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The Renovated Kazantzakis Museum or Odyssey of Spirit

06 July 2010 / 13:07:31  GRReporter
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By the end of his life Kazantzakis frequently travels abroad as a reporter for the Kathimerini  newspaper, gets to know new lands, moral and philosophical teachings. In 1952 he was proposed for the Nobel Prize that he was not awarded - it was awarded to Albert Camus - a difference of only one vote due to lack of support from the Greek literary and academic circles. He continues to travel in Greece and abroad, while death does not overtake him in 1957 after returning from a trip to China. In the novel “Alexis Zorbas” (1946) the Cretan writer launches seven well-composed and well-known works which bring him wide renown. His most important novels “Christ Recrucified”, “The Fratricides”, “Captain Michalis”, “The Last Temptation”, “Report to Greco”, “God’s Pauper” were published between 1946-1957, ie during the last decade of his life. They caused intensive translation work, resulting in the translation of most of his novels (and many others of his works) into most common European languages in the first ten years after his death. His novels have been translated into over thirty languages. Thanks to translations his work is widely read and Kazantzakis won praise from prominent brothers in pen as A. Schweitzer, Thomas Mann and Albert Camus, who adopted him as one of the greatest European writers.  
Roussos Kipriotakis, the mayor of the N. Kazantzakis Municipality that was created within the Capodistrias Plan for Local Government Reform, emphasized that its residents are not afraid of the difficult situation in the country now as they have a powerful spiritual weapon - the covenant of their most famous countryman. The museum sends a powerful message even in times of crisis and devaluation of ideals. The famous scientist-physicist George Gramatikakis with two rectorial seats in the University of Crete, a researcher at the Dimokritos Institute and in the French academic center CERN, is currently the Chairman of the Managing Board of the Kazantzakis Museum.   
The author of the poetic book of astrological and physical phenomena “Hair of Verenika -  CV of Light” (University Press of Crete, 1999), turned into a song by Thanassis Papakonstantinou, filmed as a documentary series broadcasted with great success by the Greek television, something very strange for a scientific - and astronomical – treatise, shared his excitement that his dream for the nationwide opening of the renovated museum comes true today. And it was all with the approval and support of the official institutions. Regardless of all sorts of reservations about his work, explained Gramatikakis, Kazantzakis is a great writer and now he gets museum space corresponding to his spiritual growth. He expressed confidence that Greece will overcome the numerous and treacherous reefs, that its spiritual horizons are never exhausted and always offer a new vision to the world, citing the Nobel Prize winning South African writer Nadine Gordimar who in a recent interview on the crisis in Greece said: “I think Kazantzakis would help you overcome the problems you face today.”
Without state support Cretans create this first of its kind private personal museum of one writer, since high-class authors like K. Varnalis, K. Palamas, J. Seferis, O. Elitis, A. Sikelianos and others still remain homeless. The goddaughter of N. Kazantzakis - the poet Katerina Angelaki-Rooke who inherited the best qualities of his godfather - quoted the correspondence of the great Cretan writer with her father - his lawyer and personal friend: “I will hand the pen to your daughter and will step aside to let her go.” 
After the success of the Michalis Kakoyanis’s film “Zorba the Greek”, their contribution for the international popularity of the writer had the adaptations of two of his novel “The One Who Must Die (after the novel “Christ Recrucified”) by Jules Dasen (1957) and “The Last Temptation” by Martin Scorsese (1988). Fifty three years after the death of the great Cretan his works continue to be translated into more and more languages - from Finnish to Georgian, from Afrikaans to Chinese and Vietnamese, and his old translations are reprinted proving the lasting impact of the thought of this unique Greek writer worldwide.
In 1907-1908 Kazantzakis studied law in Paris, where he listened to the lectures of Henri Bergson and wrote a dissertation on Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy of law and state. The young Kazantzakis was equated with the German philosopher and in the dissertation outlined political and moral elements of his views: his relentless criticism of the Christian religion to the democratic, socialist, anarchist, feminist theories, ie to all systems, movements and schools, proclaiming the political and social equality. With this work the beginning philosopher of law and a future writer (now with a book – “Snake and the Lily”) has the ambition to become Assistant at the Law Faculty of Athens University. He does not ever hold this academic position in practice, but his systematic interest in this subject largely determines his later searches. Hereinafter fundamental postulates of the philosophy of Nietzsche like death of gods, will of power and superman would represent constants in his work.  

Tags: Nikos KazandzakisMuseumCreteLiterature
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