Ivo Andrić

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Ivo Andrić
Andric Ivo.jpg
Born Ivan Andrić
(1892-10-09)9 October 1892
Travnik, Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary
Died 13 March 1975(1975-03-13) (aged 82)
Belgrade, SR Serbia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Resting place New Cemetery, Belgrade
Citizenship Yugoslav
Occupation Writer, diplomat, politician
Spouse(s) Milica Babić (1958–68; her death)
Awards Nobel Prize in Literature (1961)
Legion of Honour (1933)

Ivo Andrić (Serbian Cyrillic: Иво Андрић, pronounced [ǐːʋɔ ǎːndritɕ]; 9 October 1892 – 13 March 1975) was a Yugoslav novelist, poet and short story writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961. His writings dealt mainly with life in his native Bosnia under Ottoman rule.

Born in Travnik in Austrian-occupied Bosnia, Andrić attended high school in Sarajevo, where he became an active member of several South Slav national youth organizations. Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, Andrić was arrested and imprisoned by the Austro-Hungarian police. As the authorities were unable to build a strong case against him, he was placed under house arrest for much of the war, only being released following a general amnesty for such cases in July 1917. After the war, he studied South Slavic history and literature at universities in Zagreb and Graz, eventually attaining his Ph.D in Graz in 1924. Between 1920 and 1941, he worked in the diplomatic service of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1939, he was appointed Yugoslav ambassador to Germany but his tenure ended in 1941 with the German-led invasion of his country. Shortly after the invasion, Andrić returned to German-occupied Belgrade. He lived quietly in the city for the duration of World War II, writing some of his most important works, including the The Bridge on the Drina. Following the war, he was named to a number of ceremonial posts in Yugoslavia, which had come under communist rule at the war's end.

In 1961, the Nobel Committee awarded Andrić the Nobel Prize in Literature, selecting him over the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck and E.M. Forster. The Committee cited "the epic force with which he ... traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from his country's history". Andrić died in Belgrade in 1975.

Early life


The house in which Andrić was born.

Ivo Andrić[lower-alpha 1] was born in Travnik on 9 October 1892 while his mother Katarina Andrić (née Pejić) was in the town visiting relatives.[2] Andrić's parents were both Catholics, and he was their only child.[3] As ethnic identity in the Balkans is traditionally determined by one's religion, Andrić was considered Croat, though he later rejected this designation.[4] His father Antun was the eighth of eleven children (six sons and five daughters), most of whom died of tuberculosis before the age of 40.[2] At the time of Ivo's birth, Antun was a struggling silversmith. He resorted to working as a school janitor in Sarajevo,[5] where he lived with his wife and infant son.[3] Antun died of tuberculosis himself at the age of thirty-two.[6] Andrić was only two years old.[2]

Widowed and penniless, Andrić's mother took him to Višegrad and placed him in the care of her sister-in-law Ana and her husband Ivan Matković, an Austro-Hungarian police officer.[3] The couple were financially stable but childless, so they agreed to look after the infant and brought him up as their own.[5] In the meantime, Andrić's mother returned to Sarajevo seeking employment.[7]

Andrić was raised in a country that had changed little since the Ottoman period despite being mandated to Austrian rule at the Congress of Berlin in 1878.[7] Having lived there from an early age, he came to cherish Višegrad, calling it "my real home".[5] Though it was a small provincial town (or kasaba), it proved to be an enduring source of inspiration. From an early age, Andrić closely observed the customs of the local people.[7] These customs, and the particularities of life in eastern Bosnia, would later be detailed in his works.[8] Andrić made his first friends in Višegrad, playing with them along the Drina River and the town's famous Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge.[9]

