Meandering Self-Fashioning in Ivo Andrić’s Novels

Vladimir Biti from the University of Vienna will talk about: Exempt from Belonging, Meandering Self-Fashioning in Ivo Andrić’s Novels.

Vladimir Biti

About the lecture

Ivo Andrić inherited his multinational belonging from the time when Bosnia and Hercegovina was ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and with the rise of post-imperial Yugoslavia he confronted the imperative of national identity. However, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes inherited the modern western European idea of the nation via German imperial adjustment, which represented a compromise between modern western European heritage and pre-modern east-central European political heritage.

Its hovering between the empire and nation-state thus set the stage for the meandering identity politics characteristic of Andrić’s work. By developing self-exempting techniques of authoring his narratives, Andrić sought to come to terms with his “internally exterior” identity, or the in-betweenness of his ethnic, linguistic, and cultural affiliations, which he unexpectedly faced with the dissolution of both the Habsburg and Ottoman empires.

To exempt himself from these political surroundings that had suddenly grown inimical, Andrić built up his authorial self—as I demonstrate through an analysis of his major novels—as an impartial divine judge that promises currently antagonized human beings future reconciliation and harmony.


About the guest lecturer

Vladimir Biti is Professor Emeritus of South Slav literatures and cultures at the Faculty for Literary and Cultural Studies, University of Vienna. Author of nine books, Literatur- und Kulturtheorie: Ein Handbuch gegenwärtiger Begriffe, Reinbek: Rowohlt, 2001 and Tracing Global Democracy: Literature, Theory, and the Politics of Trauma, Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2016, as well as editor of Reexamining the National-Philological Legacy: Quest for a New Paradigm?, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2014 and Claiming the Dispossession: The Politics of Hi/storytelling in Post-imperial Europe, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017, among others. Co-editor of arcadia: Journal of Literary Culture and member of the editorial board of several international journals. Since 2016, he is the Chairperson of Academia Europaea’s Literary and Theatrical Section. His forthcoming book is Attached to Dispossession: Sacrificial Narratives in Post-imperial Europe (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017).


Discourses of the Nation and the National, ILOS
Published Oct. 6, 2017 5:09 PM - Last modified Oct. 22, 2017 12:41 PM