Scritture in filigrana. Note a margine della prima traduzione italiana di Mary Edith Durham, High Albania, Londra, 1909 (Nella Terra del Passato Vivente. La scoperta dell'Albania nell'Europa del primo Novecento, Lecce, 2016)


In the spring of 1908, the English artist and writer Edith Durham left Scutari on the way to High Albania, to visit lands barely explored by foreign travellers. Whereas a century before Lord Byron had celebrated Southern Albania, to which he dedicated several magnificent lines of his Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Northern regions remained shrouded in mystery: as Thomas Carlyle would put it, they were the lands of the "unspeakable Turk", the frontier between Islam and Christianity. Her journey into the unknown led Durham to learn about customs and traditions whose origins were lost in the mists of myth, a small universe close to the coasts of the eastern Adriatic, prodigiously remaining at the margins of time and history. The results of Durham's research were published in High Albania (1909), one of the most famous travel books about the tiny Balkan country. This paper deals with some features emerging from the first Italian translation of the Durham travelogue, in particular with the literary references which provided Durham with the methodological and conceptual coordinates that frame her insight into Albania.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22804250v7i1p205

Keywords: Comparative Literature; Albania; M. Edith Durham; Imagology; Travel Literature

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