LIFE

Nikos Kazantzakis Museum looks ahead

By Nikos Vatopoulos

The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum is situated in the village of Myrtia (Varvari), 15 kilometers south of Iraklio on Crete. Following extensive renovations, the museum entered a fresh chapter in its history in 2009, while respecting -- more than ever -- its founding principles laid out by its creator Yiorgos Anemoyiannis at the time of its establishment in 1983. As an institution, the museum is defined by a desire to keep improving itself, something every single local museum should seek, while developing its scientific scope at the same time.

As a nonprofit private entity presided over by University of Crete professor Giorgos Grammatikakis, the museum?s legal status allows for plenty of activity. Looking at the organization from a distance, you could compare it to a small-scale, healthy cultural organization, of the kind that should be scattered around Greece, if ever the intellectual-meets-business model was to come across some kind of fertile ground.

Leafing through a list of books published by the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum, it is hard to contain a certain amount of enthusiasm regarding the republication of ?Around the World in Eighty Days,? in a translation by Kazantzakis, a work originally published by the landmark Dimitrakou Editions back in 1931. While the prospect of revisiting Jules Verne is always a plus, there is also a need to remember the translation oeuvre of major Greek authors. In this case, the republication combines the old-fashioned beauty of the original edition with a new foreword by scholar Christina Argyropoulou.

The museum is also putting emphasis on digital publications, in view of developing a broad database for research purposes. Meanwhile, other projects include a collection of engravings by Titos Petrakis which had served as covers for Kazantzakis novels in the past.

Marking the late author?s February birthday, the windows at the Dokimaki bookstore in Iraklio were recently filled with the museum?s publications, accompanied by copies of Kazantzakis correspondence and portraits of the author by various artists. In Crete, it seems that the Kazantzakis legacy is turning into an interactive process.

Meanwhile, the museum?s revamp was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (80 percent) and national funds (20 percent). The project was carried out by architects Yiorgos Psomadakis and Maria Marinou and a team of worthy collaborators.

For more information, visit www.kazantzakis-museum.gr.

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