Lot 678: Autograph manuscript in Greek, signed "N. Kazantzakis," eleven pages, 6.75 x 13.75, no date but circa 1940s. A complete draft of the famous 'Hoplopoiia' section of the Iliad, in which the god Hephaistus fashions new armor for Achilles, including a magnificent shield. The majority of this manuscript is made up of the detailed description of the shield, which is regarded as a paramount passage in Western literature. The shield displays the heavenly bodies, a city at peace and at war, country life, dancing youths and maidens, and the all-enclosing ocean stream. The manuscript is extensively hand-corrected and edited throughout; a notation by Kazantzakis states that this version is not to be considered final and will require further revisions as to orthography and accentuation. General wear, overall toning, and rusty paperclip marks, otherwise fine condition.
As Greece struggled through the German occupation in the early 1940s, Kazantzakis and the scholar Yannis Kakridis began the massive undertaking of translating Homer's Iliad from classical to modern Greek. After a decade of translation and revision, the pair finally completed their work in 1953, only to find that no publisher would accept it. Finally deciding to fund the publication themselves, the translators privately printed the first edition of this now-classic work in 1955. Handwritten material from Kazantzakis is outstandingly rare; containing one of the most celebrated passages of the Iliad, heavily revised throughout, this is an absolutely remarkable piece in the literary legacy of Greece.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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