The last novel of the universally-celebrated Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis is set to be published for the first time — more than 60 years after his death — by the Athens-based publishing house Dioptra.
The unpublished novel, titled “Aniforos” (“Uphill”, in free translation) was Kazantzakis’s swan song, written right after his world-famous masterpiece “Zorba the Greek” (1946).
Kazantzakis wrote “Aniforos” around the time that he departed for the UK on what was meant to be his last journey.
The manuscript had been kept at the Kazantzakis museum, in the author’s home village of Mirtia, just outside Heraklion, Crete, since its rediscovery.
This is the author’s last remaining unpublished novel.
Autobiographical elements in the last novel of Kazantzakis
Those few who have read Aniforos can easily recognize the author’s signature language and aura, dynamic rhythm and vulnerable psyche, Dioptra notes.
Aniforos is brimming with autobiographical references, as the author reflects on the sad experience of World War II, which he endured firsthand. It answers the criticism that the pain and destruction suffered by Greece during the German occupation had been missing from Zorba the Greek, the publisher adds.
“We feel a special awe for being called upon to publish this novel for the first time, and to offer it to anyone who has loved this great author as well as to the new generations and to the Greek cultural heritage,” says Konstantinos Papadopoulos, the owner of Dioptra.
The publication of Aniforos is part of a large publishing rights deal with Kazantzakis’s descendant, Niki Stavrou, who is the copyright owner of the author’s works and director of Kazantzakis Publications.
As a result, Dioptra plans not only to publish new editions of all of Kazantzakis’s works but also to run a series of activities to “strengthen his voice in the 21st century.”
World-renowned author and Nobel nominee
Nikos Kazantzakis is the most translated Greek contemporary author, and he is widely considered a giant of modern Greek literature.
A novelist, poet, playwright, journalist, philosopher and politician, Kazantzakis was born and raised on Crete but lived in several European cities.
Beside novels, he also wrote dozens of short stories, plays, travel books, memoirs and philosophical essays between 1906 and his death in 1957.
Kazantzakis was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine different times, for a total of 14 different nominations. On the year of his passing, the Cretan author famously lost the prestigious prize to Albert Camus by one vote.
However, his fame spread in the English-speaking world posthumously, due to the cinematic adaptations of Zorba the Greek (1964) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
Kazantzakis’s own fascinating life is recounted in a 2017 biographical movie by director Iannis Smaragdis.
At the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum, where the unpublished novel Aniforos has been kept, visitors can find manuscripts, letters, documents, Greek and foreign publications, photos and personal items, theatre material, rare audiovisual content, and a variety of artworks 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.