Conference Paper

OF DEATH, SENSUALITY AND DESIRE: REVISITING N. KAZANTZAKIS’ ZORBA THE GREEK

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Abstract

As we read in the Prologue of Nikos Kazantzakis’ Saviors of God: “We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life. As soon as we are born the return begins, at once the setting forth and the coming back, we die in every moment…But as soon as we are born, we begin to struggle, to create, to compose, to turn matter into life, we are born in every moment”[1]. The above excerpt taken from Kazantzakis’ early work resonates with an omnipresent leitmotif of his novels where we find the themes of death and broadly understood passion and/or desire for life constantly interweaving in an everlasting human search for purpose and meaning. The existing correlations of the eschatological aspects of human life manifest within the whole body of Kazantzakis’ writing. They tend to occur through sets of recurring patterns expressed by certain regularities of the chosen words and imagery. This paper will focus on Zorba the Greek, a novel that constitutes a brilliant example of Greek synthesis of the Western and Eastern way of life.

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