According to Lacan (1996), “the big Other” (le grand Autre) is a world of language where the self is constituted. It is often a space of empty signifiers in which the subject, deprived of any solid reference and radically decentred with endless slips of the “symbolic order”, is caught in the narcissistic reflections of the mirror, dispersed and totally overcome by the very force of desire. Lacan believes that desire can be satisfied only with active engagement with “the big Other”, in a “successful” interpersonal communication which is only possible in rare flash-like moments. This communicative situation is, hence, conceived as a location where desire can be satisfied, but also as a process of division, a necessary excuse which covers up an endless search for the missing object. Accordingly, based on Lacan’s theoretical postulates, the paper analyses the functioning of the discourse of love, and the strategies of constituting the intimate self in the imperial social orders. By interpreting “full” and “empty” speech in Andrić’s novella Anika’s Times (1931), the paper attempts to show the ways in which the self, torn between desire for and deficiency of the Ottoman “big Other”, is realised.