Alexander Teixeira de Mattos
Alexander Teixeira de Mattos
Alexander Louis Teixeira de Mattos
April 9, 1865
|Died||December 5, 1921 (aged 56)|
|Occupation||Journalist, critic, publisher, professional translator|
Alexander Louis Teixeira de Mattos (April 9, 1865 – December 5, 1921), known as Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, was a Dutch-English journalist, literary critic and publisher, who gained his greatest fame as a translator.
The Teixeira de Mattos Sampaio e Mendes family was of Portuguese Jewish origin, having been driven out of Portugal to the Netherlands by Holy Office persecution. Alexander Teixeira de Mattos was born as a Dutch Protestant to an English mother and a Dutch father. In 1874, when he was nine years old, he and his family moved from Amsterdam to England. There, he studied under Monsignor Thomas John Capel and converted to Roman Catholicism. He then studied at the Kensington Catholic Public School and at the Jesuit school Beaumont College.
After his studies, Teixeira came into contact with J. T. Grein, a London impresario of Dutch origin, and was made secretary of Grein's Independent Theatre Society. He worked as a freelance translator, as the London correspondent of a Dutch newspaper, and as the editor of the papers Dramatic Opinions and The Candid Friend, and, in collaboration with Leonard Smithers, in publishing. He became the official translator of the works of Maurice Maeterlinck, beginning with Maeterlinck's The Double Garden.
Teixera was fluent in English, French, German, Flemish, Dutch, and Danish. In addition to the later works of Maeterlinck, his translations include works by Émile Zola, Alexis de Tocqueville, Maurice Leblanc, Gaston Leroux, François René de Chateaubriand, Paul Kruger, Carl Ewald, Georgette Leblanc, Stijn Streuvels, and Louis Couperus. He considered his greatest achievement to be his complete translation of Jean-Henri Fabre's natural history.
In the 1890s, Teixeira 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 was head of the Intelligence Section, as well as a member of the Advisory Board, of the War Trade Intelligence Department. Midway through the war, Teixeira became a British subject. In June 1920, he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Leopold II.
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. Alexander and Lily Teixeira de Mattos had one son, who died a few hours after birth.
Teixeira 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. He was also personal friends with Maurice Maeterlinck and Louis Couperus, both of whom wrote works he translated. He was politically liberal and a devout Catholic.
Due to ill health, Teixeira traveled on a rest cure in 1920 at Crowborough and the Isle of Wight, returning to his home in Chelsea, London in spring 1921. He worked as usual through the autumn and traveled to Cornwall for the winter. On December 5, 1921, in St Ives, Cornwall he collapsed and died from angina pectoris. The New York Times, in its obituary notice, called him "one of the best translators of foreign languages of the present generation." The high quality and readability of Teixera's 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.
List of translations
The dates given in the list below are the publication dates for Teixeira's translations. Unless otherwise referenced, all information in the list is derived from catalog entries in WorldCat.