Primary and secondary education

Sarajevo, c. 1914

At age six, Andrić began primary school.[9] He later recounted that these were the happiest days of his life.[7] At the age of ten, he received a three-year scholarship from a Croat cultural group called Napredak (Progress) to study in Sarajevo.[8] In the autumn of 1902,[9] he was registered at the Great Sarajevo Gymnasium (Serbo-Croatian: Velika Sarajevska gimnazija),[8] the oldest secondary school in Bosnia.[9] While in Sarajevo, Andrić lived with his mother, who worked in a rug factory.[8] At the time, the city was overflowing with civil servants from all parts of Austria-Hungary, and thus many languages could be heard in its restaurants, cafés and on its streets. Culturally, the city boasted a strong Germanic element, and the curriculum in educational institutions was designed to reflect this. From a total of 83 teachers that worked at Andrić's school over a twenty-year period, only three were natives of Bosnia and Herzegovina. "The teaching program," biographer Celia Hawkesworth notes, "was devoted to producing dedicated supporters of the [Habsburg] Monarchy." Andrić disapproved. "All that came ... at secondary school and university," he wrote, "was rough, crude, automatic, without concern, faith, humanity, warmth or love."[9]

Andrić experienced difficulty in his studies, finding mathematics particularly challenging, and had to repeat the sixth grade. For a time, he lost his scholarship due to poor grades.[8] Hawkesworth attributes Andrić's initial lack of academic success at least partly to his alienation from most of his teachers.[6] Nonetheless, Andrić excelled in languages, particularly Latin, Greek and German. Although he initially showed substantial interest in natural sciences, he later began focusing on literature, likely under the influence of his two Croat instructors, writer and politician Đuro Šurmin and poet Tugomir Alaupović. Of all his teachers in Sarajevo, Andrić liked Alaupović best, and the two became lifelong friends.[8] The young Andrić's literary interests varied greatly, ranging from the Classics to the works of Central and Western European authors such as Victor Hugo and Joseph Conrad. He also read a great deal of Polish literature, and later stated that it had greatly influenced him. He held several South Slav writers in high esteem, particularly Vuk Karadžić, Njegoš, Petar Kočić and Aleksa Šantić.[8]

Andrić felt he was destined to become a writer. He began writing in secondary school, but received little encouragement from his mother. He recalled that when he showed her one of his first works, she replied: "Did you write this? What did you do that for?"[6] Andrić published his first two poems in 1911 in a journal called Bosanska vila (Bosnian Fairy), which promoted Serbo-Croat unity. At the time, he was still a secondary school student. Prior to World War I his poems, essays, reviews, and translations appeared in journals such as Vihor (Whirlwind), Savremenik (The Contemporary), Hrvatski pokret (The Croatian Movement), and Književne novine (Literary News). One of Andrić’s favorite literary forms was lyrical reflective prose, and many of his essays and shorter pieces are prose poems. The historian Wayne S. Vucinich describes Andrić’s poetry from this period as "subjective and mostly melancholic". Andrić’s translations of August Strindberg, Walt Whitman, and a number of Slovene authors also appeared around this time.[10]

Student activism

The whole of our society is snoring ungracefully; only the poets and revolutionaries are awake.

~ Andrić's view of pre-war Sarajevo.[11]

In 1908, Austria-Hungary officially annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the chagrin of South Slav nationalists like Andrić.[12] In late 1911, Andrić was elected the first president of the Serbo-Croat Progressive Movement (Serbo-Croatian: Srpsko-Hrvatska Napredna Organizacija; SHNO),[lower-alpha 2] a Sarajevo-based secret society that promoted unity and friendship between Serb and Croat youth and opposed the Austro-Hungarian occupation. Its members were vehemently criticized by both Serb and Croat nationalists, who dismissed them as "traitors to their nations".[14] Unfazed, Andrić continued his anti-Habsburg activities. On 28 February 1912, he spoke before a crowd of 100 students at Sarajevo's railway station, urging them to continue their demonstrations. The Austro-Hungarian police later began harassing and prosecuting SHNO members. Ten were expelled from their schools or penalized in some other way, though Andrić himself escaped punishment.[15] Andrić also joined a South Slav student movement known as Young Bosnia, and became one of its most prominent members.[16]

