Abstract

Kazantzakis's Askitikí has often been interpreted as a work of pessimism and nihilism, especially because of "Even this 'One' does not exist," which is meant to be pronounced while standing on the edge of the abyss. Yet this notion of the "abyss," so central to Kazantzakis's thought, stems predominately from Nietzsche's call for self-affirmation. A closer examination of Kazantzakis's novels, particularly St. Francis, suggests a further positive meaning of the abyss as non-material freedom. The overcoming of the material obstruction that imprisons "God" leads to a revelation of nothingness that is the unveiling of the abyss of being. Such a mystical union with the abyss can be expressed only by the horror of silence; yet it is an escape valve providing the source of authentic freedom and enabling the eternal ascent to continue toward the "One" that lies beyond the flux of existence.

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 331-348
Launched on MUSE
1998-10-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.