Ivo Andric, the Yugoslav who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1961 for “The Bridge on the Drina” and other works, died yesterday in a Belgrade hospital at the age of 82. He had suffered a stroke last December.
President Tito Issued a statement saying that Mr. Andric’s death was “a great loss for our culture and the whole country.” He added that the novelist. poet, short story writer and former diplomat “contributed significantly to recognition of our country.”
Mr. Andric’s often gloomy novels and short stories were translated into 24 languages. Although best known for “The Bridge on the Drina,” an epic spanning three centuries of the history of the Bosnian area of Yugoslavia, he was praised also for “Bosnian Chronicle,” “Miss,” “Devil’s Yard” and “The Woman From Sarajevo.” Almost all of his fiction, which included dozens of short stories, was set in his native Bosnia.
Born in a small village near Travnik on Feb. 10, 1892, Mr. Andric was the son of a coppersmith. While some of his ancestors were Croatian and his mother was Roman Catholic, he later identified himself with the Serbs, especially those righting for Bosnian independence from Austria, which had wrested control of the area from Turkey in 1878.
As a student, Mr. Andric joined the youth organization opposing the Habsburg regime, and in 1914, following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a member of the organization, Mr. Andric was among those imprisoned.
“I grew up during the three years I was in prison,” Mr. Andric later wrote. The works of the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard that he studied in prison darkened Mr. Andric’s view of the world and influenced his writing for the, rest of his life.
In describing his vision of the world, and his approach to literature following his imprisonment, Mr. Andric painted a picture of desperation and depression.
“There is no other truth but pain,” he wrote. “There is no other reality but suffering, pain, and suffering in every drop of water, in every blade of grass, in every grain of crystal, in every sound of living voice, in sleep and in vigil, in life, before life and perhaps also after life.”
By the time Mr. Andric had been released from prison and completed his studies at universities in Zagreb, Vienna, Krakow and Graz, he had already written some short stories and edited a literary magazine. He joined the diplomatic corps of the royal government of Yugoslavia in 1924 and served in embassies in Graz, Rome, Budapest, Madrid and Geneva.
In 1941, Mr. Andric was Yugoslav Ambassador In Berlin when his government signed a friendship pact with the Nazis. After the overthrow of Prince Paul’s government in Belgrade, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Germans and Mr. Andric was sent home. He was a virtual prisoner in his Belgrade apartment throughout the World War II occupation.
The period was enormously productive, from the standpoint of his writing, however. He turned out what he regarded as his “Bosnian triology”—“Miss.” “The Bridge on the Drina” and “Bosnian Chronicle” All were published in Yugoslav ia in 1945, but it was not until a decade later that his translated works became available in the United States.
“The Bridge on the Drina” got its title from the span across the river that separates Bosnia from Serbia. The bridge at Visegard, built by the Turks lin the 16th century, symbolizes in the novel the permanence and indomitability of the BosIn an people, who resisted foreign domination through centuries.
Mr. Andric, hailed by French critics as “the Yugoslav Tolstoy,” was praised by the Swedish Academy, when it announced that he had won the Nobel Prize, “for the epic force with which he has depicted themes and human destinies drawn from the history of his country.”
Mr. Andric joined the Communist party after World War II, and for many years, while continuing his literary career, served in the National Assembly.
His wife, Milica, died several years ago.