In 1912, Andrić registered at the University of Zagreb, having received a scholarship from an educational foundation in Sarajevo.[6] He enrolled in the department of mathematics and natural sciences because these were the only fields for which scholarships were offered, but was able to take some courses in Croatian literature. Andrić was well received by South Slav nationalists there, and regularly participated in on-campus demonstrations. This led to his being reprimanded by the university. After completing two semesters in Zagreb, Andrić transferred to the University of Vienna, where he resumed his studies. While in Vienna, he joined South Slav students in promoting the cause of Yugoslav unity and worked closely with two Yugoslav student societies, the Serbian cultural society Zora (Dawn) and the Croatian student club Zvonimir, which shared his views on "integral Yugoslavism" (the eventual assimilation of all South Slav cultures into one).[10]

Despite finding like-minded students in Vienna, the city's climate took a toll on Andrić's health.[17] He contracted tuberculosis and became seriously ill, then asked to leave Vienna on medical grounds and continue his studies elsewhere, though Hawkesworth believes he may actually have been taking part in a protest of South Slav students that were boycotting German-speaking universities and transferring to Slavic ones.[6] For a time, Andrić had considered transferring to Russia, but ultimately decided to complete his fourth semester at Jagiellonian University in Kraków.[17] He transferred in early 1914,[6] and continued to publish translations, poems and reviews.[17]

World War I

Andrić was arrested following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (illustration pictured).

On 28 June 1914, Andrić learned of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.[18] The assassin was Gavrilo Princip, a Young Bosnian and close friend of Andrić who had been one of the first to join the SHNO in 1911.[14][lower-alpha 3] Upon hearing the news, Andrić decided to leave Kraków and return to Bosnia. He travelled by train to Zagreb, and in mid-July, departed for the coastal city of Split with his friend, the poet and fellow South Slav nationalist Vladimir Čerina.[17] Andrić and Čerina spent the rest of July at the latter's summer home. As the month progressed, the two began feeling increasingly uneasy about the escalating political crisis that followed the Archduke's assassination and eventually led to the outbreak of World War I. They then went to Rijeka. There, Čerina left Andrić without offering any explanation, only saying that he urgently needed to go to Italy. Several days later, Andrić learned that Čerina was being sought by the police.[18]

By the time war was declared, Andrić had returned to Split feeling exhausted and ill. Given that most of his friends had already been arrested for nationalist activities, he was certain the same fate would befall him.[18] Despite not being involved in the assassination plot,[20] on 4 August, Andrić was arrested for "anti-state activities" and imprisoned in Split.[17] From there, he was transferred to a prison in Šibenik, then to Rijeka and finally to Maribor, where he arrived on 19 August.[21] Plagued by tuberculosis, Andrić passed the time reading, talking to his cellmates and learning languages.[17]

By the following year, the case against Andrić was dropped due to lack of evidence, and he was released from prison on 20 March 1915.[21] The authorities exiled him to the village of Ovčarevo, near Travnik. He arrived there on 22 March and was placed under the supervision of local Franciscan monks. Andrić soon befriended the friar Alojzije Perčinlić and began researching the history of the Catholic and Orthodox religious communities under Ottoman rule.[17] Andrić lived in the parish headquarters, and the Franciscans gave him access to the monastery chronicles. In return, he assisted the parish priest and taught religious songs to pupils at the monastery school. Andrić's mother soon came to see her son, and offered to serve as a housekeeper for the parish priest.[22] "Mother is very happy," Andrić wrote. "It has been three whole years since she saw me. And she can't grasp all the has happened to me in that time, nor the whole of my crazy, cursed existence. She cries, kisses me and laughs in turn. Like a mother."[21]

Andrić was later transferred to a prison in Zenica, where Perčinlić regularly visited him. In March 1917, the Austro-Hungarian Army declared Andrić a political threat and exempted him from armed military service. He was thus registered with a non-combat unit until February of the following year.[22] On 2 July 1917, Emperor Charles I declared a general amnesty for all political prisoners on the territory of Austria-Hungary.[22] His freedom of movement restored, Andrić visited Višegrad, where he was reunited with several school friends. He remained in the town until July, when he was mobilized. Due to his poor health, Andrić was admitted to a Sarajevo hospital and thus avoided service. He was then transferred to the Reservospital in Zenica, where he was treated for several months before moving on to Zagreb.[22] There, Andrić again fell seriously ill and sought treatment at the Sisters of Mercy hospital, which had become a gathering ground for many former political prisoners.[23]

