'Zorba is the larger- than- life passionate, earthy and unpredictable protagonist of Nikos Kazantzakis’ 1946 novel: Zorba the Greek. The original Greek title was The Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas, but as the novel was widely translated and it became renowned internationally it was eventually and extemporaneously renamed Zorba the Greek.
Interestingly, the Alexis character was actually based on a real person named Yorgis Zorbas, who was a friend and mentor to Kazantzakis.
As legend goes, it was Zorbas who taught Kazantzakis the art of fully living in each moment without regret or fear and most importantly with a deep feeling of awe, gratitude and wonder for whatever life presents – be it pleasure or pain – the “full catastrophe.” Ultimately, Zorbas embodies a childlike willingness to surrender (allow) and trust whatever life manifests moment by precious moment – the good, the bad, or the ugly
“Those who met him [Yorgis Zorbas] speak of a person free of social conventions, illiterate yet ingenious, and profoundly philosophical, which is why he touched Kazantzakis’ soul.”'