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Ivo Andrić

Born October 9, 1892(1892-10-09)
Dolac (village near Travnik), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Died March 13, 1975 (aged 82)
Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
Occupation Novelist, short story writer
Nationality Yugoslav
Notable award(s) Nobel prize winner.svg Nobel Prize in Literature (1961)

Ivo Andrić (Serbian Cyrillic: Иво Андрић) (October 9, 1892 – March 13, 1975) was a Yugoslav novelist[1][2], short story writer, and the 1961 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature[3]. His writings dealt mainly with life in his native Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire. His native house in Travnik has been transformed into a Museum and is open for visiting.



Andrić was born on October 9, 1892, to a Catholic family of Bosnian Croats in Travnik, mahala Zenjak number 9, Bosnia and Herzegovina, then part of the Ottoman Empire, under control of Austria-Hungary. Originally named Ivan, he became known by the diminutive Ivo. When Andrić was two years old, his father Antun died. Because his mother Katarina was too poor to support him, he was raised by his mother's family in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad on the river Drina. There he saw the Ottoman Bridge, later made famous in his novel The Bridge on the Drina (Na Drini ćuprija).[4]

Andrić attended the Jesuit gymnasium in Travnik, followed by Sarajevo's gymnasium and later the universities in Zagreb, Vienna, Kraków and Graz. Because of his political activities, Andrić was imprisoned by the Austrian government during World War I (first in Maribor and later in the Doboj detention camp) alongside other pro-Yugoslav civilians.

Under the newly-formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) Andrić became a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Faiths and then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he pursued a successful diplomatic career as Deputy Foreign Minister and later Ambassador to Germany. He was also a delegate of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at the 19th, 21st, 23rd and 24th sessions of the League of Nations.[5] Andrić greatly opposed the movement of Stjepan Radić, the president of the Croatian Peasant Party. His ambassadorship ended in 1941 after the German invasion of Yugoslavia. During World War II, Andrić lived quietly in Belgrade, completing the three of his most famous novels which were published in 1945, including The Bridge on the Drina.

After the war, Andrić held a number of ceremonial posts in the new Communist government of Yugoslavia, including that of the member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1961, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country". He donated all of the prize money towards the improvement of libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Following the death of his wife in 1968, he began reducing his public activities. In 1969 he was elected an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[6] As time went by, he became increasingly ill and eventually died on March 13, 1975, in Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia.


The material for his works was mainly drawn from the history, folklore, and culture of his native Bosnia.

Ivo Andrić monument in Belgrade, Serbia

Those were all released in 1945 and written during World War II while Andrić was living quietly in Belgrade. They are often referred to as the "Bosnian trilogy" because they were released at the same time and had been written near together in time. However, they are connected only thematically -— they are indeed three completely different works.

Some of his other popular works include:

  • Ex Ponto[3] (1918)
  • Unrest[4] (Nemiri, 1920)
  • The Journey of Alija Đerzelez[5] (Put Alije Đerzeleza, 1920)
  • The Vizier's Elephant[6] (Priča o vezirovom slonu, 1948; trans. 1962)
  • The Damned Yard[7] (Prokleta avlija, 1954)
  • Omer-Pasha Latas[8] (Omerpaša Latas, released posthumously in 1977)

His manuscripts and literary legacy is in custody of the Foundation he founded (Fondacija Ive Andrica) and Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts,[7]

Some claim that the works of Ivo Andric particularly his thesis "The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule" have resurfaced as a source of anti-Muslim prejudice in Serbian cultural discourse.[8]


During his studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, Ivo Andrić declared himself as Croatian

He is claimed as part of Croatian literature[3][9][10], Serbian literature[9][11][12], and Bosnian literature.[13] As far as standard language is considered, he wrote in Serbo-Croatian; prior to World War I he had been a believer in Yugoslav unity and Pan-slavism. However, it must be mentioned that Serbo-Croatian used to have two different subtypes - the Eastern standardization (spread in Montenegro, Serbia and partly in Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Western standardization that is common in Croatia and partly in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Some characteristics of Western-standard are translating of foreign words, as well as some morphological aspects such as the construction of future tense: radiću (Eastern, I shall work), radit ću (Western).

There was also a more specific, and more fundamental, divide—that between ekavian and ijekavian standards of then-Serbo-Croat -- Andrić wrote in the ijekavian (standard in both Western standard Croatia, middle-of-the-road standard Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Eastern standard Montenegro) only in his youth. As a mature writer he wrote and published in ekavian (the official standard only in Serbia), even when depicting characters who live in Bosnia and who are quoted as speaking ijekavian in the dialogues, that stand out in otherwise ekavian text.

As far as first issue is considered, Andrić never used the translated equivalents of foreign words, as it used to be common in Western standard. As far as the second issue is considered, Andrić did allow Croatian publishers to change his ekavian works into ijekavian (unlike the Eastern, the Western standard was exclusively ijekavian), but he strictly forbade them from changing his future tense forms.


  • Ivo Andric, The Bridge on the Drina - The University of Chicago Press, 1977 - two biographical notes written by William H. McNeill and Lovett F. Edwards

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ivo Andric

Ivo Andrić (9 October 1892, Dolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina – 13 March 1975 Belgrade, Serbia) was a Yugoslavian novelist, short story writer, and the 1961 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Signs near the travel-road

  • From everything that man erects and builds in his urge for living nothing is in my eyes better and more valuable than bridges. They are more important than houses, more sacred than shrines. Belonging to everyone and being equal to everyone, useful, always built with a sense, on the spot where most human needs are crossing, they are more durable than other buildings and they do not serve for anything secret or bad.
  • If people would know how little brain is ruling the world, they would die of fear.
  • One shouldn't be afraid of the humans.
    Well, I am not afraid of the humans, but of what is inhuman in them.
  • What can and doesn't have to be always, at the end, surrenders to something that has to be.
  • What doesn't hurt - is not life; what doesn't pass - is not happiness.
  • When I am not desperate, I am worthless.
  • What does your sorrow do while you sleep? -It’s awake and waiting. And when it loses patience, it wakes me up.
  • And then the death will come. The great parting, but the least painful of all the goodbyes we ever knew. For in death, only one shall grieve. And so far we have always, at every parting, grieved together.
  • I do not fear invisible worlds.
  • It seems to me, that if people only knew how hard it was for me to endure life, they would find it easier to forgive me for all the wrong things I’ve done and all the good things that I have failed to do. And they would still find a little compassion within them to pity me.

External links

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