Once seen as a patriotic evocation of the Greek nationalist struggle of the nineteenth century, Freedom and Death can now be seen to revolve around a number of interrelated conflicts: sexual (in the overlapping, triangular relationships of Mihalis-Nuri-Emine and of Michalis-Polyxingis-Emine); internal (Mihalis's struggles with his "demons"); and ideological/psychological (the "gravitational" pull of Crete and the ancestors versus the centrifugal, enlightening trajectory of Kosmas). Kazantzakis revisits and implicitly criticizes earlier intellectual positions of his own (aestheticism, nationalism). At the same time, the novel pursues a parallel quest (unresolved) to that articulated in the two novels on the Christ story (conflict/union with the divine). But since Freedom and Death is a work of fiction, not of philosophy, it deserves to be read for the play of nonhuman forces acted out by its human protagonists, and hence may be compared with later South American fiction, especially that of Márquez.


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pp. 195-220
Launched on MUSE
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