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Nikos Kazantzakis


Nikos Kazantzakis was born in Megalokastro (now Heraklion, Crete) in 1883, when under Turkish rule. His father was a farmer. The family moved to Naxos when Kazantzakis was a teenager and he attended a Franciscan school where he learned French and Italian. He then took a law degree at the University of Athens and moved to France, where he studied under Henri Bergson. He wrote a dissertation on Nietzsche and started to translate and to produce his own works, including his first novel. In 1919, he was appointed director general in the Ministry of Welfare, working to repatriate Greeks from the Caucasus. At this time he became more of a Marxist and travelled several times to the Soviet Union as well as elsewhere. At this time he was working on his updated version of the Odyssey, which he and many critics consider his most important work. At this time he moved to Aegina. In 1946 he published Βιος και Πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά (Zorba the Greek) , which had considerable critical success and brought him world-wide success when the film was released. He moved to Antibes in 1948 and continued to produce a large amount of work. After a trip to China and Japan, he caught an infection and died from Asian flu in 1957. He had just lost the Nobel Prize to Albert Camus by one vote.

Kazantzakis attracts decidedly mixed reviews. He is read by many educated readers, though critics have condemned his simplistic style. His writings have a philosophical backing but, at the same time, can often seem trivial or too earthy. Some Greeks have praised him for representing the Greek spirit, while other Greeks have said that he distorts that very spirit. However, there is no doubt that he remains the best-known Modern Greek author.

Books about Nikos Kazantzakis

Helen Kazantzakis: Nikos Kazantzakis: A Biography Based on his Letters

Other links

Nikos Kazantzakis
Nikos Kazantzakis
Nikos Kazantzakis
Nikos Kazantzakis
The Nikos Kazantzakis Files
Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957)
Always Thirsty
Who Is Nikos Kazantzakis?
His grave


1906 Όφις και Κρίνο (Serpent and Lily) (novel)
1909 Κωμωδία. Τραγωδία μονόπρακτη (Comedy, A Tragedy in One Act) (drama)
1909 Ο Φρειδερίκος Νίτσε (Friedrich Nietzsche on the Philosophy of Right and the State) (philosophy)
1927 Ασκητική (The Saviors of God. Spiritual Exercises) (philosophy)
1928 Τι είδα στη Ρουσία (από τα ταξίδια μου) (Russia. A Chronicle of Three Journeys in the Aftermath of the Revolution) (travel)
1934 Toda-Raba: Moscou a Crié (Toda-Raba) (originally written in French) (novel)
1937 Ταξιδεύοντας Α′. Ισπανία (Spain) (travel)
1938 Ταξιδεύοντας B′. Ιαπωνία & Κίνα (Travels in China and Japan) (travel)
1938 Οδύσσεια (The Odyssey. A Modern Sequel) (poetry)
1939 Le Jardin des rochers (The Rock Garden) (originally written in French and first published in Dutch translation) (novel)
1941 Ταξιδεύοντας Γ′.Αγγλία (England. A Travel Journal) (travel)
1946 Βιος και Πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά (Zorba the Greek) (novel)
1953 Καπετάν Μιχάληλης (UK: Freedom and Death; US: Freedom or Death) (novel)
1954 Ο Χριστός Ξανασταυρώνεται (UK: Christ Recrucified; US: The Greek Passion) (novel)
1955 Ο Τελευταίος Πειρασμός (UK: The Last Temptation; US: The Last Temptation of Christ) (novel)
1955 Κούδας ή Θησέας (Kouros) (drama)
1955 Μέλισσα (Melissa) (drama)
1956 Ο Φτωχούλης του Θεού (UK: God’s Pauper: St. Francis of Assisi; US: Saint Francis) (novel)
1956 Βούδας (Buddha) (drama)
1956 Σόδομα και Γόμορρα (Sodom and Gomorrah) (drama)
1956 Χριστόφορος Κολόμβος (Christopher Colombus) (drama)
1961 Αναφορά στον Γκρέκο (Report to Greco) (autobiography)
1961 Ταξιδεύοντας (Ιταλία, Αίγυπτος, Σίνα, Ιερούσαλήμ, Κύπρος, ο Μορίας) (Journeying: Travels in Italy, Egypt, Sinai, Jerusalem) (Note that parts of this work appeared in Journey to the Morea and Travels in Greece) (travels)
1963 Οι αδερφοφάδες (The Fratricides) (novel)
1971 Συμπόσιον (Symposium) (novel)
1978 Μέγας Αλέξανδρος (Alexander the Great) (children’s – first published in a magazine in 1940-41)
1981 Στα παλάτιατης Κνωσού (At the Palaces of Knossos) (children’s)