Nikola Koljević

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Nikola Koljević

Nikola Koljević (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Кољевић; 9 June 1936 – 25 January 1997) was a Bosnian Serb politician, university professor, translator and an essayist, one of the foremost Yugoslavian Shakespeare scholars.

Koljević was born to a distinguished merchant family in Banja Luka, then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, (now Bosnia and Herzegovina). His elder brother, Svetozar (born 1930), was a renowned scholar who has written extensively on Serbian epic poetry. At the first multi-party elections held in 1990, he was elected as a Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In April 1992 he left the Presidency, and during the Bosnian War occupied the post of a Vice-President of Republika Srpska. He received the highest-ranking ordain of Republika Srpska, the Order of Republic with sash. Koljević was the sole person to sign the declaration on behalf of Republika Srpska approving the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina as set out in Annex 4 to the General Framework Agreement.

On 16 January 1997 he tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head, and died a week later in a Belgrade hospital. Some have suggested that Koljević went into politics because he resented the fact that throughout his whole life he had to live in the shadow of his famous elder brother. Having taught Shakespeare for many years at the University of Sarajevo, his later involvement in Serbian nationalist politics had taken aback his former Muslim students, with many of whom he had remained good friends after graduating, because he had never before shown the slightest trace of prejudice. Koljević's son died in an accident a few years before the Bosnian War had started, and some[who?] have suggested that the trauma caused by this unfortunate event had turned Koljević intent on playing out a full-blown Shakespearean tragedy of his own with himself as a starring role.


  • Teorijski osnovi nove kritike, 1967
  • O uporednom i sporednom, 1977
  • Ikonoborci i ikonobranitelji, 1978
  • Šekspir, tragičar, 1981
  • Pesnik iza pesme, 1984
  • "Tajna" poznog Dučića: interpretacija, 1985
  • "Lamnet nad Beogradom" Miloša Crnjanskog, 1986
  • Klasici srpskog pesništva, 1987
  • Otadžbinske teme, 1995
  • Andrićevo remek-delo, 1995
  • Od Platona do Dejtona: (zapisi o državi našim povodom), 1996


  • Judah, Tim (1997). The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.