Robert Elsie

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Robert Elsie
Born (1950-06-29) June 29, 1950 (age 66)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Awards Albanian Medal of Gratitude
Academic work
Main interests Albanian history, culture
Notable works Albanian Literature : A Short History
The Highland Lute (Lahuta e Malcís): The Albanian National Epic.

Robert Elsie (born 1950) is a scholar who specializes in Albanian literature and folklore.


Born on June 29, 1950 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Elsie studied at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1972 with a diploma in Classical Studies and Linguistics. In the following years, he continued his post-graduate studies at the Free University of Berlin, at the École Pratique des Hautes Études and at the University of Paris IV: Paris-Sorbonne, at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in Ireland, and at the University of Bonn, where he finished his doctorate on Linguistics and Celtic Studies in 1978 at the Linguistics Institute.

From 1978 on, Elsie visited Albania several times with a group of students and professors from the University of Bonn. For several years, he also attended the International Seminar on Albanian Language, Literature and Culture, held in Prishtina, Kosovo. From 1982 to 1987, he worked for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bonn, and from 2002 to 2013 for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, in particular as an interpreter for several noted cases including the trial of Slobodan Milošević.

As a translator Robert Elsie offers the reader “a selection of songs from the best known cycle of Albanian epic verse”.[1]


Elsie, a writer, translator, interpreter, and specialist in Albanian studies,[2] is the author of numerous books and articles, focusing on various aspects of Albanian culture and affairs.


The below are selected publications (author, editor or translator). Robert Elsie has published about 60 books in English, Albanian or German, of which he was author or editor.

  • Robert Elsie, editor (2006). Balkan Beauty, Balkan Blood : Modern Albanian Short Stories (Writings from an Unbound Europe). Northwestern University Press. ISBN 0-8101-2336-3. 
  • Robert Elsie (2006). Albanian Literature: A Short History. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1-84511-031-5. 
  • Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck, editors (2004). Songs of the Frontier Warriors: Kenge Kreshnikesh--Albanian Epic Verse in a Bilingual English-Albanian Edition. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers; Bilingual edition. ISBN 0-86516-412-6. 
  • Visar Zhiti, Robert Elsie (Translator) (2004). The Condemned Apple : Selected Poetry. Green Integer; Bilingual edition. ISBN 1-931243-72-7. 
  • Robert Elsie (2011). Historical Dictionary of Kosovo. Historical Dictionaries of Europe. 79. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-7231-8. 
  • Robert Elsie (2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania. Historical Dictionaries of Europe. 75. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6188-6. 
  • Robert Elsie (2013). Leo Freundlich: Die Albanische Korrespondenz, Agenturmeldungen aus Krisenzeiten. Oldenburg Verlag. ISBN 978-3-486-70716-8. 
  • Robert Elsie (2013). Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-78076-431-3. 
  • Robert Elsie (2013). The Cham Albanians of Greece: A Documentary History. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-780760-00-1. 
  • Robert Elsie (2013). The Balkans Wars: British Consular reports from Macedonia in the Final Years of the Ottoman Empire. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-780760-76-6. 


  • Albania gratitude.png Medal of Gratitude (Albania, 15 May 2013) – decorated by President of Albania Bujar Nishani. Robert Elsie received the honour for his contributions as a scholar for over 35 years focusing and internationally promoting the "culture, language, literature and history of Albanians" alongside the "positive image of Albania in the world".[3] Offering his gratitude, President Nishani referred to Elsie as "a good Albanian".[3]


  1. ^ John Kolsti. "Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck, eds. and trans.". Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Robert Elsie | Authors | Macmillan". 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2012-06-26. 
  3. ^ a b "President Nishani awards the Medal of Gratitude to the distinguished Albanologist Robert Elsie". Retrieved 8 June 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)

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