Born 1895 in Damascus; died there July 21, 1959. Syrian Arabic poet, literary scholar, and state figure.
Khalil Mardam graduated from the University of London in 1929. He became a member of the Arab Academy of Damascus in 1925 and served as its president from 1953 to 1959. He was also elected to the Academy of the Arabic Language in Cairo in 1948 and the Iraq Academy in 1949. In 1958 he was made a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He served as minister of education (1948) and foreign affairs (1953) in the Syrian government.
Khalil Mardam made a major contribution to the development of Syrian literary scholarship. He was one of the founders of al-Rabitah al-Adabiyah (the Literary Society, 1921) and the journal of the same name (Damascus, 1929) and of the literary journal Al-Thaqafah (Culture, 1933). He wrote the monographs Poets of Syria (vols. 1–3, 1954) and A History of Arabic Literature (vols. 1–5, 1955). He edited and wrote commentaries for the complete works of such medieval Arab poets as Ibn Hayyus, Ibn Unayn, and Ali ibn al-Jahma al-Sami.
Strong nationalist motifs are evident in Khalil Mardam’s poems and verse dramas, which call for Arab unity. A divan of his verse was published posthumously (1960).
REFERENCESBrockelmann, C. Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, supplementary vol. 3. Leiden, 1939. Pages 356–57.
Khalid, M. T. al-. Khalil Mardam Bey der Dichter und sein Diwan. Cologne, 1973.
Zaki al-Muhathini. “Khalil Mardam-bek.” Al-Maqalla, October 1959, pp. 24–26.