In January 1918, Andrić joined several other South Slav nationalist writers in editing a short-lived pan-Yugoslav periodical called Književni jug (Literary South).[22] Here and in other periodicals, Andrić published book reviews, plays, verse, and translations. Over the course of several months in early 1918, Andrić's health began to deteriorate, and his friends believed he was nearing death.[23] However, he recovered and spent the spring of 1918 in Krapina writing Ex ponto, a book of prose poetry which was published that July.[22] It was his first book.[24]

Interwar period

The end of World War I saw the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, which was replaced by a newly established South Slav state, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929).[23] In late 1918, Andrić re-enrolled at the University of Zagreb and resumed his studies from where he had left them prior to his internment.[22] By January 1919, he fell ill again and was back in hospital. Andrić's friend and fellow writer Ivo Vojnović became seriously worried for his life, and appealed to Andrić's old schoolteacher Tugomir Alaupović (who had just been appointed the new kingdom's Minister of Religious Affairs) to use his connections to help Andrić pay for treatment abroad.[24] In February, Andrić wrote Alaupović and asked for help finding a government job in Belgrade. Eventually, Andrić chose to seek treatment in Split, where he stayed for the following six months.[25] During his time on the Mediterranean coast, Andrić completed a second volume of prose poetry, titled Nemiri (Unrest),[lower-alpha 4] which was published the following year. By the time Andrić left, he had almost fully recovered, and quipped that he was cured by the "air, sun and figs."[24] Troubled by news that his uncle was seriously ill, Andrić left Split in August and went to Višegrad. He returned to Zagreb two weeks later.[25]

Early diplomatic career

A bust of Andrić in Graz, Austria

By 1919, Andrić had acquired his undergraduate degree in South Slavic history and literature at the University of Zagreb.[25] Yet, he was perennially impoverished, and earned a meagre sum through his writing and editorial work. By mid-1919, he realized that he would be unable to financially support himself and his aging mother, aunt and uncle for much longer, and his appeals to Alaupović for help securing a government job became more frequent. In September 1919, Alaupović offered him a secretarial position at the Ministry of Religion, which Andrić accepted.[25]

In late October, Andrić left for Belgrade.[26] He became involved in the city's literary circles and soon acquired the distinction of being one of Belgrade's most popular young writers. Though the Belgrade press wrote positively of him, Andrić disliked being a public figure, and went into seclusion and distanced himself from his fellow writers.[27] At the same time, he grew dissatisfied with his government job and wrote to Alaupović asking for a transfer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 20 February, Andrić's request was granted and he was assigned to the Foreign Ministry's mission at the Vatican.[25]

Andrić left Belgrade soon after, and reported for duty in late February. At this time, he published his first short story, Put Alije Đerzeleza (The Journey of Alija Đerzelez). Andrić soon requested another assignment, and in November, he was transferred to Bucharest.[28] Once again, his health deteriorated.[29] Nevertheless, Andrić found his consular duties did not require much effort, so he focused on writing, contributed articles to a Romanian journal and even had time to visit his family in Bosnia. In 1922, Andrić requested another reassignment. He was transferred to the consulate in Trieste, where he arrived on 9 December.[28] The city's damp climate only caused Andrić's health to deteriorate further, and on his doctor's advice, he transferred to Graz in January 1923.[30] He arrived in the city on 23 January, and was appointed vice-consul.[28] Andrić soon enrolled at the University of Graz, resumed his schooling and began working on his doctoral dissertation in Slavic studies.[30]


Andrić completed his doctoral dissertation at the University of Graz.

