Regarded by Lord Byron as the best informed Englishman of his time about Greece and Albania, William Leake's insights into the region remain fresh and relevant today. First published in 1814, "Researches in Greece and Albania" is a classic survey of the languages spoken in Greece and the southern Balkans in the 19th century - Greek, Albanian, Wallachian (also known as Aromanian, Vlach and Koutzovlach) and Bulgarian - and their literatures. It is a seminal book for anyone interested in language and also sheds fascinating light on the culture and society of Greece and Albania in this period. While Ancient and Byzantine Greek had left their mark on European scholarship for centuries, until the publication of Leake's book very little was known in the English-speaking world about the vernacular languages actually spoken in the region. Leake was the first to give serious study to contemporary spoken Greek and his examination of the other languages of the region was equally ground-breaking. This important work offers impressively thorough summaries of the grammar and literatures of these languages and the pioneering linguist makes a wonderful guide to Greece and Albania in this period.
William Martin Leake (1777-1860) was a topographer and antiquarian whose survey of Albania and the Peloponnese after his arrival there as a captain in the British army established him as an expert in the region. He was the author of ten book and numerous articles about the region including Travels in Northern Greece, Topography of Athens and Travels in the Morea.