Traveler, Scholar, Political Adventurer

Traveler, Scholar, Political Adventurer: A Transylvanian Baron at the Birth of Albanian Independence: The memoirs of Franz Nopcsa

Edited and translated from the German by Robert Elsie
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Pages: 252
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7829/j.ctt6wpkrc
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  • Book Info
    Traveler, Scholar, Political Adventurer
    Book Description:

    The Austro-Hungarian aristocrat of Transylvanian origin, Baron Franz Nopcsa (1877-1933), was one of the most adventuresome travelers and scholars of Southeast Europe in the early decades of the twentieth century. He was also a paleontologist of renown and a noted geologist of the Balkan Peninsula : many of his assumptions have been confirmed by science. The Memoirs of this fascinating figure deal mainly with his travels in the Balkans, and specifically in the remote and wild mountains of northern Albania, in the years from 1903 to 1914. They thus cover the period of Ottoman Rule, the Balkan Wars and the outbreak of the First World War. Nopcsa was a keen adventurer who hiked through regions of northern Albania. With time, he became a leading expert in Albanian studies. He was also deeply involved in the politics of the period. In 1913, Nopcsa even offered himself as a candidate for the vacant Albanian throne. The Introduction also tells of Nopcsa’s tragic death: he shot his Albanian secretary and partner before killing himself. The memoirs themselves reveal some references to his homosexuality for those who can read between the lines.

    eISBN: 978-615-5225-81-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    Robert Elsie

    The Austro-Hungarian aristocrat, Baron Franz Nopcsa (1877–1933), was one of the most adventuresome travelers and scholars of southeastern Europe in the early decades of the twentieth century. Together with the inveterate English traveler and author Edith Durham (1863–1944), whom he speaks of as an old friend, he brought Albania and the Albanians to the attention of the Western world. It would be no exaggeration to state that he knew the country and its people better than any foreigner of his day. Baron Nopcsa not only has a well-deserved place in Albanian studies, he was also a palaeontologist of...

  4. Part I Initial Travels (1903–1904)
    (pp. 1-10)

    I was in Constantinople in November 1903. Our consul Para,² whom I had got to know earlier, arrived while I was staying with Louis Drašković and, as I intended to go to Skopje, he invited me to accompany him on his return journey. I willingly accepted Para’s invitation as it also offered me an opportunity to visit Athens for the second time. We traveled to Salonika first where Consul General Hickl was serving as our diplomatic representative and where Para introduced me to the German Club. No incident worth mentioning occurred in the course of the journey. In and around...

  5. Part II Research in Albania (1905–1910)
    (pp. 11-78)

    I began my travel for my Albanian research projects in 1905. At the end of August, I journeyed to Cetinje where I met our envoy, Kuhn von Kuhnenfeld23and his wife, Countess Anna Ráday, once again. On this occasion, my name was registered with Prince Nikita and, in the afternoon, I went with the Kuhns to play tennis at the home of Princess Jutta von Mecklenburg.24The sly peasant Prince Nicholas of Montenegro and his wife came around that day and I was introduced to them. Jutta was very nice though. I played with her against the French envoy, Marquis...

  6. Part III Between the Annexation and the Balkan War (1910–1912)
    (pp. 79-146)

    Consul General Kral was transferred away from Shkodra in January 1910. He told me before he left that I would have greater difficulty traveling in Albania under his successor. I myself left Shkodra in mid-January, not knowing that it would be a long time before I could return to my geological research there.

    I thus left Albania not long after the definitive departure of Consul General Kral. His successor, Consul General Zambaur,109did indeed make travel in Albania impossible for me and it was at this time that I began to take an active interest in politics. At this juncture,...

  7. Part IV From the Balkan War to the World War (1912–1914)
    (pp. 147-204)

    The Balkan War spread slowly, like a gnawing disease. Skopje was taken by the Albanian rebels in the period before the war. The conflict broke out in Berane with an exchange of fire between Turkish and Montenegrin troops. When the exchange was reported in the press, I telegraphedDie Zeit, informing them that it indeed signalled the beginning of the Balkan War.

    The Young Turks had unwittingly brought about the dissolution of the Turkish State and paved the way for the creation of the Balkan League. With their capture of Skopje, the Albanians, who were actually very minor players, brought...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 205-216)
  9. Index of Personal and Place Names
    (pp. 217-225)
  10. Glossary of Place Names
    (pp. 226-228)
  11. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-229)