In August 1923, Andrić experienced an unexpected setback in his career. A law had been passed stipulating that all civil servants, especially those in the Foreign Ministry, had to have a doctoral degree. As Andrić had not completed his dissertation, he was informed that his employment would be terminated. Andrić's well-connected friends also intervened on his behalf and appealed to Foreign Minister Momčilo Ninčić, citing Andrić's diplomatic and linguistic abilities. In February 1924, the Foreign Ministry decided to retain Andrić as a day worker with the salary of a vice-consul. This gave him the opportunity to complete his Ph.D. On 24 May 1924, Andrić submitted his dissertation to a committee of examiners at the University of Graz, who gave it their approval.[28] This allowed Andrić to take the examinations necessary for his Ph.D to be confirmed. He passed both his exams, and on 13 July, received his Ph.D. The committee of examiners recommended Andrić's dissertation be published. Andrić chose the title Die Entwicklung des geistigen Lebens in Bosnien unter der Einwirkung der türkischen Herrschaft (The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia Under the Influence of Turkish Rule).[31] In it, he characterized the Ottoman occupation as a yoke that still loomed over Bosnia.[32] "The effect of Turkish rule was absolutely negative," he wrote. "The Turks could bring no cultural content or sense of higher mission, even to those South Slavs who accepted Islam."[33]

Several days after receiving his Ph.D, Andrić wrote the Foreign Minister asking to be reinstated and submitted a copy of his dissertation, university documents and a medical certification that deemed him to be in good health. In September, the Foreign Ministry granted his request. Andrić stayed in Graz until 31 October, when he was assigned to the Foreign Ministry's Belgrade headquarters. During the two years he was in Belgrade, Andrić spent much of his time writing.[31] His first collection of short stories was published in 1924, and he received a prize from the Serbian Royal Academy (of which he became a full-fledged member in February 1926). In October 1926, he was assigned to the consulate in Marseille and again appointed vice-consul.[34] On 9 December 1926, he was transferred to the Yugoslav embassy in Paris.[31] Andrić's time in France was marked by increasing loneliness and isolation. His uncle had died in 1924, his mother the following year, and upon arriving in France, he was informed that his aunt had died as well. "Apart from official contacts," he wrote Alaupović, "I have no company whatever."[34] Andrić spent much of his time in the Paris archives poring over the reports of the French consulate in Travnik from 1809–14, material he would use in Travnička hronika (Travnik Chronicle),[lower-alpha 5] one of his future novels.[31]

In April 1928, Andrić was posted to Madrid as vice-consul. While there, he wrote essays on Simón Bolívar and Francisco Goya, and began work on the novel Prokleta avlija (The Damned Yard). In June 1929, he was named secretary of the Yugoslav legation to Belgium and Luxembourg in Brussels.[31] On 1 January 1930, he was sent to Switzerland as part of Yugoslavia's permanent delegation to the League of Nations in Geneva, and was named deputy delegate the following year. In 1933, Andrić returned to Belgrade, and shortly thereafter France decorated him with the Legion of Honour. Two years later, he was named head of the political department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 5 November 1937, Andrić became assistant to Milan Stojadinović, Yugoslavia's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.[34]

World War II

Composed ... of priceless elements from unknown worlds, a man is born ... [only] to become a piece of nameless soot, and as such, to vanish. And we do not know for whose glory he is born, nor for whose amusement he is destroyed.

~ An excerpt from Andrić's only journal entry of 1940.[38]

On 28 March 1939, Andrić was appointed Yugoslavia's ambassador to Germany.[35] This appointment, Hawkesworth writes, demonstrates that he was highly regarded by the Yugoslav leadership.[27] In 1934, Yugoslavia's King Alexander had been assassinated in Marseille. He was succeeded by his ten-year-old son Peter, and a regency council led by Peter's uncle Paul was established to rule in his place until he turned eighteen. Paul's government established closer economic and political ties with Germany. In March 1941, Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact, pledging support for Germany and Italy. Andrić was highly critical of the move, and on 17 March, he wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking to be relieved of his duties. Ten days later, pro-Western Royal Yugoslav Air Force officers overthrew the regency and proclaimed Peter of age. This led to a breakdown in relations with Germany and prompted Adolf Hitler to order Yugoslavia's invasion.[39] Given these circumstances, Andrić's position as ambassador to Germany was an extremely difficult one.[38] Yet, he used the little influence he had to help Polish prisoners following the German invasion of Poland.[39]

