September 23, 1871
Fishtë, Dajç, Lezhë, modern Albania, then Ottoman Empire
|Died||December 30, 1940
|Resting place||Shkodër, Albania|
|Occupation||Poet, writer, priest, translator, member of the Albanian parliament|
Gjergj Fishta (October 23, 1871 – December 30, 1940) was an Albanian Franciscan, poet, rilindas, and a translator. Notably he was the chairman of the commission of the Congress of Monastir, which sanctioned the Albanian alphabet. In 1921 he became the Vice President of the Albanian parliament, and in 1937 he completed and published his epic masterpiece Lahuta e Malcís, an epic poem written in Gheg dialect of Albanian. It contains 17,000 lines and is considered the "Albanian Iliad". Gjergj Fishta was the first Albanian candidate for the The Nobel Prize in Literature.
Born in Fishtë, Dajç (otherwise called Zadrimë), Lezhë, Albania (then Ottoman Empire), Fishta studied philosophy and Catholic theology in Bosnia (seminaries in Kraljeva Sutjeska, Livno, Kreševo), among Bosnian Croats. In 1902, he became the head of the Franciscan gymnasium in Shkodër (Collegium Illyricum). Fishta was under influence of Croatian Franciscan monks as a student in monasteries in Austria-Hungary, when he wrote his main work Lahuta e Malcís, influenced by the national epics of the Croatian and Montenegrin literature according to Robert Elsie. Elsie further hypothesized that in Lahuta e Malcís, he substituted the struggle against the Turks with struggle against the Slavs, propagating Anti-Slavic feelings. After the World War II the authorities in Yugoslavia and Albanian historiography controlled by communist regime in Tirana (influenced by Yugoslav communists) proscribed Fishta's works as anti-Slavic propaganda. In Soviet historiography he was referred to as "former agent of Austro-Hungarian imperialism" who took position against Slavic people and Pan-Slavism because they opposed "rapacious plans of Austro-Hungarian imperialism in Albania" and had a role in Catholic Clergy's preparation "for Italian aggression against Albania".
These allegations actually were not truth, since the other things were in the background of these accusations. Gjergj Fishta was highly influenced by Slav Croats, especially from Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian Croat, albanologist, friar and writer Lovro Mihačević instilled the love for literature and Fishta's mother tongue. While living in Bosnia, Fishta met two Croat writers and became friend with them: Bosnian Croat Grga Martić and Croatian Croat Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević who at that time lived in Bosnia. Both awakened literay instinct in Fishta. Later he was influenced by the works of Croatian writers Andrija Kačić Miošić and Ivan Mažuranić.
Fishta participated and was elected for president of the committee in the Congress of Monastir (today Bitola in Macedonia, then Ottoman Empire) held in 1908. Participants of the congress accepted Fishta's proposal for the Latin Bashkimi alphabet to be the standard Albanian alphabet, rejecting proposals that the Arabic alphabet be used.
He interpreted Albania in the conference of Paris on 1919. From the beginning of April 1919 to 1920, he served as Secretary of the Albanian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. At the end of 1920, he was elected to parliament by Shkodër, and in 1921 he became the Vice President of the Albanian parliament. In 1924, Fishta supported Fan Noli in his attempt to found a democratic system in Albania. After the establishment of the Zogu Regime, Fishta left willingly to go into exile in Italy in 1925/26, before he resumed his position as teacher and writer in Shkodër, where he died in 1940.
Through both his work as a teacher as well as through his literary works, Fishta had a great influence on the development of the written form of his native Gheg Albanian. Fishta worked moreover as a translator (of Molière, Manzoni, Homer, et al.).
- Lahuta e Malcís, epic poem, (Zara, 1902)
- Anzat e Parnasit, satire, (Sarajevo, 1907)
- Pika voese më vonë ri botuar si Vallja e Parrizit, (Zara, 1909)
- Shqiptari i qytetnuem, melodrama, (1911)
- Vëllaznia apo Shën Françesku i Assisi-t, (1912)
- Juda Makabe, tragedy, (1914)
- Gomari i Babatasit, Shkodër, (1923)
- Mrizin e Zanave, Shkodër, (1924)
- Lahuta e Malcís (2d. ed.), Gesamtdruck, (Shkodër 1937). In English The Highland Lute, trans. by Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck. I. B. Tauris (2006) ISBN 1-84511-118-4
Fishta was editor of the magazine Hylli i Dritës (1913) and the newspaper Posta e Shypnisë (1916–1917).
