José Maria Eça de Queirós was born in Póvoa de Varzim, a small fishing town. He was the illegitimate son of a prominent Brazilian judge, Maria de Almeida Teixeira de Queiroz. His mother and grandmother had moved to Póvoa de Varzim in order to keep the her pregnancy a secret. Formally Eça de Queirós was not acknowledged by his parents until he was in his forties. With his father’s support he was able to study at the University of Coimbra. Originally Eça’s name was spelled Queiroz, but after the spelling of Portuguese was standardized with an agreement with Brazil, the name is now Queirós.
Eça de Queirós was raised by his paternal grandparents, even after his father had married Carolina Augusta Pereira d’Eca, who was most likely his mother. At the age of five he was sent to a boarding school in Oporto. He studied law at the University of Coimbra and after graduation his father helped him make a start in legal profession. Eça de Queirós spent most of his life in the consular service… read more