JOURNEY TO THE MOREA by

JOURNEY TO THE MOREA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kazantzakis' travel books, surely among his most beautiful achievements, are a blend of the visionary and earthy, the philosophic and reportorial. They are Odyssean journeys, landscapes of the soul, through which his humanity, classicism and imaginative quests are irradiated again and again. They are as much a part of the man as is his celebrated fiction. Last year we had two splendid volumes on the Far East and Spain; here now a collection of homeland pieces, dating from the late 30's, covering the ""cradle of Hellenism,"" Southern Greece, varyingly called the Peloponnesus or the Morea. The incantatory opening is typical: Greece is ""a deep, twelve-leveled tomb, from which voices rise up calling to you."" For him the heroic past is inextricably mingled with the present. Viewing Sparta he asks ""does all this enchantment spring from the much kissed, much caressed body of Helen?"" Yet he notes: ""In Greece, as everywhere, when realism finally begins to reign, civilization declines."" Thus his sad comments on the malaria-racked peasantry, his denunciations of the petty merchants, the provincial dullards, his battered hope to reawaken the Attic mission, uniting ""boldness with knowledge, passion with the game."" Descriptions of Mistra and the Corinth gulf, Mycenae and Olympia, are interspersed with canny, sympathetic character sketches. A lyric and majestic itinerary.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1965
Publisher: Simon & Schuster