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Biography[ edit ] Kazantzakis in When Kazantzakis was born in in Kandiye , now Heraklion, Crete had not yet joined the modern Greek state which had been established in , and was still under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Then he went to the Sorbonne in to study philosophy. There he fell under the influence of Henri Bergson. In he met Angelos Sikelianos. Together they travelled for two years in places where Greek Orthodox Christian culture flourished, largely influenced by the enthusiastic nationalism of Sikelianos. Kazantzakis married Galatea Alexiou in ; they divorced in He married Eleni Samiou in Between and his death in , he sojourned in Paris and Berlin from to , Italy, Russia in , Spain in , and then later in Cyprus , Aegina , Egypt, Mount Sinai , Czechoslovakia , Nice he later bought a villa in nearby Antibes , in the Old Town section near the famed seawall , China, and Japan.

While in Berlin, where the political situation was explosive, Kazantzakis discovered communism and became an admirer of Vladimir Lenin. He never became a committed communist, but visited the Soviet Union and stayed with the Left Opposition politician and writer Victor Serge. He witnessed the rise of Joseph Stalin , and became disillusioned with Soviet-style communism. Around this time, his earlier nationalist beliefs were gradually replaced by a more universalist ideology.

His image is on the obverse of the coin, while the reverse carries the National Emblem of Greece with his signature. Death[ edit ] Epitaph on the grave of Kazantzakis in Heraklion. It reads "I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free. In , he became the leader of a small party on the non-communist left, and entered the Greek government as Minister without Portfolio.

He resigned this post the following year. In , he lost the Prize to Albert Camus by one vote. Camus later said that Kazantzakis deserved the honour "a hundred times more" than himself. Falling ill on his return flight, he was transferred to Freiburg , Germany, where he died. He is buried on the wall surrounding the city of Heraklion near the Chania Gate, looking out over the mountains and sea of Crete.

His epitaph reads "I hope for nothing. In Kazantzakis went to Paris for his graduate studies and was deeply influenced by the philosophy of Henry Bergson , primarily the idea that a true understanding of the world comes from the combination of intuition, personal experience, and rational thought. Later, in , he wrote a one-act play titled Comedy, which was filled with existential themes, predating the post-World War II existentialist movement in Europe spearheaded by writers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Camus.

Medallion honoring Kazantzakis in the Venetian loggia of Heraklion Through the next several decades, from the s through the s, Kazantzakis traveled around Greece, much of Europe, northern Africa, and to several countries in Asia. These journeys put Kazantzakis in contact with different philosophies, ideologies, lifestyles, and people, all of which influenced him and his writings.

While he continued to travel later in life, the bulk of his travel writing came from this time period. Kazantzakis began writing The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel in , and completed it in after fourteen years of writing and revision. Scholar Peter Bein argues that each story explores different aspects of post-World War II Greek culture such as religion, nationalism, political beliefs, the Greek Civil War , gender roles, immigration, and general cultural practices and beliefs.

The use of Demotic, among writers, gradually started to gain the upper hand only in the turn of the 20th century, under the influence of the New Athenian School or Palamian. In his letters to friends and correspondents, Kazantzakis wrote that he chose to write in Demotic Greek to capture the spirit of the people, and to make his writing resonate with the common Greek citizen.

Or, in his own words, "Why not show off all the possibilities of demotic Greek? Kazantzakis scholar Peter Bein argues that the metaphors and language Kazantzakis used were taken directly from the peasants he encountered when traveling Greece. The right waged war against his books and called him "immoral" and a "Bolshevik troublemaker" and accused him of being a "Russian agent". Religious beliefs and relationship with the Greek Orthodox Church[ edit ] While Kazantzakis was deeply spiritual, he often discussed his struggle with religious faith, specifically his Greek Orthodoxy.

As a young man he took a month long trip to Mount Athos , a major spiritual center for Greek Orthodoxy. Most critics and scholars of Kazantzakis agree that the struggle to find truth in religion and spirituality was central to a great deal of his works, and that some novels, like The Last Temptation of Christ and Christ Recrucified focus completely on questioning Christian morals and values. While the excommunication was rejected by the top leadership of the Orthodox Church, it became emblematic of the persistent disapprobation from many Christian authorities for his political and religious views.

Modern scholarship tends to dismiss the idea that Kazantzakis was being sacrilegious or blasphemous with the content of his novels and beliefs. Japan, China, translated by George C. Journey to Morea, translated by F. Russia, translated by A. Maskaleris and M. Antonakis, Creative Arts Books Co, The Last Temptation , translated by Peter A. Saint Francis, translated by Peter A. At the Palaces of Knossos.

Adapted from the draft typewritten manuscript. Delopoulos, Athens: Kathimerini Publications , Julian the Apostate: First staged in Paris, Edition limited to copies. From Odysseus, A Drama, partial translation by M. Report to Greco, translated by Peter A. Casdaglis, Athens: National Bank of Greece , Dallas, " Greek Heritage " 1, No. The Homeric G. Hymn Allegorical , translated by M. Byron Raizis, "Spirit" 37, No.


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