Paul Selver

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(Percy) Paul Selver (22 March 1888 – 6 April 1970) was an English writer and translator. A prolific translator of Czech literature into English, he was best known as the translator of Karel Čapek.[1]


Paul Selver was born to a Jewish family, the son of Wolfe and Catherine (Minden) Selver. He gained a B.A. in English and German from the University of London.[2] After serving in the army during World War I he became a translator, novelist, and contributor to Alfred Richard Orage's magazine The New Age.[3]

Selver spoke and translated from several Germanic and Slavonic languages. In World War II he was a linguistic assistant to the exiled Czech government, but was dismissed when the Communists took over. In 1968 he was awarded a Civil List pension for his services to literature. He died 6 April 1970, his wife having died six months earlier.[3]




  • Schooling, London: Jarrolds, 1924.
  • One, two, three, London : Jarrolds, 1926.
  • Private life, London : Jarrolds Publishers Ltd, 1929.


  • Personalities, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1918
  • A baker's dozen of tin trumpets, and two others of different metal, London, S. Nott, 1935.


  • (as Mark Grossek) First movement. London, 1937.


  • (ed. with intro., notes and vocab.) The chameleon and four other tales by Anton Chekhov. London: Kegan Paul & Co., 1916.
  • 'London mourning', Today, No. 30, Vol. 5 (August 1919)
  • Otakar Březina : a study in Czech literature, Oxford : B. Blackwell, 1921.
  • Czech self-taught by the natural method with phonetic pronunciation: Thimm's system. London: E. Marlborough & Co, ltd., 1927.
  • Masaryk: a biography, London: M. Joseph, 1940
  • Czechoslovak literature, an outline, London : G. Allen & Unwin, 1942
  • Slovníček Anglického Slangu. Glossary of English slang with Czech equivalents. London: G. Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1942
  • A century of Czech and Slovak poetry, London: New Europe Publishing Co.; Prague Press, 1946.
  • English phraseology. A dictionary containing more than 5,000 idiomatic and colloquial words and expressions, London, J. Brodie, 1957.
  • Orage and the New Age circle: reminiscences and reflections, London: Allen & Unwin, 1959
  • France under Napoleon III', London: James Brodie, 1961.
  • 'Preface' to Song out of darkness: selected poems by Vera Rich. London : Mitre Press, 1961.
  • More English phraseology : a supplementary volume to the popular 'English phraseology', Bath: James Brodie, 1965
  • The Art of Translating Poetry, London: John Baker Publishers Ltd., 1966


  1. ^ Robert M. Philmus, 'Matters of Translation: Karel Capek and Paul Selver, Science Fiction Studies, Volume 28, Part 1 (March 2001)
  2. ^ Clare D. Kinsman (1994). Contemporary authors, permanent series: a bio-bibliographical guide to current authors and their works. Gale Research Co. p. 468. ISBN 978-0-8103-0037-8. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b 'Mr Paul Selver: Translator and man of letters', The Times, 16 April 1970.

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