On October 26, 1957, there was a resounding literary absence in Greece. The great writer, poet and dramatist Nikos Kazantzakis had passed away. But his work and thoughts were left behind, confirming his prominent position in the world of literature.

The life and early literary legacy of Nikos Kazantzakis

Nikos Kazantzakis was born in Heraklion, Crete on February 18, 1883. From an early age, he showed particular zeal for theoretical studies and successfully completed his student obligations both in Crete and in Naxos.

In 1902, Kazantzakis went to Athens to study law. There, another love of his develops, that of literature. Just four years later, he publishes under the pseudonym Karma Nirvami the novel “Office and Lily”, the first official sample of his writing.

A little later, of course, Nikos Kazantzakis discovers another passion of his, traveling. He does his master’s degree in Paris, goes to Mount Athos with his closest friend Angelos Sikelianos, then travels around Europe and finally, just before he dies, he arrives in Japan.

Of all these journeys, however, one will raise him to the highest pedestal of literature. In 1917, the until then translator Nikos Kazantzakis will try to spread his wings in the business world and will collaborate with the worker Giorgis Zorbas, in the operation of a lignite mine in Mani.

These experiences of his may have been unsuccessful, but they led to the creation of one of the most famous and widely translated works of literature, the novel “Bios and Politics of Alexis Zorba”.

In 1919, Eleftherios Venizelos appointed Kazantzakis General Director of the Ministry of Welfare with the task of repatriating Greeks from the Caucasus region. The author’s experiences from this period will be transfigured a little later in one of his more well-known novels, “Christ is Crucified Again”.

He stays at the Ministry for a year, and in 1920 he continues his travels. In Vienna he knows and is seduced by the world of Freud, while in Berlin he comes into contact with the communist ideals of Lenin.

Read more at monopoli.gr