Anica Bošković

Date of birth 1714
Date of death 1804

Personal situation

Anica was born in 1714, into the household of Nikola Bošković and his wife Pavla, a prominent merchant family from Dubrovnik. She was the youngest of nine children. The most reputable of all the members of the Bošković family was Anica’s brother Ruđer, who gained worldwide renown with his studies in the field of astronomy, physics, and mathematics, though he wrote philosophical treatises as well. He also has a place in literature as a poet, chronicler, and playwright, who wrote and performed in Italian and Latin.

Anica’s spiritual development was greatly influenced by the Jesuits. After the death of her father, which befell her at her early age, she ignored the advice of her closest ones that she should become a nun, choosing instead to spend the rest of her life at her mother’s side. Providing care and support for her mother until her death, which came late in her old age, she chose a meditative, introspective existence, somewhere between marital and monastic life –  the two dominant social spheres of old Dubrovnik that women had to eventually belong to. However, due to her uncommon character, which distinguished her from other women of her age and status, she left a visible trace in the cultural life of old Dubrovnik. She maintained ties with the cultural and political elite, along with high officials of the church. She also played an important role in maintaining contact between the cultural milieu of old Dubrovnik and her brother Ruđer during his long years of absence. By keeping correspondence with Ruđer, Anica became a sort of an exclusive intermediary between her famous brother and the representatives of the inland cultural and political elite. She died in 1804.  


Place of birth Dubrovnik
Place(s) of residence Croatia
Place of death Dubrovnik
Nationality Dubrovnik
First language(s) Italian and Serbian
Marital status Single
Education Educated at home and Convent education
Religion Catholic

Professional situation

According to the common understanding of artistic work at the time, Anica would dedicate herself to writing exclusively during her time of leisure. Aside from working on her own poems, she translated religious poems from Latin and Italian, as well as works written by her brother, Ruđer Bošković. The collection of her works, written in vernacular language entirely, is far from voluminous. It consists of a long pastoral poem, Razgovor pastirski vrhu porođenja Gospodinova (Pastoral Dialogue on the Birth of Our Lord), and numerous other poems on religious and pastoral subjects. The Dialogue, published in 1758 in Venice, was the first and sole literary work written by a female author in the literature of old Dubrovnik. The poem, composed in the tradition of pastoral and religious poetry, which had deep roots in Dubrovnik, is a crown of loosely connected lyrical miniatures, some of which could easily be subtracted and perceived as individual pieces. Like the rest of her poetry, it can be seen as a fruit of religious contemplation, resulting in epiphany and ecstatic trance out of feeling spiritually united with Jesus.

Edited by Stanko Petaković

Translated by Dunja Dušanić


Profession(s) and other activities translator, poet, and author of religious literature
Language(s) in which she wrote Italian and Serbian

Authors read by this author

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