Odysseus: A Verse Tragedy

Nikos Kazantzakis

ISBN 978-1-935244-25-7

About the Book

Nikos Kazantzakis, a giant of world literature and Nobel Prize nominee, reimagines an enduring epic. This is a tragic play about the Ancient Greek warrior-king Odysseus, and a prequel to Nikos Kazantzakis’s epic poem The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey.

Praise for the Book

“Kostas Myrsiades’s verse translation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s Odysseus displays workaday power, thereby realizing Kazantzakis’s endeavor in this play to combine earthy realism with the sublime magic of Greek mythology. It is truly beautiful, exciting!”
Peter Bien, Translator of Nikos Kazantzakis's Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ

“This play by Nikos Kazantzakis blends ancient myth and modern imagination in the exploration of the disappointment of homecoming. In engaging with Greek drama, it continues the tragic stage’s grand tradition of rethinking epic narratives and their values. It is a compelling and powerful read in a class with other modern reimaginings of Homer’s Odyssey, like Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad or Madeline Miller’s Circe. Kostas Myrsiades’s translation is a great service to the English-speaking world.”
Joel Christensen, Professor, Department of Classical Studies, Brandeis University

About the Author

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957), the best known of modern Greek writers, was born in Crete and was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His major work, Odyssey, has been described as the single most ambitious literary accomplishment of the twentieth century. John Steinbeck recognized him as “one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century,” and he was acclaimed by Albert Schweitzer, Thomas Mann, and world critics as one of the most eminent writers of our time. His oeuvre consists of thirteen novels, including Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ (both of which were adapted into major feature films), eighteen dramatic works (of which seven were written in verse), three philosophical studies on Nietzsche, Bergson, and himself, a series of travel books (Greece, Spain, England, China, Japan, Israel, and Russia), and two books of poetry, Terza Rima and his monumental epic of 33,333 verses, Odyssey, translated into English as The Odyssey, A Modern Sequel by Kimon Friar.

About the Translator

Kostas Myrsiades, Professor Emeritus of Comparative and Greek literature at West Chester University, is a distinguished translator and Neohellenist and the first American to receive the Gold Medallion (1995) for his translations from the Hellenic Society of Translators of Literature given annually by the Greek society to a scholar from any country. His work in Greek letters is demonstrated in his 24 published books and numerous articles and translations on modern and ancient Greek literature, among them his two volume readings of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey (Bucknell University Press, 2019-2022), his many book length translations of Yannis Ritsos and Takis Papatsonis co-translated with Kimon Friar, and his translations and studies of Karaghiozis, Greek shadow puppet theater co-authored with Linda Myrsiades. He has delivered many invited lectures for such groups as the Jane Globus Seminar Series at Baruch College, the Elytis Chair Lecture Series of Poetry and Neohellenic Studies at Rutgers University, and the Embassy of Greece/National Library of Canada at Ottawa.

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