Kahlil Gibran, 1883 - 1931

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Born: 6 January 1883, Bsharri, Ottoman Syria (now Lebanon)
Died: 10 April 1931, New York City

Gibran Khalil Gibran bin Mikha'il bin Sa'ad was born in Christian Maronite community, his mother Kamila was the daughter of a Maronite priest. His father worked for an Ottoman administrator (read "warlord"), when the administrator was forced from power his staff was investigated and Gibran's father jailed on embezzlement charges. Although he was released in 1894, Kamila and her children moved to Boston the next year. Along with public school he enrolled in art classes, his drawings were published as early as 1898. To better understand his Lebanese roots he attended prep school at Beirut, returning in 1902. In 1908 he went to Paris and spent two years studying with Auguste Rodin. In 1912 he moved to New York and worked on both his painting and writing, predominantly in Arabic. Starting in 1918 with The Madman he wrote almost exclusively in English, in the Anglophone world he is best known for The Prophet (1923). In 1930 he developed cirrhosis of the liver, which he apparently compounded by drinking heavily to relieve the pain. His sister bought a monastery in his home village and buried Gibran there, the facility is now the Gibran Museum. His will gave his publishing royalties to his home village.

Note: Although a strict transliteration of his given name is Khalil, it was recorded as Kahlil when he entered school at Boston and he consistenly used that spelling in English.

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