|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 (Translated with John Gray)||1892|
|Louis Couperus||Majesty: A Novel (Begun by Teixeira, completed by Ernest Dowson)||1894|
|Louis Couperus||The Books of Small Souls, Vol. I: Small Souls||1914|
|Louis Couperus||The Books of Small Souls, Vol. II: The Later Life||1915|
|Louis Couperus||The Books of Small Souls, Vol. III: The Twilight of the Souls||1917|
|Louis Couperus||The Books of Small Souls, Vol. IV: Dr. Adriaan||1918|
|Louis Couperus||Old People and the Things that Pass||1918|
|Louis Couperus||The Tour: A Story of Ancient Egypt||1920|
|Louis Couperus||The Inevitable||1920|
|Louis Couperus||The Hidden Force: A Story of Modern Java||1921|
|Robert d'Humières||Through Isle and Empire||1905|
|Carl Ewald||My Little Boy||1906|
|Carl Ewald||The spider, and other tales||1907|
|Carl Ewald||The Old Room||1908|
|Carl Ewald||The Four Seasons||1913|
|Carl Ewald||The Old Willow-tree, and other stories||1921|
|Carl Ewald||The Pond||1922|
|Carl Ewald||The twelve sisters and other stories||1923|
|Jean-Henri Fabre||The Works of J. H. Fabre||1912–1922|
|Fernand Grenard||Tibet: the country and its inhabitants||1904|
|Jozef Israëls||Spain: the story of a journey||1900|
|Melati van Java||The Resident's Daughter||1893|
|Paul Kruger||The memoirs of Paul Kruger, four times president of the South African republic||1902|
|Georgette Leblanc||The Children's Bluebird||1913|
|Georgette Leblanc||The Choice of Life||1914|
|Georgette Leblanc||The girl who found the blue bird; a visit to Helen Keller||1914|
|Georgette Leblanc||Maeterlinck's dogs||1920|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Exploits of Arsène Lupin||1907|
|Maurice Leblanc||Arsène Lupin versus Holmlock Shears||1909|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Frontier||1912|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Confessions of Arsène Lupin||1912|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Hollow Needle||1913|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Crystal Stopper||1913|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Teeth of the Tiger||1915|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Bomb-Shell: 1914||1916|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Golden Triangle||1917|
|Maurice Leblanc||Coffin Island||1920|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Eyes of Innocence (Original title: Le Roman d'une jeune fille)||1920|
|Maurice Leblanc||The secret of Sarek||1920|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Three Eyes||1921|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Eight Strokes of the Clock||1922|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Tremendous Event||1922|
|Maurice Leblanc||The Secret Tomb||1922|
|Gaston Leroux||The Phantom of the Opera||1911|
|Jean Léonard||Souvenirs of Léonard, hairdresser to Queen Marie-Antoinette||1897|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Chrysanthemums and other essays||1904|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Double Garden||1904|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||"King Lear" in Paris||1905|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||My Dog||1906|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Old-fashioned flowers and other open-air essays||1906|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Intelligence of the Flowers||1907|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Life and Flowers||1907|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Measure of the Hours||1907|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||News of spring and other nature studies||1907|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The leaf of olive||1908|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Mary Magdalene||1910|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Blue Bird||1910|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Hours of Gladness||1912|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Our Eternity||1913|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Our Friend the Dog||1913|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Unknown Guest||1914|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Life and letters||1914|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Wrack of the Storm||1916|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Light Beyond||1917|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Burgomaster of Stilemonde||1918|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Betrothal or the Blue Bird Chooses||1918|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||The Miracle of Saint Anthony||1918|
|Maurice Maeterlinck||Mountain Paths||1919|
|G. Hermine Marius||Dutch painting in the nineteenth century||1908|
|Eugénie de Coucy Oudinot||Memoirs of Marshal Oudinot, duc de Reggio||1896|
|Xavier Paoli||My royal clients||1911|
|Peter Rosegger||The forest farm: tales of the Austrian Tyrol||1912|
|Stijn Streuvels||The Path of Life||1915|
|Alexis de Tocqueville||The Recollections of Alexis de Tocqueville||1896|
|August Weissl||The Mystery of the Green Car||1913|
|Émile Zola||The heirs of Rabourdin||1894|
|Émile Zola||La curée||1895|
- McKenna, Stephen (1922). Tex: A Chapter in the Life of Alexander Teixeira de Mattos. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 10.
- "About Authors" (PDF). The New York Times. 7 May 1904. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- Schenkar, Joan (2000). Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Oscar Wilde's Niece. Great Britain: Virago Press. p. 72. ISBN 0306810794.
- McKenna, p. 11.
- McKenna, p. 8.
- McKenna, p. 12.
- Merkle, Denise (2003). "The Lutetian Society". TTR: traduction, terminologie, rédaction. 16 (2): 73–101. doi:10.7202/010716ar.
- McKenna, p. 14.
- McKenna, p. 90.
- McKenna, p. 16.
- McKenna, p. 19.
- McKenna, pp. 29.
- McKenna, p. 15.
- "Books and Authors" (PDF). The New York Times. 15 January 1922. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "The Blue Bird, by Maurice Maeterlinck". www.gutenberg.org.
- Ronald Breugelmans, Louis Couperus in den vreemde (Leiden, 2008). Includes ten letters by Teixeira to the Dutch writer Louis Couperus.