M. Edith Durham

(1863 - 1944)

Born into what one biographer called a “self-consciously progressive mid-Victorian family,” M. Edith Durham cared for her ailing mother after her father’s death in 1895—a task from which she desperately sought escape. She suffered a nervous breakdown, secured an “alarmingly worded” doctor’s note, demanded time off, and traveled in 1900 to the Balkans for the first of many trips to the region. Her focus on the topic of revenge in Albania in High Albania, her best-known work, led one reviewer to complain that the text “literally reeks of blood.” She died in 1944 at the age of eighty-one; her obituary in the Guardian, which often printed her writing, concluded that she “abandoned art for travel.”

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