Faik Konica image
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Born in March 15, 1875 / Died in December 5, 1942 / Albania / Albanian


Faik Konica (March 15, 1875 – December 15, 1942), born in Konitsa,[1] was one of the greatest figures of Albanian culture in the early decades of the twentieth century. Prewar Albanian minister to Washington, his literary review, Albania, became the focal publication of Albanian writers living abroad. Faik Konica wrote little in the way of literature, but as a stylist, critic, publicist and political figure he had a tremendous impact on Albanian writing and on Albanian culture at the time.

Konica was born on 15 March 1875 in the town of Konitsa,[1] Ottoman Empire, now in northern Greece, not far from the present Albanian border. After elementary schooling in Turkish in his native village, he studied at the Xavierian Shkodër Jesuit College in Shkodra which offered him not only some instruction in Albania but also an initial contact with central European culture and Western ideas. From there, he continued his schooling at the eminent French-language Imperial Galata secondary school (Galatasaray High School) in Istanbul.

In 1890, at the age of fifteen, he was sent to study in France where he spent the next seven years. After initial education at secondary schools in Lisieux (1890) and Carcassonne (1892), he registered at the University of Dijon, from which he graduated in 1895 in Romance languages and philology. After graduation, he moved to Paris for two years where he studied Medieval French literature, Latin and Greek at the famous Collège de France. He finished his studies at the prestigious Harvard University in the United States, although little is known of this period of his life. As a result of his highly varied educational background, he was able to speak and write Albanian, Greek, Italian, French, German, English and Turkish fluently.

Konica strove for a more refined Western culture in Albania, but he also valued his country's traditions. He was, for instance, one of the first to propagate the idea of editing the texts of older Albanian literature. In an article entitled "Për themelimin e një gjuhës letrarishte shqip", (On the foundation of an Albanian literary language), published in the first issue of Albania, Konica also pointed to the necessity of creating a unified literary language. He suggested the most obvious solution, that the two main dialects, Tosk and Gheg, should be fused and blended gradually. His own fluid style was highly influential in the refinement of southern Albanian Tosk prose writing, which decades later was to form the basis of the modern Albanian literary language (standard language).