Kazantzakis Politics of the Spirit

ISBN-10: 0691128804

ISBN-13: 9780691128801

Edition: 1990

Authors: Peter Bien

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Description:

"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 sicle 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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Book details

List price: $38.95
Copyright year: 1990
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 1/22/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 344
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

Preface to the paperback edition
Preface
A note on documentation and transliteration
List of works
Chronology
Why Kazantzakis is not a Political Writer
Politics or metapolitics?
The essential; the adventitious; continuity
Nationalism equals purposeless heroism
The kravyi: A metapolitical "right act"
Philosophical Studies in Paris
William James
Friedrich Nietzsche
Henri Bergson
Development of Kazantzakis's (Meta-) Communism
The Asia Minor disaster as the stimulus for Kazantzakis's idiosyncratic communism
Vienna: Political yearnings versus Buddhism
Berlin: Bookish and other influences; educational reform
Askitiki
The Iraklion Incident and the Odyssey's First Draft
Italy: Buddha, Saint Francis
Iraklion: Praxis
Iraklion: Art
Russia
Symposium
Second trip to the Soviet Union; the Anayennisi debate; "Crucified Russia"
Italian Fascism
Egypt and Sinai
Odyssey; third trip to the Soviet Union; Panait Istrati
Greece: The Alhambra speech and its consequences
Fourth trip to the Soviet Union; revision of Askitiki
The Roussakov affair; break with Istrati
Toda-Raba and the Waning of Kazantzakis's Communism
A novel of self-revelation
Sorting out Kazantzakis's political allegiances after 1929; why he was never a communist
The attitude of Greek communists and others toward Kazantzakis
Aristotelianism versus existentialism; the middle ground
Aesthetic Freedom
The transitional age
The kravyi
The logos
Heroic action transubstantiated
Odyssey
Successive drafts
World-view
Aids to a holistic reading
Political content
The Kierkegaardian paradigm: Aesthetic, ethical, religious
Summary: How the Odyssey reflects Kazantzakis's political convictions
Notes
References
Index
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