Jelena Dimitrijević

Jelena Dimitrijevic-001.jpg
Name Jelena Dimitrijević
Spouse and other names Jovan Dimitrijević
Date of birth March 27, 1862
Date of death April 22, 1945
Country Serbia
Language Serbian
Web address

About her personal situation

Born  in Kruševac, in the family of the merchant Nikola Miljković. Her mother was Stamenka, age 46, daughter of the duke Milojko from Aleksinac. Jelena was Stamenka’s tenth child.

1872 (around)  Jelena moves to Aleksinac, into the home of the eldest brother Nikola Petrović. Petrović was a well off merchant without a family of his own, so, soon after Nikola Miljković’s death, Jelena’s and his mother as well as other sisters and brothers move to his home. Jelena begins, together with her cousin, Dobrosav Knez Milojković, to study foreign languages. Because of the problems with an eye, reading is limited for her, but she reads in secret books from her brother’s library, which was „pretty big“ for that time.

1881. Wed on February 15 to army officer Jovan Dimitrijević. Moves to Niš where they will stay for the next 17 years, with occassional interruptions. This is the breakthrough in her life. The move to the bigger city and the marriage with Dimitrijević whose „ bachelor apartment had only books...” , meant opening the new horizons. In difference to her brother’s home, she could read here as much as she wanted, and openly.


In 1915 her husband is killed in the battle. In 1919 and 1920 Jelena travels to France and Spain, and leaves for America, where she stays till the end of 1920. In 1926 and 1927 travels to Middle and Far East: Egypt, Syria, Palestine, India, Ceylon, China and Japan. Meets Tagore, and Egyptian and Indian famous feminists.   Dies in Belgrade in 1945. Her manuscripts include poetry and prose works and are still to be explored. 

Place of birth Kruševac
Place(s) of residence Serbia
Place of death Beograd
Nationality srpska
First language(s) Serbian
Marital status Divorced Widowed
Number of children 0
Social class Upper class
Education Self-educated
Religion Eastern orthodox

About her professional situation

1878. Wrote the first poem entitled „Girl!“

1881 Becomes the youngest managing member of the   Brench of Women’s Society in Niš.


In addition to European languages (she will learn German, French, English, Russian, Greek, and most probably Italian) she had already started to learn,  Jelena begun to learn Turkish language and culture. Thanks to the neighbouring Moslem women, who respect her education, Jelena can enter harems and thus learns about the lives of Moslem women in the space which is forbidden for women of confession other than Moslim. This is the beginning of her interest in the lives of Moslim women which will take her to Skoplje, Tessalonika, Istambul and further eastward.

1892. Publishing the long poem „Baba Krasa: U moj zmean i s`g“  in the Christmas issue of the Belgrade magazine  Videlo.  Jelena Dimitrijević herself named it a „versed story“. The poem is renown as the first poem written in a dialect. It is a humorous picture of the life in Niš and has motives which are similar to later novella Đul Marikina prikažnja.

1894. Publishes her first book of poetry in Niš, Pesme I, (Jelena’s Poems). Rumours about the author begin to be heard, among other, that she is a Turkish woman fled from harem and christened. One of the poems from the collection, ”Sunce jarko” (Bright Sun), became very popular among Serbian people as a song. It was recorded as a song according to the singing of Serbian casualties on the Bitolj battlefield.

Profession(s) and other activities Writer of prose and novel, Travel writer, Contributor to periodical press, and Poet
Language(s) in which she wrote Serbian
Financial aspects of her career Stipend/allowance/pension
Memberships Other

Works written by this author


Articles and other similar texts

Non-book materials/ Other material


Reception during lifetime

Reception after death

Authors read by this author