The Andrić Institute issued a book by prof. Dr Zlata Bojović “Ivo Andrić and Dubrovnik” (Andrićgrad, 2017). Divided into seven parts, the study combines writer’s short prose works inspired by the Republic of Ragusa and later Dubrovnik city. In the introductory part, the author talks about Andrić’s interest in topics dedicated to the city under the Srđ. The second, most comprehensive set consists of his stories and essays dedicated to Dubrovnik (“The Early Evening Hour”, “The Meeting”, “Dubrovnik’s Whirlwind” …).
In the third part are published Andrić’s notes on Ruđer Bošković and Herceg Stjepan Vukčić are published. The fourth part is is about writer’s thoughts about the old Dubrovnik from his “Notebooks”, and the next “Reflection on the Topics of Dubrovnik” mentioned in the dissertation of Ivo Andrić. The correspondence with the famous persons from Dubrovnik, such as Ivo and Lujo Vojnović, as well as the invitation of the “The Dubrovnik Times” for cooperation, are a special part of the book. In the seventh part are published phototypical editions of fragment of Andrić’s manuscripts, such as “Dražeslav’s Note about the City” and “Dubrovnik’s Whirlwind”.
Ivo Andrić belongs to a string of the most prominent Serbian writers of the 20th century whose stories, records, impressions and essays started, and then developed in the reflections on the former Dubrovnik. More than many of his contemporaries he dealt with the past of the city-republic, wide, persistent and precise, with scientific conscience and enviable knowledge. Andrić’s associations were related to his sensitivity to writers, from Renaissance to modern, to the life of the city, the spirit and mentality of Dubrovnik’s inhabitants, on everything that could serve as a direct and pure literary inspiration.
Dubrovnik was a permanent theme for Andrć in his some prose works, and especially in his notes and plans, included different views. Inspired by the city under Srđ, Andrić wrote four stories – “The Early Evening Hou” (1961), “Dražeslav’s Note about the City” (1963), “Meeting” (1965) and “Dubrovnik’s Whirlwind” (1968-69). In addition, the essay text “Dream about the City” (1923) was written regarding to the work of Ivo Vojnović, “Dance of Masks in the Attic”. The mentioned prose works could be combined under the title “Dubrovnik Chronicles”.
According to the literary order, although not by importance, a special place in Andrić’s interest for the past of the city had writers. For decades he had read their works and extracted details. It entered not only the basis of his knowledge of literature and its specificity, but also in the idea of the general experience of Dubrovnik of the previous centuries. Thinking about the emigration and in general about going abroad, Andrić remembered Marin Držić and his service for Count Rogendorf. He also wrote three verses by Dinka Ranjina, probably because of the stylistic trades in them.
There are other traces that indicate that Andrić carefully read some Renaissance and Baroque poets from Dubrovnik. Particularly interesting are his prints from two parts of Ivan Gundulić. Preparing material for the story “The Blind Man”, Andrić called out a fragment from Gundulić’s “Osman”. The other work he wrote was “Tears of the Prodigal Son”. From the extensive material by Radovan Samardžić about Dubrovnik in the 17th century, he wrote news about two devoted statesmen and baroque writers, Jaketa Palmotić and Nikola Bunić, whose lives could have been a literary theme for many reasons.
What Andrić wrote about the Republic of Ragusa was not in proportion to the material he collected and the time he devoted to it. Over the decades, the material waited for to be used, and this material there are data on many of historical figures from Dubrovnik. Indirectly or directly, two Andrć’s themes are related to Dubrovnik, it is about two famous persons he have been collecting material for years. These persons are Herceg Stjepan and Ruđer Bošković.
Part of the material that was supposed to serve for the work on Stjepan Vukčić and his time, he used in several short stories whose main character was the clerk Dražeslav. Bosnian clerk Dražeslav Bojić was a historical figure of the 14th century, and one in a series of well-known Cyrillic charter students in court and offices in Bosnia and the Republic of Ragusa. The circumstance that his appearance happened in Dubrovnik in the 14th century, added the author’s freedom to enter everything that he knew about that time and fit him into his own experience of Dubrovnik.
In this prose were described the towns and environments, as well as information on the mentality and commercial psychology of people from Dubrovnik. The “sweet words” of the preachers, natural dignity, and the feelings of a stranger in contact with the city and its inhabitants were also mentioned. Clerk Dražeslav placed in the environment where he lived for many years (Dubrovnik), and never belonged to him, and thus was presented many Andric’s thoughts about the past of the city-state. He becomes the “Andrić’s bridge,” whose position is destroying contrasting and stereotyped relations established between the Bosnian mainland and the Dubrovnik marine space.
Andrić was able to travel a lot thanks to life and political circumstances. At the end of his life, he marked many cities as those who left a deep trace in his spiritual development. This created an entire mosaic of imaginary and real places that made the map of his creative maturation. Although he school tied him to Sarajevo, Zagreb, Vienna and Krakow, and diplomatic service for Rome, Bucharest, Madrid and Berlin – plot of his novels took place in Višegrad, Travnik, Sarajevo and Belgrade.
Though his concept of Dubrovnik did not turn into an organized prose of a larger volume, it was built on several dozen pages of impressions, prose fragments and lesser-known stories dedicated to this city, its monuments and famous people. The study by Zlata Bojović about the works of Ivo Andrić that are about Dubrovnik represents a significant contribution to the research of his extensive opus, but also a valuable contribution to the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the writer’s birth.
Friendship and beauty of the city heritage
In addition to literary works, Andrić mentioned Dubrovnik in his correspondence, with writer Tugomir Alaupovic and a polonist Zdenko Markovic. On the occasion of his friends death, Ivo Vojnović (1857-1929), he published a reminder of their literary conversations and correspondence, which were often intertwined with the old and contemporary Dubrovnik.
For the “Dubrovnik Times” newspaper, from 1931, Andrić mentions the great kindness and knowledge of the painter Marko Murat and the art historian Kosta Strajnić, who pointed out the details of the Dubrovnik heritage. Andrić also attended the 11th PEN International Congress, with Herbert George Wales, Ernst Toller and others in Dubrovnik in 1933.