On March 30 (2013), Professor Thanasis Maskaleris — whose passion for life is no less than the fire of Zorba the Greek — received the Saloutos Award, in recognition for his many contributions to Greek literature and culture. Maskaleris has been touring the USA to discuss his newest book, an anthology of freshly-translated poetry, reverence for nature, and sublime ideas.
The Terrestrial Gospel is an anthology of passages selected from various books by Kazantzakis, centering on Nature and the workers of the soil. A powerful and poetic work that raises environmental awareness and calls us to compassionate action, the book contains new translations from the Greek originals to English, some original poems by Maskaleris, a Preface by Jean-Michel Cousteau, and an illuminating essay by ecologist, author, and film-maker, Michael Tobias.
Love supports survival … Nikos Kazantzakis’ love of Nature inspired him to write beautiful hymns to Her and to the human life rooted in the soil — as the selections for this Anthology movingly demonstrate.
Included in the new book are 17 black-and-white photos of Greece and Crete; and these contributions from Kazantzakis scholars and experts:
- Foreword from Athens by Patroclos Stavrou and Niki P. Stavrou
- Preface by Jean-Michel Cousteau
- Preface from Crete by Dr. Yannis Phillis
- Preface from Arkadia by Dr. John Anton
- Postscript by Dr. Peter Bien
- Two illuminating essays by Michael Tobias and Michael Pastore
Having grown up on the fascinating island of Crete — close to trees, animals and wild peasants — he absorbed and retained the terrestrial life in his soul, and made it bloom in brilliant descriptions throughout all of his works. These poetic tributes are not mere “décor” but a vital source of ever regenerative human life, biological growth, individual spirit and ecological community. It is a poetic vision that is at once communal, and global, from one of the 20th century’s greatest writers.
Reading Kazantzakis’ passages in this book, one is not only delighted by their lyrical beauty but also inspired to revere the Earth, to live fully, never forsaking that all-abiding connection rooted in us which is the life force.
Let us hope that an embrace of our natural habitat, such as Kazantzakis summons in each of us, will help galvanize our resolve to respect, revere and collectively protect our one and only home, the Earth.