Nikos Kazantzakis

About the Cretan author Nikos Kazantzakis

nikos kazantzakisThe author Nikos Kazantzakis was born in 1883 in Heraklion, Crete. His family suffered much hardship and poverty and it was with great aptitude on his part that he managed, In 1901, to finish high school. In the last year of high school he met Galatea Alexiou and married her in 1911. In 1924 he divorced her and two years later he married Helen Samiou.

After graduating from high school Kazantzakis came to Athens and enrolled at the Law School of Athens University. His financial situation was such that he was forced to work and study simultaneously. In spite of these difficulties he managed to acquire a valuable education. After his studies he went to Paris, where for three years (1907-1909) he attended courses in philosophy. There he had the opportunity to come in contact with the philosophical ideas of Nietzsche and Bergson.

Kazantzakis travelled and visited many places in Europe and Asia. In 1919 he went to Switzerland and Russia, and later to Vienna, Berlin, France, Spain, Japan, China, England, Germany and other countries. Many of these travel experiences are recorded in several of his books like "England" (1941), "Rousia" (1956), "Japan - China" (1956), "Spain" (1957), "Italy" (1965). In 1948 he moved to Antibes, France where he devoted himself entirely to literature and during that time he wrote his most important works.

Nikos Kazantzakis first appeared in print in 1906 with the novel "Serpent and Lily," a book of lust and death as described then by the literary circles. In the same year he published his essay "The Sickness of the Century" and some poems under the pseudonym "Nirvami Karma." In 1910 he had become a mature writer and produces the verse drama "Master Builder". With this work, Nikos Kazantzakis actually started his literary career, using the pseudonym "Petros Psiloritis"
The greatest of his novels include "Toda Raba" (1956), "The Poor Sap of God" (1956), "Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas" ( 1946), "Freedom or Death" (1953) "Recrucified Christ" (1954) and "Report to Greco" (1961) that was published after his death. As a poet he created two major projects: the "Odyssey" (1938), for which he spent 13 years of work and consists of 33,333 verses, and "Tertsines" (1960).

But the work of Nikos Kazantzakis is not limited to books and literary novels but also theatre, school, and philosophical books. In 1957 Nikos Kazantzakis was prepared to visit China at the invitation of the Chinese government but he became seriously ill and in October of the same year he died at a clinic in Germany.

His body was transported and buried in the Venetian castle (on the hill named "Martinengo Bastion") of Heraklion, as requested by him. On his grave was written the epitaph " I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free".