Nikos Kazantzakis , writer and philosopher


Nikos Kazantzakis (biography)












Nikos Kazantzakis


(18 February 1883 – 26 October 1957)


Greek writer and philosopher, celebrated for his novel Zorba the Greek, considered his magnum opus. He became known globally after the 1964 release of the Michael Cacoyannis film Zorba the Greek, based on the novel. He gained renewed fame with the 1988 Martin Scorsese adaptation of his book The Last Temptation of Christ.



He wrote travel books, novels and plays.

His most famous novels include Zorba the Greek (1946,) ,  Christ Recrucified (1948, UK title Christ Recrucified,) ,  Captain Michalis (1950, UK title Freedom and Death ) ,  The Last Temptation of Christ (1951) and Saint Francis (1956, UK title God's Pauper: St. Francis of Assisi) . Report to Greco (1961),  containing both autobiographical and fictional elements, summed up his philosophy as the "Cretan Glance."


The figure of Jesus was ever-present in his thoughts, from his youth to his last years. The Christ of The Last Temptation of Christ shares Katzantzakis' anguished metaphysical and existential concerns, seeking answers to haunting questions and often torn between his sense of duty and mission, on one side, and his own human needs to enjoy life, to love and to be loved, and to have a family. A tragic figure who at the end sacrifices his own human hopes for a wider cause, Kazantzakis' Christ is not an infallible, passionless deity but rather a passionate and emotional human being who has been assigned a mission, with a meaning that he is struggling to understand and that often requires him to face his conscience and his emotions, and ultimately to sacrifice his own life for its fulfilment. He is subject to doubts, fears and even guilt. In the end he is the Son of Man, a man whose internal struggle represents that of humanity.


The Church of Greece condemned Kazantzakis' work. His reply was: "You gave me a curse, Holy fathers, I give you a blessing: may your conscience be as clear as mine and may you be as moral and religious as I" , before the Greek Orthodox Church anathematized him in 1955 . Many cinemas banned the Martin Scorsese film, which was released in 1988 and based on this novel.

  Translations of his books into other European languages did not appear until his old age.

 Hence he found it difficult to earn a living by writing, which led him to write a great deal, including a large number of translations from French, German, and English, and curiosities such as French fiction and Greek primary school texts, mainly because he needed the money. Some of this "popular" writing was nevertheless distinguished, such as his books based on his extensive travels, which appeared in the series "Travelling" which he founded. These books on Greece, Italy, Egypt, Sinai, Cyprus, Spain, Russia, Japan, China, and England were masterpieces of Greek travel literature.




(Konstantina, Magda ,Paulina)



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