Зорба Гркот не бил Грк туку Македонец!

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    Senior Member
    • Sep 2008
    • 13670

    #46
    Originally posted by Karposh View Post
    I didn't realise the exploits of this Zorba character are mostly fictional.
    Are they, though? A number of important aspects in the book, although technically fictional, are based on non-fictional events with a bit of added nuance for effect. Take the following examples.

    The unknown narrator of the story is supposed to be a young Greek intellectual who goes to Crete to open a mine and mingle with the lower classes. The author of the story, Kazantzakis, was from Crete. In addition to being a writer, he had also studied law and philosophy (i.e. an 'intellectual'). Suffice to say that there's a high probability Kazantzakis based the character of the unknown narrator on himself. Both Kazantzakis and his 'fictional' character are socialists. Alexis Zorba is some mysterious man (who appears to be around 60 years old) whom the unknown narrator meets. In the book, their meeting takes place around 1916, or thereabouts. The real-life George Zorbas was born in 1865. He met Kazantzakis after 1915, so approximately the same time frame as the book. That would make George Zorbas about 50 years old when they met. In terms of age, not a significant departure from his fictional namesake. Kazantzakis was in his early 30's, so could still be considered a young man by comparison.

    George Zorbas was born in Macedonia. Alexis Zorba was born in Romania. Kazantzakis' book was published in 1946, during the Civil War, not sure if that was the reason for the adjustment in detail. Alexis Zorba claims to be an experienced miner. George Zorbas was an experienced miner. Alexis Zorba and the unknown narrator went together to work at the mines. George Zorbas and Kazantzakis went together to work at the mines. The unknown narrator receives a letter informing him of the death of Alexis Zorba and how his last words were of him. The book is written a few years after the death of George Zorbas. Both Kazantzakis and the unknown narrator are quite fond of George Zorbas and Alexis Zorba respectively.

    Clearly, George Zorbas left an impression on Kazantzakis, who had been writing for years prior to this book. So, what inspired him to write it when he did? Was it news of George Zorbas' death? Why would he include stories about murder, rape and robbery, unless it was relayed by George Zorbas himself, before, during or after their time at the mines? As George Zorbas was already dead, did Kazantzakis feel he could be more honest in his rendition, his intention being to provide historical context prior to the eventual redemption of his "hero", which would solicit the empathy of readers (e.g. we've all done bad things, but we can change)? Why else would such details be included, why would he present his friend in such a way, unless there was some (or much) truth to it? Is there a more in-depth and verifiable record of George Zorbas during the early 1900s? What were his activities during this period? Why do people like Amphipolis claim that he "probably" wasn't involved in armed Greek marauding in Macedonia yet cannot be any more definitive than that? Is it really that difficult to believe that these people were capable of rape, murder, burning villages, etc. when the Carnegie Report provides evidence of letters seized from soldiers in the Greek army who write about such reprehensible acts, some of which closely resemble the stories of Alexis Zorba in the book?

    I don't presume to know all of the answers to the above. But I will also not presume that all of the exploits of the fictional Alexis Zorba in the book, particularly those that are most gruesome, are completely without foundation in fact. People can decide for themselves if George Zorbas committed, witnessed or heard about these acts, or if Kazantzakis just happened to "create" stories that are strikingly similar to documented events that took place in Macedonia at the time in question.
    In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

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    • Amphipolis
      Banned
      • Aug 2014
      • 1328

      #47
      Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
      Is there a more in-depth and verifiable record of George Zorbas during the early 1900s? What were his activities during this period? Why do people like Amphipolis claim that he "probably" wasn't involved in armed Greek marauding in Macedonia yet cannot be any more definitive than that?
      Yes, there are many books about him, not to mention literature essays that usually include researches on the real people behind characters, also interviews with his many sons and daughters starting even before the film was made. I'm not definitive because I found more than 10 internet articles about the real Zorba, each was very extended and different and I couldn't find any reference to such activities. In one interview, one of his sons, implies something similar about his grandfather (Zorbas' father) who also became a monk at some point.

      Another essay was very analytical on how real Zorbas' character was different than the fictional one.

