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Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja, Serbian writer, 1828-1878

By Biljana Dojčinović, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja, "The Fairy from Vrdnik", was born in Bukovac, Srem (then Austrian empire), in 1828 or 1830. In her youth she became famous for her patriotic poetry, which was concerned with national awakening. Her first book of poems, Pesme (Poems), was published in 1850, and, later on, two expanded editions were issued in 1855 and 1869. She also published a diary titled U Fruškoj gori 1854 (In Fruška Gora in 1854), in three volumes, issued in 1861, 1862 and 1866. She spoke and translated from German. Milica is also considered the first woman war reporter, as she wrote a report about bombing of Belgrade in 1862. She died in Belgrade (Serbia) in 1878, forgotten and poor.

Reception of Milica’s work can be clearly divided in mainstream (central, canonical) and peripheral (marginal, minor, off-canon) reception, as well as in different periods. Mainstream reception was determined by Jovan Skerlić (1877-1914), a famous critic who evaluated her poetry in 1905 as "dispassionate, dull, cold", but claimed that her diary was a work "which is among the most important, most typical, intimate documents of the romantic spirit in our literature". He defined the very essence of the figure of Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja as a misplaced fascination: "Out of her love for poetry, she had misguided her whole life, and made herself a victim of books and of a higher, literary dream of life." (Skerlić 1905, 333 and 339). The second important mainstream mention of Milica is in a book on the history of Serbian literature by Jovan Deretić (Istorija srpske književnosti), where she is mentioned several times as a figure who "fascinated contemporaries not only because of her poetry, but also because of her unusual beauty... but whose verses... have more moral preaching and patriotic thoughts than real poetry. She expressed better her personality in the diary U Fruškoj gori than in her poems...' " (Deretić 1983, 328).

Reception of her work by the (mostly) female community begun in 1907 with Spomenica (A Memento), a booklet including some of her letters, poems and texts about her, as well as the poems devoted to her. In a Srpkinja calendar issue from 1913 she is praised as a foremother of Serbian women writers. Anica Savić-Rebac, an outstanding female Hellenist, spoke at a memorial meeting in Milica’s honour organized by female students in Belgrade in 1926. Milica’s diary was reprinted in 1985 by the publishing house "Prosveta" in Belgrade; her correspondence with Vuk and Mina Karadžić (Prepiska Milice Stojadinović Srpkinje sa Vukom i Minom) was published in 1987 (Književna zajednica Novog Sada); and four years later her other letters to contemporaries were published in a book (all three books were edited and prepared by Radmila Gikić). A selection of Milica’s poems was published in 1995 (selection and foreword by Danica Vujkov, Papirus, Novi Sad). Also, a traditional "Pilgrimage to Milica" has been held every year. Tatjana Rosić wrote a section about Milica’s diary in her MA thesis on Romantic diaries, published in 1994. In 1996 a novel by Milica Mićić Dimovska, a contemporary author, appeared. Around and after 2000, the reception of Milica Stojadinović’s work gained new impetus from women’s studies in the works by Celia Hawkesworth, Magdalena Koch, Slavica Garonja and Biljana Dojčinović.


Works by Stojadinović-Srpkinja, Milica

  • 1850. Pesme (Poems), pečatnja Medakovića, Zemun
  • 1855. Pesme (Poems) Book no. II, knjigopečatnja H. I. K. Soprona, Zemun.
  • 1861. U Fruškoj gori 1854 (In Fruška gora 1854), diary, episkopska knjigopečatnja Novi Sad
  • 1862. U Fruškoj gori 1854, K. Soprona, Zemun.
  • 1866. U Fruškoj gori 1854, sa dodatkom pesama iz 1855, 1864 (In Fruška gora, with poems from 1855 and 1864), štamparija Ignjata Fuksa, Novi Sad
  • 1869. Pesme (Poems) državna štamparija Beograd, 1869.
  • 1985. U Fruškoj gori 1854 (In Fruška gora 1854),. Reprint. Prosveta, Beograd.
  • 1995. Pesme (Poems) selection and foreword by Danica Vujkov, Papirus, Novi Sad.

