NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS AND HIS ODYSSEY by Pandelis Prevelakis

NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS AND HIS ODYSSEY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Anyone who has read, or tried to read, Kazantzakis' Odyssey will welcome this interpretation and ""guided tour"", which opens with a synopsis of Odysseus' adventures, his interminable travels and eventual disintegration into the nothingness which is the focal point of his belief. His adventures during these voyages are grandiose and horrific, and as the author points out, reveal him to be the modern nihilistic hero, a ""desperado"" who ""has no nation, no king, no flag"". He lays no foundations, he represents an ""excitation of the ego, an inflammation of man's substance, a revolt against institutions, a challenge to conformists"". The author of this study is uniquely qualified to write it- he is a lifelong friend of Kazantzakis and a professor at the National College of Fine Arts in Athens. He is also a novelist, critic and poet. Besides some illuminating biographical material, Prevelakis gives a penetrating study of Kazantzakis' cultural background and his own inner restlessness. In 1923 Kazantzakis went to Germany where he met Nietzsche, and his positive identification with the German philosopher was reenforced by their strange physical resemblance. This ""parallelism"" runs through his life and influences all his work. But Kazantzakis was an omnivorous lover of cultures and he had other ""masters"" - Dante, Buddha and El Greco. Despite poverty and lack of recognition, Kazantzakis is marked by his passion for life, his insatiable love of truth, his transcendent and deep mysticism. This book is not only a critique but a eulogy- and it is the first full study of Kazantzakis, who is unquestionably an important, if uneven, writer. It has only one flaw- derived perhaps from its subject- wordiness.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster