Edited and translated by Peter Bien
The life of Nikos Kazantzakis—the author of Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ—was as colorful and eventful as his fiction. And nowhere is his life revealed more fully or surprisingly than in his letters. Edited and translated by Kazantzakis scholar Peter Bien, this is the most comprehensive selection of Kazantzakis’s letters in any language.
One of the most important Greek writers of the 20th century, Kazantzakis (1883–1957) participated in or witnessed some of the most extraordinary events of his times, including both world wars and the Spanish and Greek civil wars.
As a foreign correspondent, an official in several Greek governments, and a political and artistic exile, he led a relentlessly nomadic existence, living in France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Soviet Union, and England. He visited the Versailles Peace Conference, attended the 10th-anniversary celebration of the Bolshevik Revolution, interviewed Mussolini and Franco, and briefly served as a Greek Cabinet minister—all the while producing a stream of novels, poems, plays, travel writing, autobiography, and translations.
The letters collected here touch on almost every aspect of Kazantzakis’s rich and tumultuous life, and show the genius of a man who was deeply attuned to the artistic, intellectual, and political events of his times.