2001
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It seems a collection of his colder, more depressive works - to say "my joy died of isolation" indicates the vibe of the work as a sum. `The Madman' appears to seek not to be understood but to have others understand `the nothingness' behind all things, the unapproachable "I" that's enslaved if it were claimed to be understood and the facets of "self" that compose a body that become understood, trapping but none the less a mere part of `the nothingness'.
While not as outstanding as `The Prophet' in my opinion, still an excellent work in its own regard.
The Madman is a collection of 35 short moral stories and poetry that tell the tale of an individual who had all his self-imposed illusions and artificial faces stripped from him, leaving him just with the truth of his life, his observations and his surroundings. It shows the irony of sanity and it's status as a social construct.
This book is very short (only around 71 pages, depending on your edition) and can be read very quickly. This is useful, because I've found I wanted to read it several times over. It's especially great for plane rides or any other situation in which you might find yourself harried or stressed with things beyond your control.
THE MADMAN was first published in 1918. Although written nearly 100 years ago, it remains timely. In addition, it was Gibran's first published verse. It went out of print several years ago, but has recently been made available. This book of verse is a real treasure. Of all Gilbran's writing, THE MADMAN is my favorite. In fact, I like it more than THE PROPHET. I found it thoughtful, insightful and most importantly self reflecting.