Kazantzakis, Volume 1
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Kazantzakis, Volume 1 : Politics of the Spirit

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"No author who lives in Greece," writes Peter Bien, "can avoid politics." This first volume of his major intellectual biography of Nikos Kazantzakis approaches the distinguished--and controversial--writer by describing his struggle with political questions that were in reality aspects of a fervent religious search. Beginning with Kazantzakis's early career in fin-de-siecle Paris and his discovery of William James, Nietzsche, and Bergson, the book continues by describing his experiments with communism in turbulent Greece, his visits to Soviet Russia, and the publication of his epic Odyssey in 1938. Bien demonstrates that politics and religion cannot be separated in Kazantzakis's development. His major concern was personal salvation, but the method he employed to win that salvation was political engagement. Did deliverance lie in nationalism? Communism? Fascism? He eventually rejected each of these possible solutions as morally appalling. Abused by both left and right, he insisted on an "eschatological politics" of spiritual fulfillment.
This compelling biography will be essential reading for Kazantzakis scholars and for a wide audience of those who already admire the Greek author's work. In addition, it will provide an introduction to the first three decades of Kazantzakis's career for those who have yet to enjoy such passionate and stirring novels as Zorba the Greek, The Greek Passion, and The Last Temptation of Christ. This first volume provides an introduction to the initial three decades of Kazantzakis's career for those who have enjoyed such vibrant and stirring novels as Zorba the Greek, The Greek Passion, and The Last Temptation of Christ.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 344 pages
  • 152 x 235 x 21.84mm | 510g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 0691128804
  • 9780691128801
  • 872,388

Table of contents

*Frontmatter, pg. i*Contents, pg. v*Preface to the paperback edition, pg. vii*Preface, pg. ix*A note on documentation and transliteration, pg. xiii*List of works, pg. xv*Chronology, pg. xix*Chapter One. Why Kazantzakis is not a political writer, pg. 1*Chapter Two. Philosophical studies in Paris, pg. 23*Chapter Three. Development of Kazantzakis's (meta-)communism, pg. 55*Chapter Four. The Iraklion incident and the Odyssey's first draft, pg. 79*Chapter Five. Russia, pg. 99*Chapter Six. Toda-Raba and the waning of Kazantzakis's communism, pg. 157*Chapter Seven. Aesthetic freedom, pg. 185*Chapter Eight. Odyssey, pg. 191*Notes, pg. 241*References, pg. 287*Index, pg. 311
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Review quote

"Bien is arguably the best, and beyond a doubt most learned, exponent of modern Greek literature writing in English today."--Peter Green, New Republic "Splendidly produced, properly documented, with a rich international bibliography and an index of names and titles plus a detailed chronology, Kazantzakis: Politics of the Spirit vindicates the claim made in its title and impresses scholars and admirers of the phenomenon called Nikos Kazantzakis."--M. Byron Raizis, World Literature Today
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About Peter Bien

Peter Bien is Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. "Kazantzakis: Politics of the Spirit, Volume 2" is published in hardcover by Princeton. Bien has translated Kazantzakis's novels "The Last Temptation of Christ, Saint Francis," and "Report to Greco" into English, and is the author of "Kazantzakis" and the "Linguistic Revolution in Greek Literature" (Princeton).
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Rating details

22 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
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