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Eca's English Letters

Eca De Queiros

Translated by Alison Aiken and Ann Stevens

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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857545 00 5
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: October 2000
216 x 133 x 15 mm
128 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Author
  • Solemn, grand, vulnerable - and a little absurd: England in the 1880s. The gentry endures tedious country-bound winter weeks (fashion forbids them from showing their faces in London). Lord Beaconsfield is mourned, and a national legend buried. The Times remains the gruff voice of a postprandial Establishment which has just made a meal of the whole world and put its feet on the fender, warming its gout. Abroad, John Bull is sweet reason; Irish rebels must not incommode English land-lords; Egyptian rebels must learn to respect their established rulers...

    Meanwhile, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a young consul, Eca de Queiros, writes regular letters to his Brazilian readers, giving a dry, amused, not wholly impartial account of these and other English activities. His facts can get a shade garbled, his irony verges on the cruel: he describes people, places and events in a vigorous, lively way, blowing stylish raspberries at venerable institutions. The Times is especially comic. A corrective to the British propaganda of the period and to the rhetoric of Great Britain Plc, Eca's English Letters provides timeless amusement from its vantage-point in history, a vision of Victorian Britain less eminently civilised than it thought itself to be.

    To Ann Stevens' celebrated translations of the Letters, this edition adds further letters, passages from the Cronicas de Londres and Notas Contemporaneas not previously translated.
    Eca De Queiros
    Eca de Queiros was born in 1845 at Povoa de Varzim in northern Portugal, the son of a magistrate. After studying law, he travelled widely and entered the diplomatic service. Married, and with four children, Eca was known as a genial host, a raconteur, wit, dandy, aesthete and bon viveur . ... read more
    Alison Aiken
    Alison Aiken, granddaughter of the American poet Conrad Aiken and niece of the children's author Joan Aiken, holds a PhD in Portuguese literature and has been a freelance translator for twenty years. ... read more
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