Milica Janković

Pseudonyms L. Mihajlović
Date of birth November 23, 1881
Date of death July 27, 1939
Web address

Personal situation

November 23, 1881 – Milica Janković was born in Požarevac into a renowned family of merchants. Her father was Danilo Janković, a famous merchant from Požarevac. During her earliest childhood, her family befell upon highly unfortunate circumstances: the father suffered substantial financial loss and brought his family to the brink of ruin, which would reflect on his marriage and subsequent divorce.

1884 – As a result of family quarrels, the mother of Milica Janković left her husband and took the children to her parents in Veliko Gradište, severing all ties with her spouse. Due to such a turn of events, Milica had almost no recollection of her father.

Until 1892, Milica Janković spent her childhood in Veliko Gradište, where she finished primary school. 

1892–1899 – Milica moved to Belgrade, where she enrolled in the Secondary School for Girls. She finished the School for Painters in Belgrade, which was a private educational institution back then. She was appointed a teacher of painting and drawing at the Higher School for Girls in Kragujevac.

1900/1901 – She enrolled, for the first time, at University, choosing the Russian language as her major, and passed a course held by Professor Radovan Košutić, who noticed her talents and encouraged her to pursue literary translation.

1904 – Milica left for Munich to study painting for a couple of months. She did not have much success, though. It was about that time that she began to suffer from chronic rheumatism, a malady which would shadow her until her death, tying her to her bed for almost twenty years.

1906–1912 – She spent time with her sister in a village called Smoljnice, from where she sent her first literary work to Jovan Skerlić, the editor of Srpski književni glasnik (Serbian Literary Herald). With the help of Skerlić, she received a teaching post in Belgrade at the Second Grammar School for Girls.

1912 – She started studying Russian at the University for the second time.

1914–1918 – The First World War caught her in Split. She spent the occupation in Vrnjci and Trstenik.

1926 – She retired temporarily due to her illness.

1926–1928 – Milica spent this period in Paris undergoing medical treatment. On October 27, 1927, a literary event was held in the grand hall of the New University of Belgrade, featuring prominent members of the literary scene – Pavle Popović, Sima Pandurović, Isidora Sekulić, Vladimir Ćorović, Desanka Maksimović, Velimir Živković Massuka. On this occasion, a certain amount of money was raised to be sent to Milica Janković in Paris for her medical treatment. 

From 1928, Milica was mostly bedridden due to her illness. Seeking treatment, she traveled to Dubrovnik, Split, Cavtat, Vrnjci, Niška Banja, and Trstenik.

On July 27, 1939, Milica Janković died in Niška Banja, a spa resort near Niš. She was buried on July 28, 1939, in Belgrade. Many said their goodbyes with eulogies. Among them were Vladimir Ćorović, Pavle Stefanović (on behalf of the Serbian Literary Cooperative), Dragiša Vasić (on behalf of Serbian authors), Mladen Ćurić (on behalf of Yugoslavian authors), Isidora Sekulić, and Sima Pandurović. 

Milica Janković never married and had no children. Throughout her entire life, she lived in modest conditions and was often underfunded.

Place of birth Požarevac
Place(s) of residence Serbia
Place of death Niška Banja
Nationality Serbian
First language(s) Serbian
Marital status Single
Social class Middle class
Education University education

Professional situation

Milica Janković was a very active female writer. She wrote regularly, until her very death, and left a copious body of work behind her. Her works were read not only in Serbia but in the surrounding countries as well, Croatia and Bosnia especially. Translated into several languages, her literary works were among the most read in the interwar period. She collaborated with the most significant magazines and newspapers of her time: the Serbian Literary Herald, Delo (The Deed), Venac (The Wreath), Bosanska vila (The Bosnian Fairy), Beogradske novine (The Belgrade Newspaper), Savremenik (The Contemporary), Književni jug (The Literary South), Politika (Politics), Misao (Thought) (1919 – 1933, 1937), Ženski pokret (Women’s Movement), Žena i svet (Woman and the World), Južni pregled (The Southern Review), Letopis Matice srpske (Matica Srpska Journal), and many more. She translated books from Russian such as Tolstoy’s trilogy Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, along with the novel Sanin by Mikhail Artsybashev.

Edited by Jelena Milinković

Translated by Dunja Dušanić

Profession(s) and other activities Painter, writer for children, and fiction writer/novelist
Language(s) in which she wrote Serbian
Financial aspects of her career Living by her pen

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