Alexander Teixeira de Mattos : biography
Alexander Louis Teixeira de Mattos San Payo y Mendes (April 9, 1865 in Amsterdam – December 5, 1921 in St Ives, Cornwall), known as Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, was a Dutch journalist, literary critic and publisher, who gained his greatest fame as a translator.
Teixeira de Mattos moved with his family to England from Amsterdam in 1874 and was educated at the Kensington catholic public school. He worked as a correspondent, editor and dramatic critic for several Dutch newspapers. On 20 October 1900, he married Lily Wilde, née Sophie Lily Lees (1859-1922), the widow of Oscar Wilde's older brother Willie Wilde and thus became the stepfather of Dolly Wilde, then age 5.
In England, he studied under Monsignor Thomas John Capel and at the Jesuit school Beaumont College.
In the 1890s, Teixeira de Mattos was the leading translator for the Lutetian Society, a group whose mission was "to issue to its members, translations of such representative master-pieces of fiction by Continental authors as are unprocurable in English in an unmutilated rendering." He oversaw the Society's publication of unexpurgated translations of six banned novels by Émile Zola in 1894–5, contributing his own translation of the third volume in the series, La curée.
During World War I, Teixera de Mattos was head of the intelligence section of the Department of War Trade Intelligence.
He was responsible for many translations from French, Dutch, Danish, German, and West Flemish, including works by Émile Zola, Maurice Maeterlinck, Alexis de Tocqueville, Jean-Henri Fabre, Maurice Leblanc, Gaston Leroux, François René de Chateaubriand, Paul Kruger, Carl Ewald, Georgette Leblanc, Stijn Streuvels, and Louis Couperus. The high quality and readability of his work was such that many of his translations are still in print today. For example, though his translation of La curée is over a century old, its accuracy and style have given it a status still unrivaled by more modern versions.
Teixeira de Mattos was known to his acquaintances as a dandy and a fastidious worker, keeping strictly to set hours, and was linked to the Symbolist movement thanks to his friendship and travels with Arthur Symons.
Teixeira de Mattos died suddenly on December 5, 1921, in St Ives. The New York Times, in its obituary notice, called him "one of the best translators of foreign languages of the present generation."
The dates given in the list below are the publication dates for Teixeira de Mattos's translations.
- Arthur Byl
- Yvette Guilbert (1898)
- Antoine de Castellane
- Men and things of my time (1911)
- François René de Chateaubriand
- The memoirs of François René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, sometime ambassador to England (1902)
- Louis Couperus
- Ecstasy: A Study of Happiness (1892, translated with John Gray)
- Majesty: A Novel (1894, begun by Teixeira de Mattos, completed by Ernest Dowson)
- The Books of Small Souls (four volumes):
- Small Souls (1914)
- The Later Life (1915)
- The Twilight of the Souls (1917)
- Dr. Adriaan (1918)
- Old People and the Things that Pass (1918)
- The Tour: A Story of Ancient Egypt (1920)
- The Inevitable (1920)
- The Hidden Force: A Story of Modern Java (1921)
- Robert d'Humières
- Through Isle and Empire (1905)
- Carl Ewald
- My Little Boy (1906)
- Two-Legs (1906)
- The spider, and other tales (1907)
- The Old Room (1908)
- The Four Seasons (1913)
- The Old Willow-tree, and other stories (1921)
- The Pond (1922)
- The twelve sisters and other stories (1923)
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