Prior to their invasion of his country, the Germans offered Andrić the opportunity to evacuate to neutral Switzerland. He declined on the basis that his staff would not be allowed to go with him.[35] On 6 April 1941, the Germans and their allies invaded Yugoslavia. The country capitulated on 17 April and was subsequently partitioned between the Axis powers.[39] In early June, Andrić and his staff were taken back to German-occupied Belgrade, where some were jailed.[35] Andrić was retired from the diplomatic service but refused to receive his pension or cooperate in any way with the puppet government the Germans had installed in Serbia.[40] He was spared jail, but the Germans kept him under close surveillance throughout the occupation.[35] Because of his Croat heritage, they had offered him the chance to settle in Zagreb, then the capital of the fascist puppet state known as the Independent State of Croatia, but he declined.[41] Andrić spent the following three years in a friend's Belgrade apartment in conditions that some biographers liken to house arrest.[42] He directed most of his energies towards writing, and during this time, completed two of his best known novels, Na Drini ćuprija (The Bridge on the Drina) and Travnička hronika.[43]

In late spring 1942, Andrić sent a message of sympathy to Draža Mihailović, the leader of the royalist Chetniks, one of two resistance movements vying for power in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia, the other being Josip Broz Tito's communist Partisans.[41][lower-alpha 6] In 1944, Andrić was forced to leave his friend's apartment during the Allied bombing of Belgrade and evacuate the city. As he joined a column of refugees, he became ashamed that he was fleeing by himself, in contrast to the masses of people accompanied by their children, spouses and infirm parents. "I looked myself up and down," he wrote, "and saw I was saving only myself and my overcoat." Over the following several months, Andrić refused to leave the apartment, even during the heaviest bombing. That October, the Red Army and the Partisans drove the Germans out of Belgrade, and Tito proclaimed himself Yugoslavia's communist ruler.[40]

Later life

Political career and marriage

Andrić entertaining fellow writers in his Belgrade apartment

Andrić returned to public life once the Germans had been forced out of Belgrade.[35] Na Drini ćuprija was published in March 1945. It was followed by Travnička hronika that September and Gospođica (The Young Lady)[lower-alpha 7] that November. The first of these, Na Drini ćuprija, came to be regarded as Andrić's magnum opus and was proclaimed a classic of Yugoslav literature by the communist authorities.[43] It chronicles the history of the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge and the town of Višegrad from the bridge's construction in the 16th century until the outbreak of World War I. The second novel, Travnička hronika, follows a French diplomat in Bosnia during the Napoleonic Wars. The third, Gospođica, revolves around the life of a Sarajevan woman.[35]

In November 1946, Andrić was elected vice-president of the Society for the Cultural Cooperation of Yugoslavia with the Soviet Union. The same month, he was named president of the Yugoslav Writers' Union.[36] In 1947, he became a member of the People's Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[36] In 1948, Andrić published a collection of short stories he had written during the war.[35] His work came to influence writers such as Branko Ćopić, Vladan Desnica, Mihailo Lalić and Meša Selimović.[35] In April 1950, Andrić became a deputy in the National Assembly of Yugoslavia.[36] He held this position until 1953.[46] In 1952, he had been decorated by the Presidium of the National Assembly for his services to the Yugoslav people.[36] In 1954, Andrić published the novella Prokleta avlija (The Damned Yard), which tells of life in an Ottoman prison in Istanbul.[46] That December, he was admitted into the League of Communists, Yugoslavia's ruling communist party.[36] On 27 September 1958, the 66-year-old Andrić married Milica Babić, a costume designer at the National Theatre of Serbia who was almost twenty years his junior.[46] Earlier, he had announced it was "probably better" that a writer never marry. "He was perpetually persecuted by a kind of fear," a close friend recalled. "It seemed as though he had been born afraid, and that is why he married so late. He simply did not dare enter that area of life."[47]

