Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nikos Kazantzakis and the Politics of the Spirit

 "Gradually I began to understand that it does not matter very much what problem, whether big or small, is tormenting us; the only thing that matters is that we be tormented, that we find a ground for being tormented. In other words that we exercise our minds in order to keep certainty from turning us into idiots, that we fight to open every closed door we find in front of us".
Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco 
 On my fortnightly pilgrimage to scour the shelves of the Reid Library at the University of Western Australia I found the second volume of the biography of the Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis by Peter Bien ( Kazantzakis: Politics of the Spirit, 2007). 

Kazantzakis is best known for his 1946 book Zorba The Greek (made into a famous film starring Anthony Quinn) and the Last Temptation of Christ, published in 1960 (which was made into a controversial film by Martin Scorsese)

In my 30's I read everything that Kazantzakis wrote and was deeply affected by his work. Bien's mammoth work, which totals over 600 pages, is the second volume of his biography of Kazantzakis's (the first volume  was published in 1989).

I look forward to re-engaging with the remarkable life and work of Nikos Kazantzakis.

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