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Alfred Richard Allinson (1852-1929) was a British academic, author, and voluminous translator of continental European literature (mostly French, but occasionally Latin, German and Russian) into English. His translations were often published as by A. R. Allinson, Alfred R. Allinson or Alfred Allinson. He was described as "an elusive literary figure about whom next to nothing is known; the title-pages of his published works are really all we have to go on."
His early works as a translator included a number of works of French erotica for Paris-based speciality publisher Charles Carrington in the late 1880s and 1890s. Later he branched out into mainstream French literature, including works of various serious and popular authors. He participated with other translators in two ambitious early twentieth century projects to render the works of Anatole France and Alexandre Dumas into English. He also translated a number of children's books and historical works, and, late in his career, a number of volumes of the sensationalist Fantômas detective novels.
Allinson's sole work of note as an original author was The Days of the Directoire (1910), a historical and social portrait of France during the period of the French Revolution. His aim in this work was "to present a vivid account of the extraordinary years from 1795 to 1799, when the Five Directors ruled France from the Palace of the Luxembourg; to portray the chief actors of those stirring times; and to draw a picture of the social conditions prevailing in capital and country after the tremendous changes of the Revolution."
Allinson's primary importance to literature is in helping to introduce French authors Alexandre Dumas and Anatole France to a broad English audience. Several of his translations of their works were the first into English, and a number of these remain the only English versions. In the case of Anatole France, his were the English versions authorised by the original writer.
^Allinson, Alfred. The Days of the Directoire, London, John Lane, 1910, p. vii.
^In 1902, more than a year after Wilde's death, Carrington published this translation of the Satyricon with no translator identified on the title page but a loose slip of paper inserted in every copy that the translation was "done direct from the original Latin by 'Sebastian Melmoth' (Oscar Wilde)" - using Wilde's well-known pen-name and then providing his name. A copy, without the attribution to Wilde, is at: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044013686464;view=1up;seq=13 . Experts on Petronius have doubted the attribution and, when challenged, Carrington could not produce any part of the manuscript. Experts on Wilde are more emphatic that Wilde did not write it, as the English falls far below Wilde's standards, the work was unknown to those who were close to Wilde and was especially unlikely to have been done in his last years in Paris, and the family and literary executor of Oscar Wilde demanded that Carrington cease attributing the book to him; at this point (ca. 1909) Carrington issued a grudging retraction that it had "been attributed quite erroneously to the pen of Oscar Wilde". The underlying text is very inferior, e.g. it incorporates the passages forged by Nodot. The bibliography is also disappointing, and the introduction errs in assigning the 1736 translation by John Addison to the better-known Joseph Addison who died in 1719. In 1930, ten years after Carrington's death, the Panurge Press, in New York, republished this translation, with its introduction (but not its bibliography, forward, or footnotes) with Alfred R. Allinson identified as the translator and author of the introduction. The translation itself hints that the translator was working from French renderings of Satyricon, more than from the original Latin. Boroughs, Rod, "Oscar Wilde's Translation of Petronius: The Story of a Literary Hoax", English Literature in Transition (ELT) 1880-1920, vol. 38, nr. 1 (1995) pages 9-49. Gaselee, Stephen, "The Bibliography of Petronius", Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, vol. 10 (1908) page 202.