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Khalil Gibran was a Lebanese-American writer, poet, visual artist and Lebanese nationalist.

Gibran was born in the town of Bsharri in the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, Ottoman Empire, to Khalil Gibran and Kamila Gibran. As a pre-teen Gibran emigrated with his family to the United States, where he studied art and began his literary career, writing in both English and Arabic. In the Arab world, Gibran is regarded as a literary and political rebel. His romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature, especially prose poetry, breaking away from the classical school. In Lebanon, he is still celebrated as a literary hero.

A member of the New York Pen League, he is chiefly known in the English-speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, an early example of inspirational fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. The book sold well despite a cool critical reception, gaining popularity in the 1930s and again especially in the 1960s counterculture.

Gibran is the third-best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi. The Prophet has been translated into as many as 110 languages His mother, Kamila, daughter of a priest, was thirty when he was born; his father, Khalil, was her third husband. As a result of his family's poverty, Gibran received no formal schooling during his youth in Lebanon. However, priests visited him regularly and taught him about the Bible and the Arabic language.

Gibran's father initially worked in an apothecary, but with gambling debts he was unable to pay, he went to work for a local Ottoman-appointed administrator. Around 1891, extensive complaints by angry subjects led to the administrator being removed and his staff being investigated. Gibran's father was imprisoned for embezzlement, and his family's property was confiscated by the authorities. Kamila Gibran decided to follow her brother to the United States. Although Gibran's father was released in 1894, Kamila remained resolved and left for New York on June 25, 1895, taking Kahlil, his younger sisters Mariana and Sultana, and his elder half-brother Peter.

The Gibrans settled in Boston's South End, at the time the second-largest Syrian-Lebanese-American community in the United States. Due to a mistake at school, he was registered as 'Kahlil Gibran'. His mother began working as a seamstress peddler, selling lace and linens that she carried from door to door. Gibran started school on September 30, 1895. School officials placed him in a special class for immigrants to learn English. Gibran also enrolled in an art school at Denison House, a nearby settlement house. Through his teachers there, he was introduced to the avant-garde Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day, who encouraged and supported Gibran in his creative endeavors. A publisher used some of Gibran's drawings for book covers in 1898.

Gibran's mother, along with his elder brother Peter, wanted him to absorb more of his own heritage rather than just the Western aesthetic culture he was attracted to. Thus, at the age of 15, Gibran returned to his homeland to study at a Maronite-run preparatory school and higher-education institute in Beirut, called "al-Hikma". He started a student literary magazine with a classmate and was elected 'college poet'. He stayed there for several years before returning to Boston in 1902, coming through Ellis Island on May 10. Two weeks before he returned to Boston, his sister Sultana died of tuberculosis at the age of 14. The year after, Peter died of the same disease and his mother died of cancer. His sister Mariana supported Gibran and herself by working at a dressmaker's shop.

Source: wikipedia

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