A Movement through Space and Ideas, Geranos from Kazantzakis’ Toda-Raba
Toda-Raba was written in 1929. It is the first work in which Kazantzakis presents a modern Cretan hero, Geranos. This hero embodies the picture which Kazantzakis wanted to present abroad his birthplace and his compatriots. This novel, written in French, launched the international career of the Cretan writer.
Crete thus presented as an individual land of global interest, the stereotypical image of the island delivered by Homer into a place of class warfare.
Geranos, as an open-minded and multicultural Cretan, bears a strong similarity to the image Panait Istrati gives us of his Cretan companion, Kazantzakis: that of a social visionary.
Thus, with this work we have not only a literary adventure, a kind of Bildungsroman for the Soviet Union, but also the ideological movement of Kazantzakis from a communist eutopia to what Kazantzakis calls post-communism.
This paper also aims to show the connection between Toda-Raba and Kazantzakis’ experience at the time of his return, after years of absence abroad, to a small place, his birthplace Crete, and specifically Heraklion, through his effort to create a socialist party there. This adventurous Cretan, Geranos, like Ulysses-Kazantzakis is at the end of his commitment to communism, at the beginning of his own views of post-communism, discovering that communism as a movement with a specific purpose and limits.
When Kazantzakis later recollects his experiences from his journeys to Russia in another book (Russia: A Chronicle of Three Journeys in the Aftermath of the Revolution), the flame of Toda-Raba no longer exists. Thus, Geranos as the writer’s persona is the borderline of this transition. Kazantzakis the author is now ready to move on to other theories and ideologies, to embrace Buddhism and the heroic nihilism, which also exists in his literary alter ego.