Anica Savić Rebac

Spouse Hasan Rebac
Date of birth October 04, 1892
Date of death October 07, 1953
Web address

Personal situation

Anica Savić Rebac was born in 1892. The Savić were a well-to-do family from Novi Sad, and their household was as a central gathering point for writers, artists and other prominent figures from the beginning of the 20th century. Thanks to her father’s support, from the earliest days of her youth, Anica was able to dedicate herself to literature: by the time she was twelve, she had already published her first translations. Her first poems were published in the Brankovo kolo (Branko's Circle) magazine when she was thirteen.

1909 – Anica Savić graduated from high school as the sole girl in her class.

1910 – The Savić family moves to Vienna in order to enable Anica to further her education. In Vienna, she enrolled in University, where she began studying Classics.

1914–1918 – Just as she was about to finish her undergraduate studies, World War I broke out. Because of the war, her family was forced to move back to Novi Sad. For Anica, this was a period of stagnation, and not just in her formal education.

From 1920 – Due to bureaucratic hindrances, Anica did not graduate from the University of Belgrade until 1920. Her graduation was followed by a period of professional uncertainty: despite her academic achievement, which would normally qualify her for a position at the University, the amount of opposition she faced from the academic milieu would compel her to spend the greater part of her career as a high school teacher, with frequent changes of workplace (Novi Sad, Belgrade, Skopje and Sarajevo).

1921 – This year saw two major events in the life of Anica Savić: her marriage to Hasan Rebac and the subsequent moving of her family to Belgrade. Hasan Rebac had studied in Belgrade and Vienna, and graduated from Oriental Studies at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He had participated in the Balkan Wars as a Serbian volunteer, lived through the great Serbian retreat of 1916, after which he left for France from Thessaloniki. In the interwar period, he was an official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The relationship between Hasan and Anica was a deep and passionate one, marked by mutual understanding and support, even in the face of numerous political, national and religious prejudices of their environment.

1930–1941 – Anica and Hasan spent a considerable period of their life in Skopje, where Hasan officiated. They were forced to leave Skopje after the German invasion of Yugoslavia. As refugees, they moved first to Vrnjačka Banja, and then to Belgrade, where they would face harsh conditions.

1941–1945 – During World War II, Anica and Hasan live in Belgrade, trying to cope with difficult financial circumstances.

1946 – Anica is finally given a position at the University of Belgrade.

1953 – After Hasan’s death on August 4, 1953, Anica decides to commit suicide. Having failed to do so twice, she finally succeeded in taking her own life on October 7, 1953, by shooting herself through the heart in her Belgrade apartment.

Place of birth Novi Sad
Place(s) of residence Austria, Serbia, and North Macedonia
Place of death Beograd
Nationality Serbian
First language(s) Serbian
Marital status Married
Social class Middle class
Education School education and University education

Professional situation

1905 – Her first translation of an excerpt from Byron’s Manfred was published under the title Noćni prizor kod Rima (Night Scenery near Rome).

1906–1911 – As a very young girl, she published her works frequently in periodicals, for the most part in Brankovo kolo (Branko's Circle). Her work consisted of poetry, essays and translations of authors such as Thomas More, Sully Prudhomme, Shelley, Pindar and many others.

1917–1925 – She became a regular contributor of Književni jug (The Literary South). In the period right after the end of World War I, Anica lived between Novi Sad and Belgrade. She was at the very center of the contemporary literary and cultural scene. She continued to publish her poetry and essays in periodicals, such as Srpski književni glasnik (The Serbian Literary Herald) and the magazine Misao (Thought), edited by Sima Pandurović. She also participated in founding the magazine Dan (Day) along with Ksenija Atansijević. She would become a regular correspondent of the magazine, as well. She was friends with Miloš Crnjanski, who dedicated a poem from his famous collection Lirika Itake (Lyrics of Ithaca) to her. Her cooperation with various magazines and periodicals continued throughout the years to come.

1927 – With a group of fellow female intellectuals, she co-founded the Yugoslavian branch of the International Federation of University Women. This organization had, amongst other things, the mission to propagate and defend the professional interests of women with university degrees.

1929 – Even though she had been publishing poems and translations in periodicals from her early youth, Anica had not succeeded in publishing a collection of her poems until 1929. Her first and last collection of poems was entitled Večeri na moru (Nights by the Sea). Later, she dedicated herself mostly to translating, writing essays, literary criticism, pedagogical work, and academic research especially.  

1930–1941 – While living in Skopje, Anica was host to Rebecca West and her companion H. G. Wells during their tour of Yugoslavia. The characters of Milica and Mehmed from West’s book Black Lamb and Gray Falcon were closely modeled on Anica and Hasan. Druing this time, she committed herself to the feminist cause, first as Head of the International Federation of University Women, later on as a member of the Women’s Antifascist Front.

1933 – Upon completing her PhD studies, Anica published her first major piece of academic writing, Preplatonska erotologija (Pre-Platonic Erotology).

1936 – Platonska i hrišćanska ljubav (Platonic and Christian Love) is published.

1946 – Despite fierce opposition, she is given tenure at the University of Belgrade. At that moment, she was the only female professor there. She held courses on Latin language, literature and history at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.

After 1953 – Her books Antička estetika i nauka o književnosti (Classical Aesthetics and Literary Study, 1955), Helenski vidici (Hellenic Horizons, 1966) as well as her Collected Works in seven volumes (1984-1988) were published posthumously, usually as a result of individual effort.  


Edited by Jelena Milinković

Translated by Dunja Dušanić


Profession(s) and other activities translator, poet, literary critic, social-cultural activist, contributor to periodical press, and fiction writer/novelist
Language(s) in which she wrote Serbian
Financial aspects of her career Salary
Memberships Other

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