Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis’ unpublished novel goes to press

Photograph by Nikos Kazantzakis, from his personal archives. Photo credit: Dioptra publishing house

The latest novel by famous Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis is about to be published for the first time – more than 60 years after his death – by the Athens publishing house Dioptra.

The unpublished novel titled “Aniforos” (“Rise”, in free translation) was Kazantzakis’ swan song, written just after his world-famous masterpiece Zorba the Greek (1946).

Kazantzakis wrote “Aniforos” around the time he left for the UK in what was to be his last trip.

The manuscript had been kept in the Kazantzakis Museum, in the author’s native village, Mirtia, fifteen kilometers from Heraklion, since its rediscovery.

This is the author’s last unpublished novel.

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The few who have read it can easily recognize the author’s language and aura, his dynamic rhythm and his vulnerable psyche, notes Dioptra.

“Aniforos” is full of autobiographical references, as the author reflects on the sad experience of World War II, which he endured firsthand. It responds to the criticism that the pain and destruction suffered by Greece during the German occupation was missing in Zorba the Greek, the editor adds.

“We feel a special admiration for having been called to publish this novel for the first time and to offer it to all those who loved this great author as well as to new generations and to Greek cultural heritage”, says Konstantinos Papadopoulos, owner and CEO of Dioptra.

The publication of “Aniforos” is part of an extensive publishing rights agreement with Kazantzakis’ descendant, Niki Stavrou, who is the copyright holder of the author’s work and Director of Publications of Kazantzakis.

As a result, Dioptra plans to publish new editions of all of Kazantzakis’ works as well as conduct a series of activities to “strengthen his voice in the 21st century”.

World renowned author and Nobel Prize nominee

Nikos Kazantzakis is the most translated contemporary Greek author, widely considered a giant of modern Greek literature.

Novelist, poet, playwright, journalist, philosopher and politician, Kazantzakis was born and raised in Crete but has lived in several European cities.

Besides novels, he also wrote dozens of short stories, plays, travel diaries, memoirs and philosophical essays between 1906 and his death in 1957.

Kazantzakis has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years for a total of 14 different nominations. The year of his death, the Cretan author lost the prestigious award to Albert Camus by one vote.

However, his fame spread to the English-speaking world posthumously, thanks to the film adaptations of Zorba the Greek (1964) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).

Kazantzakis’ fascinating life is chronicled in a 2017 biopic by director Iannis Smaragdis.

At the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum, where the unpublished novel “Aniforos” was kept, visitors can find manuscripts, letters, documents, Greek and foreign publications, photos and personal items, theater equipment, audiovisual content rare and a variety of works of art depicting the writer.

In addition, an audiovisual presentation on his life and work is available in eleven languages: Greek, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

Irene B. Bowles