the labyrinth of the world. “Thengreat encyclopedic minds of antiquity—nAristotle, Cicero, Confucius —nwouldn’t have known what a fact was,”nhe writes. “They beheld a kaleidoscopenof interacting principles in which nonevent stays still long enough to have itsntail salted. . . . [knowledge] might entailnthe study of virtually everything.”nAnd so Mazes touches on virtuallyneverything. In the fifty pieces thatnmake up the book, Kenner writes variouslynof the higher mathematics, evolutionaryntheory, the physical discomfortsnproduced by modern book design,neconornics, movies, museums, the relativenchaos or order of one’s writingntable, climatology, lexicography, linguistics,nthe state of copy editing inncommercial publishing, the accomplishmentsnof friends and mentors,ninterior design, electoral politicsn(“we’re governed by caricatures,” henwrites, “because we perceive bynthem”), electronics, chess, the declinenof apprenticeship in Georgian England.nTaking his title to heart, Kennerneven offers an illuminating piece onnhow to escape from a maze, a usefulnstring of information to memorize beforenventuring into any labyrinth —nLondon’s Hampton Court, let us say,nor a new piece of software.nKenner invites comparison withnMichel de Montaigne; his divertingnarticles are essays, “attempts,” in exactlynthe sense that Montaigne, who inventednthe modern form, intended.nThey are joyful trials of discovery, andnthey are almost always successful, althoughnMr. Kenner’s enthusiasms arensometimes misguided. Like manynothers, he makes a cult figure of HenrynDavid Thoreau, who, remember,nweekly compromised his legendarynself-sufficiency by taking his washnhome to his mother. Ever the championnof the modernists, Kenner can writenwith a straight face that T.S. Eliotn”slaved” in a British bank, ignoringnEliot’s well-documented contentmentnwith his work and embarrassment at hisnfriends’ efforts to buy him away fromnhis post. (In any event, can the work ofna bank officer really be equated withnthat of a slave?) And Kenner’s essays inndefense of Marshall McLuhan andnBuckminster Fuller are much too easy,nwaving away justifiable criticismsnagainst the work of these masters ofnself-promotion.n40/CHRONICLESnBut imperfections accompany experimentationnof any kind, and Kennernis not at all to be faulted for the rarenslip. Part of the joy of negotiating anpath through a thicket of details, afternall, is in chasing up errors, in testingnone’s own knowledge and opinions;nKenner’s sharp but good-natured essaynon The Random House Encyclopedianoffers a case in point. Mazes offersnuniversity-level instruction (and wouldnthat universities were as good) in andozen disciplines, teaching as it delights.nIt is a pleasure to read, a finenaddition to Hugh Kenner’s body ofnwork, and a worthy monument tonspirited intelligence and, not coincidentally,nto that wonderful cult of thenmaze.nGregory McNamee is the author of anforthcoming book of essays, ThenReturn of Richard Nixon. He lives innTucson, where he is editor in chief ofnthe University of Arizona Press.nZorba the Comradenby Michael WardernRussia: A Chronicle of ThreenJourneys in the Aftermathnof the Revolutionnby Nikos KazantzakisnTranslated by Michael Antonakesnand Thanasis MaskalerisnBerkeley, CA: Creative ArtsnBook Co.; 270 pp., $18.95nLove him or hate him, Nikos Kazantzakisnis a force to be reckonednwith. Best known in America for Zorbanthe Greek and—thanks to the MartinnScorcese movie — The Last Temptationnof Christ, Kazantzakis wrote whatnmany consider to be the greatest epicnpoem of the 20th century. The Odyssey:nA Modern Sequel. His impactntoday, 32 years after his death in 1957,nremains powerful, despite the relativenobscurity of his native language.nRussia derives from three trips thatnKazantzakis made from 1925 throughn1929. In his mid-40’s at the time, henwas simultaneously sympathetic to thenSoviet Union and repulsed by it, in anway that was perhaps reflective of hisnown unresolved tensions in matters ofnphilosophy and art. The sympathynnnstemmed in part from Kazantzakis’nown attempt to reconcile the religiousnand mystical tradition of Eastern Orthodoxynwith modernity and its children,nthe Enlightenment and materialnwell-being. Marx and Lenin becamenfigures, as large as Moses and Jesus,nwho had ushered in “a fanatical, mysticallynpassionate and dogmatic religion:natheism.” Describing the city of Moscow,nhe says that the “Kremlin rose innfront of me: the heart of Moscow, andntoday, I believe, the heart of thenworld.”nWhile it would have been difficult tonnominate Calvin Coolidge’s Washingtonnas a contender for the title ofn”Heart of the World,” more than sixtynyears later such language seems unnecessarilynhyperbolic, to say the least.nStill, Kazantzakis saw the world asnPompeii and Russian communism asnthe first bubbles of lava from a volcanonabout to erupt and transform thatnworld. He was convinced that thencontradictions between spirit and matter,nand Christianity and science,nwould be resolved in a new synthesisnthat would take into account the Marxistnchallenge. Because Kazantzakis hadna vision of history that was highlyncritical of consumerism and the capitalistndrive to acquire, his Soviet hostsnbelieved that they had in him an intellectualnwho could be useful to them inntheir appeal to his confreres in thenWest. They provided for his creaturencomforts and travel, and he, wrote fornPravda and the Soviet cinema while innthe country. For his part, Kazantzakisnfelt that his ideas, derived from HenrynBergson and Nietzsche and drawingnon Christianity, Buddhism and — ofncourse — the Greek classics, wouldnhave something to offer Russian culturenwhen it began to enter itsnpostcommunist phase.nA Soviet prison tour so impressednKazantzakis that he recounts for severalnpages the propaganda about rehabilitationnthrough labor and further remarksnon the good health of theninmates. When an acquaintance callednhim to task for his naivete, Kazantzakisnanswered in a manner that Machiavellinand Orwell both might ponder: “Onlynby yearning, deceiving and beingndeceived — in other words by believingn— can man change the face of thenearth.”nAnd yet, Kazantzakis was not reallyn