Paths, Ties, and Discoveries of Three Serbian Writers

The exhibition Paths, Ties, and Discoveries dedicated to three Serbian women writers Jelena Dimitrijević, Desanka Maksimović and Isidora Sekulić opened at the National Library of Serbia. Vladimir Pištalo, the director of the National Library of Serbia, Andreja Rihter, the president of the Women Writers Route Association, as well as Biljana Dojčinović and Mirjana Stanišić, the authors of the exhibition, spoke at the opening. The exhibition is open until 17 March 2023.

The exhibition is part of the project Women Writers Route (WWR), launched on the initiative of the Forum of Slavic Cultures. This is one of the 48 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe and one of around a dozen that pass through Serbia. In the Serbian section of this route, an important role belongs to the WWR member National Library of Serbia as an institution that keeps the legacy and works of these women writers, and to the Foundation of Desanka Maksimović, which is located in the National Library of Serbia itself. The exhibition was organised in collaboration with Knjiženstvo, based at the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, also a member of the WWR Association.

At the  exhibition, the works of Jelena J. Dimitrijević (1862–1945) that she wrote on her journeys across America and around the world are presented, as well as the poems that she wrote in the early 1930s in France. Dimitrijević’s experience in America is described in her 1934 travelogue The New World or A Year in America, in her stories from the Serbian Literary Gazette, and in the poems from her manuscripts On the Ocean and Over the Ocean, Toward the Sun for the Sun, and From the New World, all of them being kept at the National Library of Serbia. Her journey around the world is narrated in the form of a travelogue entitled Seven Seas and Three Oceans.

The part of the exhibition dedicated to Isidora Sekulić (1877–1958) contains a manuscript of her book Fellow Travellers, the first edition of this 1913 collection of texts, and the three entries from it that she originally published in the Serbian Literary Gazette. In her written communications with Svetislav B. Cvijanović and Svetislav Petrović, which are exhibited for this occasion, one can note writer’s enthrallment with the culture and nature of this part of Europe. Sekulić’s fascination with the beauty, magnificence and quietude of Norwegian landscapes is at the core of her travelogue Letters from Norway, whose first edition is included in the exhibition.

Desanka Maksimović (1898–1993) visited many countries, yet travelogues are only a minor part of her overall literary oeuvre. The exhibition presents a travelogue of hers about Australia, from a notebook that was found in her legacy, and is now publicly exhibited for the first time. The exhibition also displays original manuscripts of her poems, letters and translations. What has also been singled out from her rich legacy for this exhibition is a batch of unpublished materials which bear evidence to her relationships with different Slavic women writers. Among others, the correspondence that, from 1957 until nearly the end of her life, Desanka Maksimović had with Ida Radvolina and Olga Kutasova.

At the opening the exhibition, Mrs. Andreja Rihter gave out the copies of the certificate of the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe to the Serbian members of the Association.

The digital version of the exhibition is posted at

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