Nikos Kazantzakis – Νίκος Καζαντζάκης 1883-1957.
[Vios kai politeia tou Alexe Zorba- Βίος και Πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά ] Translated by Carl Wildman.

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Zorba the Greek is a novel written by the Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis, first published in 1946. It is the tale of a young Greek intellectual who ventures to escape his bookish life with the aid of the boisterous and mysterious Alexis Zorba. The novel was adapted into a successful 1964 film of the same name as well as a 1968 musical, Zorba.


Nikos Kazantzakis
(1983 – 1957)

One of the most important Greek writers, poets and philosophers of the 20th century, was born in Iraklion in 1883. In 1906 he graduated from the Athens Law School and continued his studies in Paris (1907-1909). During the Balkan Wars he fought as a volunteer in the Greek Army. After the Wars he travelled to many European and Asian countries, publishing travelogues from his trips (Spain, Egypt-Sina, China-Japan, What I saw in Russia, England etc.).

Kazantzakis, much more of a philosopher than a writer, was deeply influenced by the writings of Nietzsche and Bergson, and the philosophies of Christianity, Marxism and Buddhism.
In his work, he attempted to synthesize these different world views.
In 1927 he published the book “Askitiki”, the main work of his philosophy. In 1938, after constantly revising it for 13 years (1925-1938), he publishes his epic poet Odyssey: A modern sequel, continuing Ulysses’s story form the point where Homer leaves off. This huge poetical work comprises of 33.333 verses.
He became famous, however, during the last years of his life, when he turn to pezography. During that time he published, among others, Zorba the Greek (Vios kai politeia tou Alexi Zorba), The Last Temptation of Christ (O teleftaios peirasmos), Freedom and Death (O Kapetan Mihalis), The Greek Passion (O Hristos ksanastavronetai : Christ is Recrucified ), and his autobiography Report to Greco (Anafora ston Greco). His book, The Last Temptation of Christ, was considered quite controversial when first published in 1955, and prompted angry reactions from both the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

In 28th of June 1956, in Vienna, he was awarded the International Peace Award.
He died in 1957 in Germany and is buried on one of the bastions of the Venetian fort surrounding Iraklion, Martinengo.

In the Historical Museum of Crete there is a room devoted to Nikos Kazantzakis. His desk, library, some of his personal belongings as well as manuscripts of many of his works are displayed.

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