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The French Sources between the Young Kazantzakis and Nietzsche

Author(s): Gunnar de Boel

Journal: Historical Review
ISSN 1790-3572

Volume: 5;
Start page: 107;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Kazantzakis wrote in 1909 a dissertation on Nietzsche's philosophy, in view of a career at the University of Athens. He based this dissertation mainly on studies by French scholars, which provided him not only with most of its content, but also with its very structure. The description of the meaning of Greece to Nietzsche, for example, and the references to ancient Greek authors are indebted to these French commentators, rather than to a direct reading of the primary source. Even more importantly, some of the concepts that Kazantzakis attributes to Nietzsche, and which play an essential role in his own thinking, up to the period of his great post-World War II novels, appear to be based on a mistaken interpretation of Nietzsche by Lichtenberger, according to which man is a particle of the divine substance, the eternal Will. For the real Nietzsche, the mysteries of sexuality constitute the only form of eternal life.
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