Kazantzakis, Volume 2
Politics of the Spirit
Peter Bien


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.

First published in 2007.

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).