Orestes Asteriadis, a doctoral candidate in Paris, is preparing a learned treatise entitled New Testament, in which he pronounces a new religion. On 25th March he delivers a speech to his compatriots and fellow students at the tomb of Adamantios Korais, in which he urges them to participate in preparing a great intellectual revolution. They jeer at him and interrupt his profound speech.
Close to Orestes are Chryssoula, a weak-willed young woman who lives with him, and Gorgias, a pedantic, ageing man of letters haunted by his past, who is secretly in love with Chryssoula. Added to them is Nora, the femme fatale who distracts Orestis from his intellectual mission and lures him into the trap of sensual love, only to abandon him later.
Orestis ends up as a vagrant on the streets of Paris, Gorgias is killed in a car crash and Chyrsoula falls ill and dies.
Written in Paris in 1908. Kazantzakis intended it to be one part of a trilogy, which was also to include Life the Empress and God-Man. He never actually wrote these, though in December 1909 he did publish "A portrait from Life the Empress" in Pinakothiki literary magazine.
- Petros Psiloritis [=N. Kazantzakis], "Spasmenes Psiches", serialised in Noumas, vol. 7, issue 355 (30.8.1909) to vol. 8, issue 378 (7.2.1910)