Born: Travnik, Bosnia (then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire), 9 October 1892. Education: Educated at schools in Visegrad and Sarajevo, 1898-1912; University of Zagreb, 1912; Vienna University, 1913; Jagiellonian University, Cracow, 1914; Graz University, Ph.D. 1923. Military Service: Served in the army, 1917. Family: Married Milica Babic in 1959 (died 1968). Career: Served in the Yugoslav diplomatic service, 1920-41, in the Vatican (Rome), Geneva, Madrid, Bucharest, Trieste, Graz, Belgrade, Marseilles, Paris, Brussels, and as Ambassador to Germany, Berlin; full-time writer, 1941-49; representative of Bosnia, Yugoslav parliament, 1949-55. Co-founder and member of the editorial board, Knjizevni jug [The Literary South], 1918-19. President, Federation of Writers of Yugoslavia, 1946-51. Awards: Yugoslav Government prize, 1956; Nobel prize for literature, 1961; Vuk prize (Serbia), 1972. Red Cross medal, 1936; Legion d’honneur (France), 1937; Order of the Supreme Commander of Resurgent Poland, 1937; Order of St. Sava, first class (Yugoslavia), 1938. Honorary doctorate: University of Cracow, 1964. Member: of Mlada Bosna [Young Bosnia] and interned for three years during World War I; Member, Serbian Academy; honorary member, Bosnian Academy, 1970. Died: 13 March 1975.
Sabrana djela [Collected Works], edited by Risto Trifkovic and others. 17 vols., 1984.
Pripovetke [Stories]. 3 vols., 1924-36.
Gospodjica. 1945; as The Womanfrom Sarajevo, translated by Joseph Hitrec, 1965.
Travnicka hronika. 1945; as Bosnian Story, translated by Kenneth Johnstone, 1958; as Bosnian Chronicle, translated by Joseph Hitrec, 1963; as The Days of the Consuls, translated by Celia Hawkesworth and Bogdan Rakic, 1992.
Na Drini cuprija. 1945; as The Bridge on the Drina, translated by Lovett Edwards, 1959.
Prica o vezirovom slonu. 1948; as The Vizier’s Elephant: Three Novellas, translated by Drenka Willen, 1962.
Novepripovetke [New Stories]. 1949.
Prica o kmetu Simanu [The Tale of the Peasant Simon]. 1950.
Novele [Short Stories]. 1951.
Pod Grabicem: Pripovetke o zivotu bosanskog sela [Under the Elm:Stories of Life in a Bosnian Village]. 1952. Prokletaavlija. 1954; as Devil’s Yard, translated by Kenneth Johnstone, 1962; as The Damned Yard, translated by Celia Hawkesworth, in The Damned Yard and Other Stories, 1992.
Panorama: Pripovetke [Panorama: Stories] (for children). 1958.
Izbor [Selection]. 1961.
Ljubav u kasabi [Love in a Market Town]. 1963.
Anikina vremena [Anika's Times] (stories). 1967.
The Pasha’s Concubine and Other Tales, translated by Joseph Hitrec. 1968.
Kula i druge pripovetke (for children). 1970.
The Damned Yard and Other Stories, translated by Celia Hawkesworth. 1992.
Ex ponto. 1918.
Nemiri [Anxieties]. 1919.
Lica [Faces]. 1960.
Letters, edited and translated by Zelimir Juricic. 1984.
The Development of Spiritual Life under the Turks, edited by Zelimir B. Juricic and J.F. Loud. 1990.
Conversation with Goya, Signs, Bridges, translated by Celia Hawkesworth and Andrew Harvey. 1992.
Diplomatski spisi [Diplomatic Papers]. 1992.
Three Stories About Bosnia: 1908, 1946, 1992/Leo Tolstoy, Ivo Andric, Rajko Dolecek, translated by Margot and Bosko Milosavljevic, 1995.
Literature, History, and Postcolonial Cultural Identity in Africa and the Balkans: the Search for a Usable Past in Farah, Ngugi, Krleza, and Andric by Dubravka Juraga, 1996.
