Mikhail Naimy: Sab‘un (Seventy) An Autobiography
This autobiography by Mikhail Naimy traces his life journey and divides it into three stages: 1. From childhood until the end of his studies in Russia (1889 – 1911) 2. From the beginning of his travel to the United States until his departure from there (1911 – 1932) 3. From his return (to Lebanon) until 1959 (1932 – 1959).Naimy is one of the most enduring and influential members of al-Rabita al-Qalamiya, which reset the course of Modern Arabic Literature and liberated it from the chains of fossilization and centuries of decayed traditions and failed norms. Along with Gibran and Ameen al-Rihani, Mikhail Naimy stands tall as the third pillar of the renaissance which was responsible for the revitalization and modernization of Arabic language and literature. In addition to his pioneering role as a poet, essayist, critic, storyteller, and spiritual leader, Naimy was the thundering voice of the Pen-Bond Association. He was its apologist, defender, and the author of its “Charter and bylaws.” Furthermore, he was the historian and the biographer of al-Rabita in particular, and the Lebanese-Syrian immigrant community in Diaspora in general. Without his valuable input and chronicles, a precious history of that unique movement in North America, precisely in New York City, would have remained unknown. Consequently, no serious study of al-Rabita’s contributions and influences on modern Arabic literature can be achieved without referencing Naimy’s autobiography which places this movement in its proper historical context.