In the year 1858, the events in the Balkans aroused the attention of the European public. The Illustrirte Zeitung [illustrated newspaper], which was published in Leipzig, provided its readers not only with in-depth reportages about these events, but also with pictures. The illustrator Felix Kanitz, who travelled five decades long for ethnographical studies and art history through the Balkans, started focusing on the region while he witnessed the events in 1858. Kanitz’s reports for the Illustrirte Zeitung included ethnographic descriptions in text and pictures; another author who didn’t sign the articles concentrated on the political and social circumstances, which make the Illustrirte Zeitung an interesting source. Metaphors used in this weekly newspaper contributed to the narrative of the uncivilized and rough people in the Balkans, which is reflected in descriptions of the landscape. In this narrative the element of Serbian roots stated by ethnographers like Felix Kanitz competes with Austria’s aim to repress the feeling of belonging together within the region.
Eva T. Asboth: Europe through the Gaze of the “Illustrirte Zeitung” Anno 1858 Tracing the Narrative “The Balkans are Europe’s Powder Keg”