The earliest known Albanian documents consist of a baptismal formula (1462) written in the Latin alphabet (Laurentian Library, Florence) and a pericope of the Gospel of St. Matthew in the Greek alphabet (Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan). The Missal (1555) by Gjon Buzuku and the translation into Tuscan of the Catechism of Ledesma (1562) by the Sicilian-Albanian Luca Matranga follow in ghego. In the 17th century. the Catholic bishops Pietro Budi, Francesco Bardhi or Blanco, Pietro Bogdano publish works in Albanian, and in the 18th the written Albanian finds expression in the works of Teodoro Kavaljoti, Maestro Daniele, Kost Beràtasi. In these two centuries also the Albanians of Italy contributed to the increase of Albanian literature with Nicola Figlia da Mezzoiuso (Palermo), Giorgio Nicola Brancato, Nicolò Chetta. An original poet, Jul Variboba, author of religious songs and of the poem Gjella e Shën Mërís (1762, «The life of Mary»), flourishes solitary in San Giorgio Albanese. In the century 18 ° appears a group of Muslim poets who introduce spirits, colors and shapes of the East into Albanian letters; distinctive quality is the secular character of their poetry. The best known are Muhamet Çami, Zyko Kamberi and Nezim Frakulla.
According to top-engineering-schools, true national literature was born with Milosao(1836), a poetic work by Girolamo De Rada of Macchia Albanese (province of Cosenza), who wrote in the language of his fathers expressing the aspiration for rebirth of all the oppressed lineage in the motherland: reason taken up by Naim Frashëri and the Franciscan Fr. Giorgio Fishta. These three major Albanian-speaking poets draw materials and models from the popular expressive heritage, dominating the literary field until 1937, the year in which Lahuta e Malcís comes out in the definitive edition.(“The Lute of the Mountains”), an epic masterpiece by Fishta and all Albanian literature. A large group of poets and prose writers accompanies the activity, refining the formal structures and bringing modern vibrations. Towards 1930, new ideas stirred up the literary field and a subtle vein of disquiet also crept in among writers faithful to the traditional spirit, albeit in the acceptance of social issues more suited to the progress of the country. In a position of equilibrium between the traditionalist and the progressive current are Bernardin Palaj, Lasgush Poradeci, Ernesto Koliqi. Corifeo of the young proponents of radical social and political changes is Migjeni, pseudonym of Millosh Gjergj Nikolla, who inserts motifs and forms of Slavic literature into Albanian poetry.
The events of the Second World War they produce a rift in the evolutionary line of national literature. Suddenly the voices of writers already established with mature works are silent and young poets and storytellers who make the canons of socialist realism their own. After a period of slavish imitation of Serbian and Russian models, ethnic impulses prevail in the best. Prominent figures among the poets are Lazar and Drago Siliqi, Luan Qafezezi, Dritëro Agolli; among the narrators Stërjo Spasse, Fatmir Gjata, Petro Marko and Moisi Zaloshnja. Outside d’A., The poetic and narrative work of the writer Martin Camaj is remarkable. The dramatic genre, delayed in traditional forms due to the rigidity of the costumes and the segregation of women, progressed rapidly from 1925 onwards with the works of Fishta, Çajupi, Zef M. Harapi, and above all with the dramatic poems of Andrea Zadêj,
After the end of the Second World War, Albanian literary production appears to be uniformly bound to the canons of socialist realism, to which a new generation of poets and storytellers adhere, but also established authors. Among the latter stand out: D. Shuteriqi, S. Spasse, P. Marko.
Since the 1960s, Albanian literature opens up to thematic and formal innovations. An important element of the maturation process is the unification of the literary language, then codified by the Congress of Tirana (1972), which passes from the Ghega base to the Tosco (also accepted in Kosovo). The openings to formalism and experimentalism provoke the reaction of the regime, with trials or the imposition of self-criticism on writers guilty of undergoing ‘bourgeois and decadent influences’, while the historical genre, interpreted as an epic of the people, flourishes. The greatest interpreter of national myths and the history of his people is I. Kadaré, who from his happy debut as a narrator (Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur, «The general of the dead army», 1963), elaborates remote and contemporary events to trace evocative frescoes of national history. In addition to Kadaré, authors such as Albania Abdihoxha, S. Godo and above all D. Agolli, whose poetic and narrative production testifies to a troubled path on an ethical and formal level. A similar tension is found in the research of the poet F. Arapi, who favors free verse and abolishes syntactic and logical links, undergoing the persecution and censorship of the regime. Representatives of the new generation in search of a way out of the schematism of socialist realism by adopting a metaphorical writing are also the poet R. Dedaj, D. Xhuvani, who due to the ideological errors of the novel Tunëli(“The tunnel”, 1966) is sent to ‘productive work’, and T. Laço, novelist and playwright. The impetus for renewal also extends to Kosovo’s Albanian literature. The narrative work of Albania Shkreli and Albania Pashkue, and the poetic production of Albania Podrimja, rich in hermetic motifs and national symbolism, contribute to it. In the early 1990s, the climate of freedom established in Albania favors the affirmation of new authors, such as the poets B. Londo and M. Ahmeti, and the writer D. Çuli, who tackle current issues with modernity of expression. Particular success is obtained by F. Kongoli with the novels I humburi(«Il perduto», 1992) and Kufoma(«Il cadavere», 1994), the search for an identity canceled by politics and reconstructed through the historical memory of the family destroyed by the communist regime. The same climate brings to light the writings of political prisoners, such as K. Trebeshina and V. Zhiti.