English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Ted Hofmann

British literature and history from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on poetry, fiction, and drama.

We usually have a selection of literary works from the STC and Wing period (i.e. before 1701), and a broad range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and poetry, particularly the Romantics. We also have a selection of historical manuscripts, prints and broadsides, and works in translation.

Among important works which have passed through our hands are the editor's presentation copy of Milton's Lycidas, Swift's Modest Proposal, the autograph draft of Byron's She walks in beauty, the autograph manuscript of Jane Austen's only play Sir Charles Grandison, Dickens’s copy of Vanity Fair, Trollope's classical library, and, over the years, some fifty Shakespeare First Folios.

  1. ACCOUNT OF THE MOST REMARKABLE VOYAGES (An)

    from the Discovery of America by Columbus to the present Time.

    London: William Darton and Son … 1831.

    First and only edition of a compendium of exploration and discovery for children, taking in Columbus, Drake, Parry, Look, Franklin etc. True to its promise to record adventures up ‘to the present time’, the most recent voyage recorded here is Captain Ross’s attempt to discover the North-West passage....

    £250

  2. AEMYLIUS, Paulus (Paolo EMILIO).

    Historici clarissimi de rebus gestis Francorum…

    Paris, Michel Vascosan, 1550.

    Early editions of the three classical complementary chronicles of France from the fifth to the mid-sixteenth century, often issued and bound together.

    £750

  3. (a). GOULET, Robert.

    Compendium recenter editum de multiplici Parisiensis Universitatis magnificentia, dignitate, et excellentia,...

    Paris, Toussaint Denis, 1517.

    First edition of the first account of the University of Paris, ‘probably the earliest monograph on any university’ – E. P. Goldschmidt.

    £12500

  4. AINSWORTH, William Harrison.

    The Lord Mayor of London: or, City Life in the Last Century ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Chapman and Hall ... 1862.

    First edition. The Lord Mayor of London is set in the reign of George III, but Ainsworth’s worthy Sir Gresham Lorimer embodies all the Victorian qualities of the industrious, honest citizen, risen from humble origins to the highest civic position. His wife adopts the exaggerated dress of the...

    £750

  5. AINSWORTH, William Harrison.

    Preston Fight; or, the Insurrection of 1715. A Tale …

    London: Tinsley Brothers … 1875.

    Ainsworth’s decline in popularity in his later years has rendered his later novels, published by Tinsley in smaller editions than his early work, increasingly scarce.

    £950

  6. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    Momus [or De principe].

    Rome, Jacopo Mazochi, 1520.

    First edition of this political and social satire by the great Renaissance architect, theorist, scholar and man of letters, Leon Battista Alberti. There were two editions published in Rome in 1520, one (the present) by Jacopo Mazochi, the other by Étienne Guillery. Both carry papal privileges,...

    £4600

  7. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    El Momo. La moral e muy graciosa historia del Momo; compuesta en Latin por el docto varon Leon Bapista...

    Alcalá de Henares, Joan Mey Flandro, 1553.

    First edition in Spanish of Alberti’s Momus [or De principe], translated by Augustín de Almaçan and with an introductory 8 pp. Exposición by the Toledo ascetic writer and scholar Alejo Venegas (1495?–1554?).

    £3800

  8. ALEKSANDROVA, Zinaida and Dmitry GORLOV.

    Мишкины соседи [Little Bear’s neighbours].

    Moscow, VLKSM Izdatelstvo Detskoi Literaturi, 1936.

    First edition. A very nice copy of this collection of verses for young children, composed by one of the most prolific Soviet children’s poets, and illustrated by one of the most prolific of Soviet children’s artists. The tales tell of the lives of a selection of farm and wild animals, including a...

    £350

  9. ALEXANDER, James Edward, translator, and Mirza Itesa MODEEN (Itisam al-Din).

    Shigurf namah i velaët, or excellent intelligence...

    London, Parbury, Allen & Co., 1827.

    First edition. A first-hand account of eighteenth-century intrigue and court politics, involving George III, the Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, and a motley cast of supporting characters. Al-Din, initially an employee of various Britons, undertook a mission to Britain between 1766 and 1768. The...

