Although best known as an eminent classical archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans was also passionately interested in the history of Albania. An authority on ancient Illyria, his sophisticated sense of the region's ancient roots infused his understanding of the complex culture and politics of the Balkans in the 19th century and combined to make him an authoritative and entertaining guide to this important subject. In "Albanian Letters", Evans not only explores the implications of the key political events of this period (for example, the formation of the Albanian League in 1878) but also paints a vivid picture of the country's complex social and cultural make-up. In the late 19th century, the questions of nationalism and national identity were a major preoccupation for Albanians."Albanian Letters" looks at how Albanians' views of their homeland were affected by developments taking place at the time, including increasing awareness of ethnic differences, population migration and changes to its distinctive culture and tradition. "Albanian Letters" offers a vivid snapshot of a nation at a critical period in its development.
Sir Arthur Evans was born in 1851 and educated at Harrow School, Brasenose College, Oxford and the University of Gottingen. He is most famous for his work on the palace of Knossos in Crete, which he identified as the centre of the thriving civilisation he dubbed 'Minoan', but he was also passionately interested in the history and archaeology of the Balkans and travelled extensively in the area as the regional correspondent for the Manchester Guardian in the 1880s. From 1884 to 1908 he was Curator of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford and his numerous books include The Palace of Minos, Scripta Minoa, The Adriatic Slavs and the Overland Route to Constantinople and Ancient Illyria (I.B.Tauris).