Nobel Prize, international recognition and death

Andrić with his wife Milica (right) upon learning he had won the Nobel Prize in Literature

By the late 1950s, Andrić's works had been translated into a number of languages. On 26 October 1961, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature by the Swedish Academy.[47] Documents released 50 years later revealed that the Nobel Committee had selected Andrić over the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck and E.M. Forster.[48][49] The Committee cited "the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from his country's history".[50] Once the news was announced, Andrić's Belgrade apartment was overcome by reporters, and he publicly thanked the Nobel Committee for selecting him as the winner of that year's prize.[47]

The Nobel Prize ensured Andrić received global recognition. The following March, he fell ill while on a trip to Cairo and had to return to Belgrade for an operation. He was thus obliged to cancel all promotional events in Europe and North America, but his works continued to be reprinted and translated into numerous languages. Judging by letters he had written at the time, Andrić felt burdened by the attention but did his best not to show it publicly.[51]

On 16 March 1968, Andrić's wife died. Nearing seventy-six at the time of her death, his health deteriorated steadily and he travelled little in his final years. He continued to write until 1974, when his health took another turn for the worse. In December 1974, he was admitted to a Belgrade hospital.[51] He soon fell into a coma, and died in the Military Medical Academy at 1:15 a.m. on 13 March 1975, aged 82. Andrić's body was cremated, and on 24 April, the urn carrying his ashes was buried in the Alley of Distinguished Citizens at Belgrade's New Cemetery. The ceremony was attended by some 10,000 people.[52]


Andrić signing books at the Belgrade Book Fair

Andrić received numerous honours and awards from his own country, including the Order of the Republic and Order of the Hero of Socialist Labour.[53] Besides being a member of the Yugoslav and Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, he was also a correspondent of their Bosnian and Slovenian counterparts. He was bestowed honorary doctorates by the universities of Belgrade, Sarajevo and Kraków.[46] Shortly before his death, Andrić stated that he wished for all of his possessions to be preserved as an endowment to be used for "general cultural and humanitarian purposes". In March 1976, an administrative committee decided that the purpose of the endowment would be to promote the study of Andrić's work, as well as art and literature in general. It has since organized a number of international conferences, made grants to foreign scholars studying Andrić's works and offered financial aid to cover the publication costs of books covering Andrić's life and art. An annual yearbook, titled Sveske Zadužbine Ive Andrića (The Journals of the Ivo Andrić Endowment), is published by the organization. Andrić's will also stipulated that an award be given annually to the author of that year's best collection of short stories.[53]

The street that runs beside Novi dvor, now the seat of the President of Serbia, was posthumously named Andrićev venac (Andrić's Crescent) in his honour.[54][55] It also includes a life-size statue of the writer; the flat where he spent his final years (now Andrićev venac 8.) has been turned into a museum.[54] The museum was opened more than a year after Andrić's death and houses book, manuscripts, documents, photographs and some of his other belongings.[53] Several of Serbia's other major cities, such as Novi Sad and Kragujevac, have streets named after him.[56][57] Streets in a number of cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as Sarajevo, Tuzla, and Višegrad, also carry his name.[58][59][60]

The historian Bojan Aleskov considers Andrić one of the two central pillars of Serbian literature, the other being Njegoš.[61] Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Andrić was largely shunned by Croatia's literary establishment due to his Serb orientation.[62] His works were also dismissed by Bosniak nationalists, who objected to his ostensibly negative portrayal of Muslim characters.[63] Andrić's most vocal Bosniak detractors were Šukrija Kurtović, Adil Zulfikarpašić, Muhamed Filipović and Muhsin Rizvić, who accused him of everything from peddling Serbian nationalist ideology, chauvinism and plagiarism, and made ad hominem remarks insinuating that he was a homosexual. Some went so far as to call for his Nobel Prize to be taken away. A few of these scholars censured Andrić in the late 1950s, but most Bosniak criticism of his works appeared in the period immediately preceding the breakup of Yugoslavia and in the aftermath of the Bosnian War.[64] In early 1992, a Bosniak nationalist in Višegrad destroyed a statue of Andrić with a sledgehammer.[65] Twenty years later, in 2012, the award-winning filmmaker Emir Kusturica and Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik unveiled another statue of Andrić in Višegrad, this time as part of the construction of an ethno-town called Andrićgrad, sponsored by Kusturica and the Government of Republika Srpska.[66] In June 2014, Andrićgrad was officially opened on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.[67]

