Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Elias Polizoes


Nikos Kazantzakis and Georges Bataille both express a fascination with the utmost limits of the possible. My thesis explores this mutual preoccupation by way of a guiding concept: the wound. The wound skirts limits and dramatizes their rupture. It conveys a violent disruption of our ordinary modes of existence, ultimately proving radically transformative. My thesis considers limits as they are drawn, contested and transfigured by Kazantzakis and Bataille. It develops in three thematically-ordered chapters which treat the limitations of experience, the limitations of expression, and the question of transfiguration. Throughout, I argue that Kazantzakis, informed by both Bergsonian vitalism and the mystical writings of the Greek fathers, performs a Bataillean modification of the “human situation.” Ultimately, I demonstrate that a radical reconfiguration of the limits constituting the profane world requires a wounding of our habitual modes of seeing, knowing, and saying. This wounding is not a privation but a dynamic enrichment in perpetual process.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.