The Modern Greek Literary Tradition in the Major Novels of Nikos Kazantzakis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This doctoral thesis presents a comprehensive analysis of the novels of Kazantzakis‟ maturity in relation to Modern Greek literature. The extent of Kazantzakis‟ reading is explored as well as the views that he expressed in letters, essays and interviews on texts from the epic of Γηγελήο Αθξίηεο up to works of the Generation of the Thirties. When Kazantzakis wrote his major novels, he had a wide knowledge of the Modern Greek literary tradition and contemporary literature. The fruits of his engagement with Modern Greek literature are found in his own literary production. The novels that are studied are Βίνο θαη Πνιηηεία ηνπ Αιέμε Ενξκπά, Ο Υξηζηόο Ξαλαζηαπξώλεηαη, Ο Καπεηάλ Μηράιεο (Διεπηεξία ή Θάλαηνο) and Ο Σειεπηαίνο Πεηξαζκόο. The analysis detects the intertextual markers and illustrates the methods that are employed linking the novels‟ characters, themes, settings and stories with previous Modern Greek texts. A wide range of literary works is evoked or organically incorporated into the plot of the novels: folk poetry of the Akritic cycle, Cretan folk songs, the literature of the Cretan Renaissance, the poetry of Solomos, Palamas and Sikelianos, the ethographic novellas and short stories of Kondylakis and Vizyinos, fiction by Myrivilis, Prevelakis and Kosmas Politis. Kazantzakis‟ novels hold a pivotal place in the history of Modern Greek literature and, as this thesis proposes, it is also the Modern Greek literary tradition that constitutes an essential component of his fiction.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorRoderick Beaton (Supervisor) & David Ricks (Supervisor)

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