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Nikos Kazantzakis
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    (February 18, 1883-October 26, 1957)
    Born in Heraklion, Crete, Greece
    Best known for the novels 'Zorba the Greek' (1946) and 'The Last Temptation of Christ' (1951)
    Also wrote the epic poem 'The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel' (1924-38)
    He was an admirer of Lenin.
    He was excommunicated from the Greek Orthodox Church over his depiction of Jesus in 'The Last Temptation of Christ.'
    He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine times without winning it. (He came closest in 1957, reportedly losing to Albert Camus by one vote.)
    He was buried on the wall surrounding Heraklion, because his excommunication made his burial in a cemetery impossible.
    In the introduction to his posthumously published autobiography 'Report to Greco,' his widow admits that the book mixed fact and fiction.
    During the Balkan Wars, he volunteered with the Greek army.
    He became disillusioned with Soviet-style Communism after the rise of Stalin.
    He said about his reason for writing 'The Last Temptation of Christ,' 'I wanted to offer a model to the man who struggles. I wanted to show him that he must not fear pain, temptation or death -- because all three can be conquered, all three have already been conquered.'
    His response to being excommunicated was, 'You gave me a curse, Holy Fathers, I give you a blessing: May your conscience be as clear as mine, and may you be as moral and religious as I am.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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