Reception of Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja’s work

  • Aleksijević Vlastoje D. 1994/95. “Naša žena u književnom stvaranju", (izložen kao predavanje na novosadskom Narodnom univerzitetu 5. februara 1941 u sali Spomen-doma, na priredbi Matice naprednih žena iz Novog Sada. Objavljen je iste godine), (Our Woman and Literary Work, first time printed in 1941), reprinted in ProFemina, No.1, pp. 164-181. (an overview article, mentioned in it)
  • Библиографија књига женских писаца штампаних у Војводини,Србији, Јужној Србији и Црној Гори до свршетка 1935. Грађу прикупила Надежда Петровић, библиотекар Народне библиотеке. 1936. Штампа Државне штампарије Краљевине Југославије, Београд. (Bibliography of books written by women authors printed in Vojvodina, Serbia, Southern Serbia and Montenegro up to the end of the year 1935. Nadežda Petrovi, a librarian of the National Library of Serbia, collected the material)(Her works listed)
  • Deretić, Jovan, Istorija srpske književnosti (History of Serbian Literature) Nolit, Beograd, 1983, p. 328. (a short entry about Milica)
  • Dojčinović-Nešić, Biljana, „Оn Women and Literature at the Beginning of XX Century“, pp. 20-34
  • ”My Name is Impossibility:” Observations on An/Other Literary History”, pp. 35-56.
  • "Transcribing the voice of the mother: The diary of Milica Stojadinovic Srpkinja", pp. 57-87 in GendeRings, Gendered Readings in Serbian Women's Writing. Beograd, 2006.
  • Garonja, Slavica (2010). Žena u srpskoj književnosti (Woman in Serbian Literature), Dnevnik, Novi Sad.
  • Gikić, Radmila. 1985 "Milica Stojadinovic Srpkinja" pogovor u /afterword in U Fruškoj gori 1854. (In Fruška Gora 1854), Prosveta, Beograd.
  • 1991. Predgovor/Foreword in Prepiska Milice Stojadinović Srpkinje (Correspondence of Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja), KZ Novog Sada, Novi Sad.
  • Hawkesworth, Celia. 2000. "Voices in the Shadows: Women and Verbal Art in Serbia and Bosnia". Budapest: CEU Press (an article), pp. 102-112.
  • Frankl, Ludwig August. 1907. a text in Spomenica Milice Stojadinović Srpkinje, Beograd, pp.31-68.
  • Koch, Magdalena, (2007) ...kada sazremo kao kultura... Stvaralaštvo srpskih spisateljica na početku 20. veka (kanon – žanr –rod), Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wroclawskiego, Wroclaw.
  • Mićić-Dimovska, Milica. 1996. Poslednji zanosi MSS (The Last Fascinations of MSS, a novel). Nolit, Beograd. (a novel)
  • Rosić, Tatjana. 1994. Proizvoljnost dnevnika,(The Arbitrariness of the Diary), Institut za književnost i umetnost, Beograd, pp. 89-106.
  • Radić, Stevan, (1913) “O Milici Stojadinović- Srpkinji”, Srpkinja: njezin život i rad, njezin kulturni razvitak i njezina narodna umjetnost do danas. pp. 7-14. (article)
  • Savić-Rebac, Anica.(1966) "Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja", in Helenski vidici (Hellenic Horizons), Srpska književna zadruga, Beograd.
  • Skerlić, Jovan. 1907 "Milica Stojadinović-Srpkinja, književna slika" (Milica Stojadinović-Srpkinja, a Literary Portrait) in Spomenica Milice Stojadinović- Srpkinje (A Memento to Milica Stojadinović-Srpkinja), Beograd,.
  • Skerlić, Jovan 1964, "Milica Stojadinović-Srpkinja" (1905) in Pisci i knjige, (Writers and Books) Prosveta, Beograd, p. 333,339.
  • Spomenica Milice Stojadinović Srpkinje (A Memento of Milica Stojadinović-Srpkinja): includes texts by Jovan Skerlić (pp. 1-30): Ludwig August Frankl (pp.31-68); Milorad Šapčanin (pp. 69-74) and poems by Ljubomir Nenadović (p. 75), Đorđe Rajković (76) and Svetolik Lazarević (77). There are also five poems by Milica Stojadinović.
  • Srpkinja: njezin život i rad, njezin kulturni razvitak i njezina narodna umjetnost do danas. (Serbian Woman: her life and work, her cultural development and her folklore art up to date) Edited by: Serbian women writers, printed by: Dobrotvorna zadruga Srpkinja u Irigu (Humanitarian Society of Serbian Women in Irig), Štamparija Pijuković i drug, Sarajevo, 1913. Mentioned as a foremother in the text On Women and Literature, pp. 15-22.
  • Srpkinja – women’s magazine for 1897 (published in 1896), Dr Ilija Ognjanović: Description of the life and work of Evstatia ot Arsić, nee Cincić, (1776-1843), the first Serbian woman writer, with the list of women writers in Serbia pp. 108-110 (name mentioned on the list)

AsK October 2011

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