      Comment

      • Karposh
        Member
        • Aug 2015
        • 863

        #48
        Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
        Are they, though? A number of important aspects in the book, although technically fictional, are based on non-fictional events with a bit of added nuance for effect...
        Why do people like Amphipolis claim that he "probably" wasn't involved in armed Greek marauding in Macedonia yet cannot be any more definitive than that? Is it really that difficult to believe that these people were capable of rape, murder, burning villages, etc. when the Carnegie Report provides evidence of letters seized from soldiers in the Greek army who write about such reprehensible acts, some of which closely resemble the stories of Alexis Zorba in the book?...
        I will also not presume that all of the exploits of the fictional Alexis Zorba in the book, particularly those that are most gruesome, are completely without foundation in fact. People can decide for themselves if George Zorbas committed, witnessed or heard about these acts, or if Kazantzakis just happened to "create" stories that are strikingly similar to documented events that took place in Macedonia at the time in question.
        I'm not all that familiar on the subject of Zorba to be honest and it wasn't with some reservation when I dismissed his exploits as perhaps being fictional. I too have seen many of those letters from Greek soldiers in the Carnegie Report and they make for disturbing reading. Wouldn't surprise me at all if his exploits are in fact based on fact. All I will say is, if he managed to elude Macedonian justice in this life, I'm quite certain he wouldn't have been so lucky in his next one.

        Comment

        • Soldier of Macedon
          Senior Member
          • Sep 2008
          • 13670

          #49
          Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
          In one interview, one of his sons, implies something similar about his grandfather (Zorbas' father) who also became a monk at some point.
          In the early 1900's, George Zorbas would have been in his late 30's. His father, Photios, would have therefore been in his late 50's or early 60's at the very least. How feasible is it that Photios, a wealthy landowner that was probably over 60 years old at the time, would be involved in rape, murder and looting, let alone climbing atop a house and jumping from one roof to another? Perhaps George Zorbas told his son the story you cite above because he needed to ease his 'burden', but he couldn't be entirely truthful so he tactfully absolved himself of responsibility. He did become a monk for a time. Guilty conscience? On the other hand, Kazantzakis became a close and personal friend to George Zorbas and they would've felt more comfortable discussing such matters with each other than with their children. In any case, Ottoman Macedonia was a turbulent place. There were many shady, adventurous and opportunistic individuals involved in the propaganda activities of foreign states. Just because you cannot find any reference to such atrocities committed by George Zorbas doesn't mean he wasn't involved or aware to some degree. Again, the question must be asked, why were such activities and stories specifically mentioned in the book?
          Originally posted by Karposh
          I'm not all that familiar on the subject of Zorba to be honest and it wasn't with some reservation when I dismissed his exploits as perhaps being fictional. I too have seen many of those letters from Greek soldiers in the Carnegie Report and they make for disturbing reading. Wouldn't surprise me at all if his exploits are in fact based on fact. All I will say is, if he managed to elude Macedonian justice in this life, I'm quite certain he wouldn't have been so lucky in his next one.
          No worries, I wasn't taking a swipe at you, I just wanted to reinforce some of the points I made earlier because the actions of this animal, fictional or otherwise, are often downplayed by Greeks in an effort to mislead objective readers.
          In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

          Comment

          • Amphipolis
            Banned
            • Aug 2014
            • 1328

            #50
            It is ridiculous to be so speculative when the information (of involvement or not involvement) must be in any of the books. Given that I read so much, I suppose there would be SOME reference if there was any such story.

            Comment

            • Soldier of Macedon
              Senior Member
              • Sep 2008
              • 13670

              #51
              Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
              It is ridiculous to be so speculative when the information (of involvement or not involvement) must be in any of the books. Given that I read so much, I suppose there would be SOME reference if there was any such story.
              There is, it's called the 'The Life And Times Of Alexis Zorba'. Supposed fiction based on non-fiction, at least partially. For certain parts of that book, your decision on which is which is no less speculative than mine. That you have failed to find references in other books means very little, it's not like such people (if he is indeed guilty) chose to freely talk about those topics at the dinner table with all of their family and friends. But you seem to have bought into that unrealistic notion, which has led you to limit your focus to superficial commonalities and disregard the likelihood of deeper links between the fictional character and the real person he was based on. Further, I find being speculative in the manner I have exhibited as markedly more measured than glorifying a person who, by his own admission, raped women and murdered innocent civilians. That there are attempts to trivialise this (he was only a fictional character, the real guy "probably" didn't do it, he showed remorse, it's a great book, it's a popular movie, etc.) as a basis for rationalisation is beyond ridiculous.

              If you were writing a fictional book and some of the main themes were based on real experiences and discussions you had with a personal friend that had since passed away, what would be your motive to randomly include such shameful events in the storyline, with such specificity, and assign them to the character inspired by your friend, at the risk of discrediting his legacy with innuendo, if there was no truth to them? Perhaps you can provide an answer to that question, speculative though it may be.
              In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.

              Comment

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