”The French in The Chronicle of Travnik” by Ante Kadic, in California Slavic Studies, 1, 1960; ”The Work of Ivo Andric” by E.D. Goy, in Slavonic and East European Review, 41, 1963; ”The Later Stories of Ivo Andric” by Thomas Eekman, in Slavonic and East European Review, 48, 1970; ”Ivo Andric and the Quintessence of Time” by Nicholas Moracevich, in Slavic and East European Journal, 16(3), 1972; Ivo Andric: Bridge Between East and West by Celia Hawkesworth, 1984; Ivo Andric: Proceeedings of a Symposium Held at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies 10-12 July 1984, 1985; ”Ivo Andric and World Literature” by Milan V. Dimic, in Canadian Slavonic Papers, 27(3), 1985; The Man and the Artist: Essays on Ivo Andric, 1986, and ”Andric’s Berlin Writings: Between the Two Sirens,” in Russian, Croatian and Serbian, Czech and Slovak, Polish Literature, 30(1), 1991, both by Zelimir B. Juricic ”Ivo Andric and the Swing to Infinity,” in Scottish Slavonic Review, 6, 1986, and ”The Short Stories of Ivo Andric: Autobiography and the Chain of Proof”, in Slavonic and East European Review, 67(1), 1989, both by Felicity Rosslyn; ”Narrator and Narrative in Andric’s Prokleta avlija" by Anita Lekic-Trbojevic, in Serbian Studies, 4(3), 1987; ”Some Rhetorical Aspects of the Novel The Bridge on the Drina" by Vladimir Milicic, in Serbian Studies 4(3), 1987; ”Ivo Andric’s Historical Thought” by Predrag Palavestra, in Reflets d’histoire europeenne dans l’oeuvre d’Ivo Andric edited by Dragan Nedeljkovic, 1987; Ivo Andric: A Writer’s Life by Radovan Popovic, 1988; ”The Echoes of the Second World War” by Dusan Puvacic, in Serbian Studies, 4(4), 1988; Ivo Andric: A Critical Biography by Vanita Singh Mukerji, 1991; ”Ivo Andric: A Yugoslav Career” by Hans-Peter Stoffel, in New Zealand Slavonic Journal, 1992; Ivo Andric Revisited: the Bridge Still Stands, edited by Wayne S. Vucinich, 1995.
The work for which Ivo Andric is probably best known outside Bosnia is Na Drini cuprija (The Bridge on the Drina), a chronicle of the life of the small Bosnian town of Visegrad over several centuries. This rich fusion of legend and history is given shape by the central symbol of the bridge, linking East and West, past and future, and instilling in the townspeople a sense of harmony and the endurance of life despite individual transience.
The major part of Andric’s fiction—five novels and six volumes of short stories—is set in his native Bosnia and informed by a detailed knowledge of this region of the Balkans under Ottoman and, later, Habsburg rule. This precise setting in time and space is an essential feature of Andric’s work, but it has proved an obstacle to his reception in some countries, despite the fact that he has been extensively translated. There has been a tendency not to look beyond the ”exotic” setting in this ”remote” corner of Europe. Andric focuses his attention on Bosnia because it represents a particularly varied concentration of cultures: an indigenous population of both Catholic and Orthodox Christians, a large Muslim community, Jews, and gypsies. Bosnia also represents a crossroads between East and West, visited by Ottoman dignitaries and European merchants, diplomats, and administrators. It serves consequently as a microcosm of both the variety of human life and the arbitrary divisions and antagonisms between men.
A detailed exploration of this clash of cultures is offered by Travnicka hronika (Bosnian Story or The Days of the Consuls) in which the French and Austrian consuls and the Turkish vizier confront and, when international politics permit, console each other in this harsh and hostile land. Andric exploits this setting to reveal universal patterns of behaviour and experience, drawing on legend, myth, archetype, and symbol. The complement of the symbol of the bridge in Andric’s work is that of its opposite, the prison, suggesting all the constraints which compel an individual to seek some way out of the fundamental laws of human existence. The image is most fully developed in the short novel, or novella, Prokleta avlija (Devil’s Yard or The Damned Yard), in which the prison inmates ”escape” by telling stories. It is perhaps in the shorter prose forms that Andric excels and the best of his stories offer a vivid, intensely suggestive and often disturbing image or anecdote, rich in meanings and associations.
Andric also wrote verse intermittently throughout his life. More characteristic, however, are his prose reflections, jottings prompted by experiences of all kinds. Selections of these were published posthumously in his collected works as Znakoviporedputa [Signs by the Roadside] and Sveske [Notebooks], providing insight into the fine and subtle mind of this otherwise very private man. Parallels may be drawn between Andric’s work and that of Thomas Mann, Joseph Conrad, and Henry James. He was an avid reader and himself spoke of a sense of affinity with a wide variety of writers from Camus and Goethe to Marcus Aurelius.