Critics on Andrić

Miloš Crnjanski, IVO ANDRIĆ: EX PONTO (1919)

"Writing in agony and ashamed of his tears, Andrić brings the disposition of our Slavic soul to lyric poetry. These observations that are poems, these poems that are observations, seem to hold the beginning of a new history of our soul.

Only one thing about this book is certain: Andrić est arrivé."

Milan Bogdanović, TROUBLES (1921)

"It can be assertted today, without reservatios, that our literature has aquired a mighty talent in Ivo Andrić. But (...) the power of Ivo Andrić's talent surpasses his earlier works. Ivo Andrić has much more power, and there is a novel waiting for him, and maybe drama as well.


"There is a lot of the East in Ivo Andrić's short stories, the East of all kinds, horrible, dark, poetic, comical, wise. His stories are thus bizzarely original, horrifying direct, and drenched with local colour. Although Ivo Andrić's short stories are unquestionably realistic, and entirely in line with western art - in terms of their strict design, personal tone, perfection of composition and style - it is, once again, all East, East both as document and as poetry."

Nikola Mirković, IVO ANDRIĆ (1938)

"Belief in the possibility of the artistic catharsis of evil, that it can be overcome and sublimated by creativity, expressed in (...) the essay on Njegoš (bishop-ruler of Montenegro), provides somewhat of a key to understanding Andrić's indescribably simple prose, which is enduring and unchanging as a vital creation, and goes with the best that has been written in our language."

Borislav Mihajlović, READING "DEVIL'S YARD (1960)

"What an exciting, fantastic and resolutely precise, accurate name: Devil's Yard! (...) This is the deepest reflection written in our literature concerning the closeness and identical nature of human destinies regardless of the centuries, socila circles, costumes and decor that separate them (...) There is nothing the least bit strange in the fact that it was written by Ivo Andrić, author of the subtles nuances of a society and poet of the grae community of human suffering and joy.

This book has a perfectly clear, extremly solid, crystal composition, almost geometric in its severity and perfection."


"Founded on the eminent culture of the soul and decorum, unusually temperamental and fresh in expression, Andrić's literary criticism shows a constantly balanced judgement and the power to adjust his perspective to the nature of the work he is interpreting. When considering a oiece of literature, Andrić regularly wants to place it within the context of the author's complete works, and then to determine his position in the development of literary traditions and life."

Predrag Palavestra, HIDDEN POET (1981)

"In Andrić's works, lyric poetry is a monolithic and solid, dynamic and vital stratum which, with consistency and ceaseless rejuvenation, testifies to the strength of lyric sensitivity and the strangely impervious loner's vision of the world. The continuity of Andrić's lyricism, the creative assimilatin and mixing of different lyric forms in the search for the most appropriate way to comunicate the anxious and absorbed intimate confession, prove that Andrić did not go from a lyric poet to an epic poet, but on the contrary, was always and still is a lyric poet, although in disguise."

Petar Džadžić, OAKEN POST IN  A STONE GATE (1983)

"Andrić's evocation of the past is caused neither by an obsession with it nor by the simple fear of history or a biased inclination to history, but by the belief (conscious or unconscious) that human lives, as well as social and historical phenomena, can be explained at least partially by their origin, that the past, owing to archetypical patterns, is a special prefiguration of the future."

Reinhard Lauer, IVO ANDRIĆ - THE ARTIST (1985)

"Andrić's appearance resembles that of Thomas Mann in several ways. The attributes are the same: hat, light summer clothes, dark subdued colours in public, the resistance of any temptation to dress in a careless manner. But is their meaning the same? For Thomas Mann the outer appearance of the solid bourgois, which determined the life-style of the Mann family, is closely connected with his deep conviction that he was a representative of German bourgeois culture. (...) It is probably safe to suppose that Andrić held a similar conviction, namely to be the representative of Yugoslav culture and literature, at the same time as he identified himself to a large extent with the political systems of pre-war and post-war Yugoslavia."


"In Andrić's work concerned with Bosnia, Ottoman rule plays a decisive role, not only as a background for events, but as an active participant in the complex encounter between religions and nationalities so closely woven together in the Balkans and the Middle East.

Bosnia itself is an Ottoman Empire in miniature, a world where religions and nationalities live together, where tolerance is put on trial again and again and where question is raised as to whether the divide between human beings is due to human nature or to civilizations and whether it is possible to build a bridge between them.

This is the main question for Andrić and he examines it in a long series of texts ..."


"The narrator tells legends repeated by successive generations of children in Višegrad, for example the story of the immurement of two children in the bridge. This deed was a sacrifice to appease the spirit who destroyed by night the work done during the day on the construction of the bridge. The townsfolk say that their bridge is unique, and the persistence of the legend through the centuries represents a distinguishing feature of their community and links them to the bridge. The continual repetition of the story has contributed to a sense of communal identity, but the community has no interest in preserving the historical details which the narrator relates."


"All who read his prose work are struck by the power of Ivo Andrić's language: its rhythmic flow and its conciseness of expression ( in Živković's term, jezgrovitost ) combine to create an unforgettable aesthetic effect. My intention in this contribution is to point out yet a further way in which Andrić makes effective use in language in the creation of his works - by means of linguistic substructures."


"The work of Ivo Andrić is deeply rooted in his native culture: by concentrating on what is most characteristic, most significant and creative in his own immidiate surroundings, Andrić seek to identify what is most universal. To the outsider this setting may seem obscure, remote and exotic, and it has often proved difficult to penetrate beyond this initial impression. Because of its unfamiliarity, the aroma of the East that fills so many Andrić's pages has tended to dominate our reading."