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Jelena Kujundžić

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Jelena Kujundžić (Belgrade, 1844-1914) was a Serbian translator and proofreader and the wife of Stojan Novaković. She is known for her diary in which she described life during the reign of Mihailo and Miloš Obrenović.


Jelena Kujundžić was born in Belgrade in 1844. Her parents were Jovan Kujundžić "Valjevac" (1813 - 1877) and Anastasia - Nasta, daughter of the president of the court Maksim Ranković. Her brother was Milan Kujundžić Aberdar (1842-1893)[1]. They lived on the corner of Đura Jakšić and Miloš Obilićevo venac streets. Jelena finished elementary school in Belgrade, and completed her secondary education at the Czech Spaček Institute for the Education of Women.[2]Jelena fell in love with her brother's friend, Stojan Novaković (1842-1915), a professor, when she met him in the circle of the Serbian Youth Movement. They were married in July 1864, when Jelena was less than twenty years old. They lived in Belgrade in Resavska Street and had several children. One of their sons, Mileta, was a professor at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade.[3]

Literary work[edit]

Jelena Jela Novaković, born Kujundžić, was only 18 years old when the Serbian capital was bombed by the Turkish garrison in 1862. Encouraged by this event, this young girl began her writing career and became a witness to difficult times through her diary entries. In 1864, just before her marriage, she published the song "Devojačka pesma" in the periodical Danica (No. 4, p. 297, from 1864).[4]

Girl's song[edit]

Wait, wish, wait,
Where is he suddenly like that?
Wait, wish, wait,
Come on, take it easy But where do you fly,
Where are you going to land?
Oh, you want honey,
Dragan on the wings To tell him the word
But which, which?
Oh, that I love him
Like your soul.

Pavle Popović, a Serbian literary historian, notes the following in one of his texts about Jelena: "She was a girl of her time, she loved literature, she received youthful ideas. There was a big mulberry tree in the courtyard of her father's house she read and wrote poems to him."

Literary historians state that the diary that Jelena kept in the 1960s is a significant testimony to the time in which she lived. Jela, shaken by the Čukur Fountain incident, which triggered the Ottoman bombing of Belgrade, decided to record as much information as possible about this event. She later wrote that she felt as if God had re-created her by surviving that terrible day, and that this caused her to "record every point and case" that happened in her life.[5]

Jela writes the following about this important and difficult day in Serbian history: "June 3, 1862 was a beautiful time, and the world wandered the streets impatiently waiting for the voice of music to be heard, to invite him to the promenade. The band began to play young people. I'm happy to walk up and down, with mischievous looks, meeting each other. That beautiful weather also deceived me. And I believed in that bright sun that it would constantly shine as it seemed in the afternoon. I didn't know that it would deceive. " Although he records events as if he were making a biography of a time, the way he writes suggests a poetic manner. Parts of the diary will not be published until fifty years after its creation. They will be published by Stojan Novaković with the message that they can testify about "the mood and the home side of that time". The diary describes not only the bombing, but also life during the reigns of Milos and Mihailo Obrenović.

Due to the poetic correspondence with her future husband, Jelena believed that there would be places to engage in poetry in marriage as well. But, like all the girls of that time, by marriage she accepted new duties, suppressed her desire to write and, instead, managed to proofread and translate.

The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts keeps Stojan Novaković's family correspondence in its Archive, which, among other things, includes Jelena's letter to her son Mileta, which testifies to the unfulfilled wishes of this poet. In her confession, Jela states: "I was also attracted by the desire for poetry, for writing, for higher science; but, at that time, it was not customary for a female child to go to school a lot ... And I obeyed that life and gave up I started reading a lot at night, my health started to fall apart, at that moment your father came and so all the girl's life was done according to the regulations ... We started renting out Villa, it's a new job. we had the first corrections and others followed them throughout our lives ... "

Jelena Jela Kujundžić, married to Novaković, died in 1914. She left behind verses, a diary and translations - a testimony and reminder of some other times.


  2. name="инфо 011">cite web |last=Бореновић |first=Ина |title=Јелена Јела Новаковић – песнички сведок минулог времена |url= |website=011-инфо |accessdate=18 October 2019
  3. name="Књиженство">cite journal |last=Ђуричић |first=Милица |title=Јелена Јела Кујунџић |journal=Књиженство |url= |accessdate=18 October 2019 |archive-date=17. 10. 2019 |archive-url= |url-status=dead
  4. cite book |last=Алексијевић |first=Властоје |title=Савременици и последници Доситеја Обрадовића и Вука Стеф. Караџића |url= |accessdate=25 October 2019
  5. Mišković, Nataša (August 1, 2008). "Marriage and household in the Belgrade elite at the beginning of the 20th century: The Novaković family". The History of the Family. 13 (2): 152–162. doi:10.1016/j.hisfam.2008.03.001 – via ScienceDirect.

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