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Prophet Pocket Edition Hardcover – 1972
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First published in the 1920s, this book attempts to provide the reader with a guide to living. Gibran lets his protagonist, called simply the prophet, deliver homilies on a variety of topics central to daily life: love marriage and children, work and play, possessions, beauty, truth, joy and sorrow and death.
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This quotation from the classic book by Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, illustrates why these writings have been popular for so long. This reviewer remembers getting his first copy of the book in Boston during the early 1950's, when it was widely circulated among college students at the time, as well as young adults who were starting out in that decade. It had a fresh take on the institutions of life, and offered that generation a sense of breaking away from convention without being particularly radical. It was a way to be non-conforming, without departing too far from traditional values. This may explain why it surged in popularity in the 1960s, when the generation coming of age at that time had a new kind of permission to break away, yet have a sense of a valid value system at the same time. To read and talk about The Prophet became a quite "cool" thing to do. Gibran's work had been around for a long time, but it is the type of literature that has a way of being rediscovered as each new generation comes along. This is at least partially why it retains its popularity over so many years.
The underlying theme of his discussions is unity. We are intimately connected to others – through our love, through work, through acts of giving, and through our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Even the things that seem to be opposites, like joy and sorrow, or life and death, are the integral parts of the great Whole. When you grow in awareness of that fundamental connection, life opens to you its secrets, and you discover new levels of meaning.
Whether you agree with the validity of those concepts, you will surely appreciate the beautiful poetic language in which they are expressed. This book is a true masterpiece.
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