    £350

  10. ALFIERI, Vittorio. LLOYD, Charles, translator.

    The Tragedies of Vittorio Alfieri; translated from the Italian … In three Volumes …

    London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown … 1815.

    First edition of this translation, which Lloyd undertook ‘on the suggestion of a friend whose judgement I highly respect’. This friend was likely Southey, who he addresses as his ‘sponsor’ in the ‘Dedicatory Sonnet’. He held Southey in high esteem, and benefited from his friendship through...

    £450

  11. AMOS, William.

    Minutes in Agriculture and Planting … Illustrated with Specimens of eight Sorts of the best, and two Sorts of...

    Boston [Lincolnshire], Printed by J. Hellaby, 1804.

    First edition, rare. William Amos was the steward of the Brothertoft estate of the ‘father of reform’ John Cartwright, and author of an earlier work on The Theory and Practice of Drill Husbandry (1794). Here he provides descriptions, and samples, of both ‘artificial’ and ‘natural’...

    £2250

  12. [ANON]

    The adventures of John Manks and his pock-marked cat.

    Dublin, P Bereton 1 Lr Exchange Street, [c. 1865?].

    This short nonsense-writing prose anecdote is set in Ireland and recounts the unnamed protagonist’s encounters with a coach man driving ’78 old dead jack asses, under an empty steam coach’, a ‘poor old man’ with a ‘great big stack of chimney on his back’ and ‘John Manks’, listed in...

    £125

  13. [ANON].

    Le mie vedute su la sanità e la longevità.

    Naples, Vincenzo Orsino, 1804.

    Rare first edition, purportedly a reply to Sir John Sinclair’s 1802 pamphlet An essay on longevity.

    £950

  14. ANTHONY, Gordon.

    Ballet. Camera Studies by Gordon Anthony. With an introduction and notes by Arnold Haskell.

    London, Geoffrey Bles, 1937.

    The deluxe edition, no. 77 of 100 copies, signed by Anthony on the half-title verso. There was also a trade edition.

    £350

  15. ARISTOPHANES.

    The Birds … Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary … With Notes.

    London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey … 1824.

    First edition. ‘Given how much there is in Aristophanes to outrage and violate nineteenth-century manners and sensibilities, it may seem surprising how popular he was. The popularity came at the price of bowdlerizing much of the “grossness”, but there was admiration and even a certain yearning...

    £350

  16. [ARIZZI, Francesco.]

    Il buffone di nuova invenzione in Italia. O sia i viaggi del vagabondo Salsiccia Salisburgese […] con un...

    Venice, Antonio Bortoli, 1740.

    First and only edition of Arizzi’s adaptation of Gottfried Prehauser’s Wienerische Hannswurst nebst lustige Reyss-Beschreibung aus Salzburg in verschiedene Länder, published anonymously and for a long time wrongly attributed to Benedetto Marcello.

    £600

  17. A[RNOLD, Matthew].

    The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems. By A.

    London: B. Fellowes …1849

    First edition of Arnold’s first book, apart from the Rugby and Oxford prize poems Alaric at Rome and Cromwell. To conceal his authorship as ‘A.’ suggests a certain reticence about the volume, even though it contains a number of his finest early poems, including ‘The Forsaken Merman’. Only 500...

    £600

  18. AUBREY, John.

    Miscellanies, viz. I. Day-Fatality. II. Local-Fatality. III. Ostenta. IV. Omens. V. Dreams. VI. Apparitions. VII....

    London: Printed for Edward Castle … 1696.

    First edition of Aubrey’s entertaining collection of folk history, superstitions, and gossip, the only book he completed. The topics he tackles in this work of ‘hermetick philosophy’ include ‘omens and prophecies, dreams and apparitions, day fatality and second sight, all of which he was concerned...

    £950

  19. [AUGUSTINE, Saint, attributed author.]

    The Meditations of Saint Augustine, from the Latin Original. By the Rev. J. Martin, O.S.A. …

    Dublin: Printed for the Author, by H. Fitzpatrick … 1798

    First edition of this rare translation of the pseudo-Augustinian Meditationum Liber, an eleventh-century devotional text very popular in the Middle Ages.

    £1250