Kazantzakis, Volume 2: Politics of the Spirit

Princeton University Press
2
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Putting Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis's vast output into the context of his lifelong spiritual quest and the turbulent politics of twentieth-century Greece, Peter Bien argues that Kazantzakis was a deeply flawed genius--not always artistically successful, but a remarkable figure by any standard. This is the second and final volume of Bien's definitive and monumental biography of Kazantzakis (1883-1957). It covers his life after 1938, the period in which he wrote Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ, the novels that brought him his greatest fame.

A demonically productive novelist, poet, playwright, travel writer, autobiographer, and translator, Kazantzakis was one of the most important Greek writers of the twentieth century and the only one to achieve international recognition as a novelist. But Kazantzakis's writings were just one aspect of an obsessive struggle with religious, political, and intellectual problems. In the 1940s and 1950s, a period that included the Greek civil war and its aftermath, Kazantzakis continued this engagement with undiminished energy, despite every obstacle, producing in his final years novels that have become world classics.

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About the author

Peter Bien is Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. His Kazantzakis: Politics of the Spirit, Volume 1 was first published by Princeton in 1989 and was translated into Greek in 2001. It will be published in paperback by Princeton in February 2007. Bien has translated Kazantzakis's books 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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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 2010
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Pages
640
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ISBN
9781400824427
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ali Pasha of Ioannina (?1750-1822), the Ottoman-appointed governor of the northern mainland of Greece, was a towering figure in Ottoman, Greek, and European history. Based on an array of literatures, paintings, and musical scores, this is the first English-language critical biography about him in recent decades. K. E. Fleming shows that the British and French diplomatic experience of Ali was at odds with the "orientalist" literatures that he inspired. Dubbed by Byron the "Muslim Bonaparte," Ali enjoyed a position of diplomatic strength in the eastern Adriatic; in his attempt to secede from the Ottoman state, he cleverly took advantage of the diplomatic relations of Britain, Russia, France, and Venice. As he reached the peak of his powers, however, European accounts of him portrayed him in ever more "orientalist" terms--as irrational, despotic, cruel, and undependable.

Fleming focuses on the tension between these two experiences of Ali--the diplomatic and the cultural. She also places the history of modern Greece in the context of European history, as well as that of Ottoman decline, and demonstrates the ways in which contemporary European visions of Greece, particularly those generated by Romanticist philhellenism, contributed to a unique form of "orientalism" in the south Balkans. Greece, a territory never formally colonized by Western Europe, was subject instead to a surrogate form of colonial control--one in which the country's history and culture, rather than its actual land, was annexed, invaded, and colonized.

Originally published in 1999.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

"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-siècle 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.

"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-siècle 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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