- "Gjergj Fishta: Gjuha shqype" (in Albanian). kosova.albemigrant.com. May 5, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Mërgim KORÇA (December 26, 2010). "At Gjergj Fishta, A ishte vërtet fashist, siç e akuzonte diktatura" (in Albanian). Gazeta Shqiptare Online. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Çerçiz Loloçi. "Tereza, Murati dhe Ismail Kadare" (in Albanian: Kandidat për cmimin Nobel ka qenë njëherë edhe Gjergj Fishta, një klerik poliedrik, që pati edhe një mbështetje të fuqishme nga Vatikani, por nuk arriti ta fitonte. English: Gjergj Fishta, a polyhedric cleric, has been once a candidate for the Nobel prize, but he couldn’t win, despite having a strong support from Vatican). cercizloloci.4t.com. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Pater Gjergj Fishta (1871-1940)
- Elsie, Robert. "Gjergj Fishta, The Voice of The Albanian Nation". Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. "Fishta was not uninfluenced or unmoved by the literary achievements of the southern Slavs in the second half of the nineteenth century... the role played by Franciscan pater Grga Martic whose works served the young Fishta as a model... by the writings of an earlier Franciscan writer, Andrija Kacic-Miosic ...by the works of Croatian poet Ivan Mazhuranic... the Montenegrin poet-prince Petar Petrovic Njegos... His main work, the epic poem, Lahuta e Malcís(The highland lute), ... propagates anti-Slavic feelings and makes the struggle against the Ottoman occupants secondary."
- Detrez, Raymond; Pieter Plas (2005), Developing cultural identity in the Balkans: convergence vs divergence, Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang S.A., p. 220, ISBN 90-5201-297-0, "... substitution of the central motif of the fight against the Turks by that of the fight against Slavs."
- Elsie, Robert. "Gjergj Fishta, The Voice of The Albanian Nation". Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. "After the war, ... The official Tirana..., restricted its treatment of Fishta to an absolute minimum...the alleged anti-Slavic sentiments expressed in ‘The highland lute’ which caused the work and its author to be proscribed by the Yugoslav authorities,...‘The highland lute’ as anti-Slavic propaganda..."
- Elsie, Robert. "Gjergj Fishta, The Voice of The Albanian Nation". Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. "Great Soviet Encyclopaedia of Moscow, ...(March 1950): "The literary activities of the Catholic priest Gjergj Fishta reflect the role played by the Catholic clergy in preparing for Italian aggression against Albania. As a former agent of Austro-Hungarian imperialism, Fishta, ..., took a position against the Slavic peoples who opposed the rapacious plans of Austro-Hungarian imperialism in Albania. In his chauvinistic, anti-Slavic poem ‘The highland lute,’ this spy extolled the hostility of the Albanians towards the Slavic peoples, calling for an open fight against the Slavs.""
- Leksikon hrvatskih književnika BiH od najstarijih vremena do danas/Me-Mu Mirko Marjanović: Leksikon hrvatskih književnika BiH od najstarijih vremena do danas, Sarajevo: Matica hrvatska : Napredak, 2001., ISBN 9958-830-06-X, Template:COBISS.BH
- Elsie, Robert. "Gjergj Fishta, The Voice of The Albanian Nation". Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. "Great Soviet Encyclopaedia of Moscow, ...(March 1950): "the congress had elected Gjergj Fishta to preside over a committee... Sami Frashëri’s Istanbul alphabet which, though impractical for printing... a new Latin alphabet almost identical to Fishta’s Bashkimi alphabet..."."
- The information in this article is based on that in its German equivalent.
- Maximilian Lambertz: Gjergj Fishta und das albanische Heldenepos "Lahuta e Malsisë" – Laute des Hochlandes. Eine Einführung in die albanische Sagenwelt. Leipzig 1949.
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