Explanatory notes

  1. Ivo is a diminutive of Andrić's birth name, Ivan. "Ivan" was used on his birth and marriage certificates, but all other documents read "Ivo".[1]
  2. The full name of the group was The Croat-Serb or Serb-Croat or Yugoslav Progressive Youth Movement.[13]
  3. On one occasion, Princip asked Andrić to examine a poem he had written. Later, when Andrić inquired about the poem, Princip told him that he had destroyed it.[19]
  4. "Unrest" is Vucinich's translation of the title.[25] Hawkesworth translates it as "Anxieties".[24]
  5. Hawkesworth and Vucinich translate Travnička hronika as "Bosnian Story".[35][36] "Travnik Chronicle" is a more accurate translation.[37]
  6. In early 1944, there were rumours that Andrić and several other prominent Serbian writers were planning to join the Chetniks. This may have been Chetnik propaganda to counteract the news that a number of intellectuals were swearing allegiance to the Partisans.[44]
  7. "The Woman from Sarajevo" is Hawkesworth and Vucinich's translation of the title.[35][36] A more literal translation is the "The Young Lady".[45]


  1. The Ivo Andrić Foundation.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Juričić 1986, p. 1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 11.
  4. Hoare 2007, p. 90.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Juričić 1986, p. 2.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 14.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Vucinich 1995, p. 1.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Vucinich 1995, p. 2.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 13.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Vucinich 1995, p. 28.
  11. Dedijer 1966, p. 230.
  12. Vucinich 1995, p. 20.
  13. Malcolm 1996, p. 153.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Dedijer 1966, p. 216.
  15. Vucinich 1995, pp. 26–27.
  16. Hawkesworth 1984, p. 41.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Vucinich 1995, p. 29.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 15.
  19. Dedijer 1966, p. 194.
  20. Dedijer 1966, p. 233.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 16.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 Vucinich 1995, p. 30.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 17.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 18.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Vucinich 1995, p. 31.
  26. Hawkesworth 1984, p. 19.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 20.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Vucinich 1995, p. 32.
  29. Hawkesworth 1984, p. 22.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 23.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Vucinich 1995, p. 33.
  32. Carmichael 2015, p. 62.
  33. Malcolm 1994, p. 100.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 24.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 35.6 35.7 35.8 35.9 Vucinich 1995, p. 34.
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 36.6 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 28.
  37. Google Translate, Travnička hronika.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 25.
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 26.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 27.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Pavlowitch 2008, p. 97.
  42. Juričić 1986, p. 55.
  43. 43.0 43.1 Wachtel 1998, p. 156.
  44. Tomasevich 1975, p. 193, note 55.
  45. Google Translate, Gospođica.
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 Vucinich 1995, p. 35.
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 29.
  48. BBC News 6 January 2012.
  49. Flood 5 January 2012.
  50. Frenz 1999, p. 561.
  51. 51.0 51.1 Hawkesworth 1984, p. 30.
  52. Popović 1989, p. 112.
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 Vucinich 1995, p. 36.
  54. 54.0 54.1 Norris 2008, p. 100.
  55. Norris 2008, p. 237.
  56. Google Maps, Novi Sad.
  57. Google Maps, Kragujevac.
  58. Google Maps, Sarajevo.
  59. Google Maps, Tuzla.
  60. Google Maps, Višegrad.
  61. Aleksov 2009, p. 273.
  62. Cornis-Pope 2010, p. 569.
  63. Snel 2004, p. 210.
  64. Rakić 2000, pp. 81–91.
  65. Silber 20 September 1994.
  66. Jukic 29 June 2012.
  67. Aspden 27 June 2014.

Works cited

External links