Ivo Andrić Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Ivo Andri (AHN-dreech) began his writing career with two volumes of poems in 1918 and 1920 and continued to publish poetry in magazines throughout his life. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, he published several volumes of short stories and brought out a fourth volume in 1948. His essay “Conversations with Goya” (1934) sets out his creed as a writer and a humanist. Between 1945 and his death in 1975, he also published essays on various philosophical, aesthetic, and literary subjects. A selection of his short stories from all periods of his career, The Pasha’s Concubine, and Other Tales, was published in English in 1968.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Ivo Andri is undoubtedly best known in the English-speaking world as the author of what has been called one of the great novels of the twentieth century, The Bridge on the Drina. Primarily for this novel, and for two others about life in his native Bosnia published at the same time, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961. Until this “Bosnian trilogy” brought him considerable fame, he had not been widely known outside his own country. His reputation has gone through three distinct phases. From 1918 to 1941, Andri came to be recognized, primarily in Yugoslavia, as that nation’s leading writer of short stories and as one of its better poets and essayists. The second phase, from 1941 to 1961, established his fame as a writer of novels and novellas, culminating in his winning the Nobel Prize. In this period, especially in the 1950’s, he gained his first wide readership throughout the Western Hemisphere. Finally, in the period from the Nobel Prize onward, he gained worldwide recognition, with his novels and short stories translated into more than thirty languages and appearing in many paperback reprints.

Andri is one of a very few Nobel Prize winners whose work continues to be admired equally by both professional critics and the general public. As a novelist, he has been praised especially for his vivid and lifelike characterizations, for his ability to relate individual dilemmas to larger social forces, and for “the epic force with which he has depicted themes and human destinies drawn from the history of his country,” in the words of the Nobel Prize Committee. It was Andri’s fame that first drew the attention of the rest of the world to the high quality of Yugoslav literature in general.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Goy, E. D. “The Work of Ivo Andri.” The Slavonic and East European Review 41 (1963): 301-326. A useful overview and introduction to Andri’s writing.

Hawkesworth, Celia. “Ivo Andri as Red Rag and Political Football.” Slavonic and East European Review 80, no. 2 (April, 2002): 201. Hawkesworth, who has written extensively on Serbo-Croatian literature and translated Andri’s books, profiles the author, discussing the content and interpretation of his works and his educational and career background. Also addresses Bosnian nationals’ criticisms of his fiction for its portrayal of Muslim characters.

Hawkesworth, Celia. Ivo Andri: Bridge Between East and West. London: Atholone Press, 1984. Provides a comprehensive introduction to Andri’s work, including verse, short stories, novels, essays, and other prose. Includes notes on the pronunciation of Serbo-Croatian names and a bibliography.

Jurii, elimir B. The Man and the Artist: Essays on Ivo Andri. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1986. The first book on Andri written in English offers an insightful analysis into his personal life, describing how his fiction reflects his experiences as a young man.

Kadi, Ante. Contemporary Serbian Literature. The Hague, the Netherlands: Mouton, 1964. See the discussion of...

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