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Eça de Queiroz

Eça de Queiroz

Jose Maria de Eça de Queiroz was born on 25th November 1845 in the small town of Povoa de Varzim in the north of Portugal. His mother was nineteen and unmarried. Only the name of his father - a magistrate - appears on the birth certificate. Following the birth, his mother returned immediately to her respectable family in Viana do Castelo, and Eca was left with his wetnurse, who looked after him for six years until her death. Although his parents married later - when Eca was four - and had six more children, Eca did not live with them until he was twenty-one, living instead either with grandparents or at a boarding school in Oporto, where he spent the holidays with his aunt. His father only officially acknowledged Eca as his son when the latter was forty. He did, however, pay for his son's studies at boarding school and at Coimbra University, where Eca studied Law, and was always supportive of his writing ambitions. After working as the editor and sole contributor on a provincial newspaper in Evora, Eca made a trip to the Middle East. Then, in order to launch himself on a diplomatic career, he worked for six months in Leiria, a provincial town north of lisbon, as a municipal administrator, before being appointed consul in Havana(1872-74), Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1874-79) and Bristol(1879-88). In 1886 he married Emilia de Castro with whom he had four children. His last consular posting was to Paris in 1888. He served there until his death in 1900 at the age of only fifty-four.

He began writing stories and essays as a young man and became involved with a group of intellectuals known as the Generation of '70, who were committed to reforms in society and the arts. Dedalus has made all his major works available in English in new translations by Margaret Jull Costa.

The ten titles published are: The Mandarin, The Relic, The Tragedy of the Street of Flowers, The Crime of Father Amaro, Cousin Bazilio, The Maias, The City and the Mountains, Alves & Co, The Mystery of Sintra Road and The Illustrious House of Ramires.

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