Chica, Elena (1828–1888)

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Chica, Elena (1828–1888)

Rumanian author. Name variations: (pseudonym) Dora d'Istria; Helene Ghica or Elena Ghika. Born in Bucharest, Rumania, in 1828; died in 1888; married Russian Prince Koltzoff- or Kolzow-Massalsky.

Elena Chica received a classical education and acquired an extensive knowledge of modern languages and literature. At age 15, under the pseudonym Dora d'Istria, she began a translation of the Iliad, and not long afterward wrote several pieces for the theater. Her 1855 work, La Vie Monastique dans l'Église Orientale (Monastic Life in the Eastern Church), alleges monasticism to be the principal obstacle to civilization in Eastern and Southern Europe. In 1864, she published the two-volume Des Femmes par une Femme (Women, by a Woman), which was translated into Russian, Italian, and English. Her studies on Albanian poetry gave rise to a nationalistic and literary movement among the Albanians. In April 1868, the Greek Chamber of Deputies named her "high citizeness of Greece." Chica also wrote the four-volume German Switzerland.