Archival Collections

Jawdat Haydar

Collection code: CAL2014/4
Collection title: Jawdat Haydar Archives Collection

Biographical note

Jawdat Haydar, a humanist poet, was born in 1905 in Baalbeck. Jawdat Haydar is one of the few Lebanese authors to have published poems in Arabic and English.

Living for101 years, Hayda was witness to more than one century of history. He relentlessly denounced injustice, violence, and discrimination. He advocated freedom with ardent patriotism. In 1914, his father and brothers were exiled to Turkey. At the age of 9, he was separated from his mother due to typhus, and had to undertake a long and perilous journey to rejoin his family. It was a painful experience that would have a significant influence on the formation of his personality.

At the end of the Great War, he returned with his family to Lebanon where he completed his studies at AUB. In 1923, he studied in France, and then at the University of North Texas State in the United States where he obtained his diplomas in agriculture and pedagogy. Back in Lebanon, he began teaching in Aley and Nablus. Then, for 27 years, he held the position of General Director of Iraq Petroleum Company before resigning in 1965 to devote himself definitively to poetry, cultural activities and agriculture in his hometown of Baalbeck where he founded the "Literary Oasis" (Wahat al-adab), a meeting place for the poets of the Bekaa.

Jawdat Haydar witnessed the upheavals of the 20th century in Lebanon and the Arab world, including the Ottoman despotism, the mandate, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Lebanese war).

He published four books in English: Voices (1986), Echoes (1998), Shadows (1999) and 101 selected Poems, published in New York in 2006, the year of his death, as well as an autobiography, The journey of a Life, published in Arabic in 2002), which received several honors and awards.

As soon as Voices came out, Haydar was associated with the emigration poets (Al-Mahjar) like Gibran Khalil Gibran, Mikhail Naïmeh, and Amin Rihani, not only because of his use of the English language but also because of the themes he addressed: nostalgia for the motherland and the past, and the love of nature, among others. Through his poems, he expresses his bitterness and seems to seek his identity that is torn between East and West.

Collection description

Currently, this collection of handwritten documents contains:
  • Papers: writings, poems, texts, correspondence, and speeches
  • Notebooks: poems, texts, personal notes

Type

Literary

Material importance

The archive of humanist poet Jawdat Haydar is a rich and voluminous literary archive. This archive makes it possible to retrace the life of Jawdat Haydar in all his literary activities. Thanks to his archives, literary contests and symposia are organized around his work in schools and universities, in Lebanon and abroad, especially because Jawdat Haydar was one of the few Lebanese authors who published poems in Arabic and English.

Languages used

Arabic, English.

Dates range

1965 - 2006
Phoenix Center for Lebanese Studies
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