- Purchase/rental options available:
The literary sources of Nikos Kazantzakis's novels have attracted little scholarly attention, most probably because there are usually few surface markers to direct the reader to any of the sources. Another is the fact that source-texts do not generally belong to the twentieth century, the period of time on which studies of Kazantzakis have focused, and, in some cases, they may require specialized knowledge of classical Greek literature. A third reason is that the novels have only become the object of purely literary studies in recent years. Most of the scholarship on them is focused on the thoughts of the novelist and not the construction of the novelistic text. This study of Καπετάν Μιχάλης (Kapetan Michalis) complements an earlier one in which I attempted to show the importance of Homer, Plato, Dante, and Shakespeare as literary background to Kazantzakis's first successful novel. Here I argue that Homer's Iliad and Shakespeare's Othello are major source-texts for Kapetan Michalis. To the former it owes its main plot structure and some individual themes and from the latter it derived Michalis's jealousy of Polyxingis and the murder of Emine. The hero's complex inner world originates partly in the fusion of these epic and dramatic features. The fact that in the present study I concentrate on certain aspects of the novel, however, does not mean that I underestimate others.