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. [AUSTEN, Jane].

    Mansfield Park: a Novel. In three Volumes. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice” ... second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Murray ... 1816.

    Second edition, revised. This is the only one of Jane Austen’s novels with textual revisions of any significance. She ‘seems in general to have prepared the text for the first editions of her novels with the greatest care, so that they contain few misprints, and the alterations made in the later...

    £3250

  2. AUSTEN, Jane.

    Sense and Sensibility: a Novel. In three Volumes … the second Edition …

    London: Printed for the Author, by C. Roworth … and published by T. Egerton … 1813.

    Second edition, revised by the author. The first edition had sold out in July 1813, and on 25 September Austen wrote to her brother Francis that ‘There is to be a 2d Edition of S. & S. Egerton advises it’. Apparently it was published on the same terms as the first edition, at the expense of the author;...

    £6000

  3. AUSTEN, Jane.

    Mansfield Park: a Novel. In three Volumes … Second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Murray … 1816.

    Second edition, revised. This is the only one of Jane Austen’s novels with textual revisions of any significance. She ‘seems in general to have prepared the text for the first editions of her novels with the greatest care, so that they contain few misprints, and the alterations made in the later...

    £3750

  4. BACON, Francis.

    The Essayes or Counsels, civill and morall … Newly enlarged.

    London, Printed by John Haviland … 1632.

    Third edition of the definitive text of Bacon’s Essayes, first published in 1625. The first edition appeared in 1597 comprising only ten short essays; in 1612 these were revised and a further twenty-eight essays added. The 1625 edition contained fifty-eight essays, twenty of them new, and the rest...

    £650

  5. [BAGE, Robert].

    Hermsprong; or, Man as he is not. A Novel … By the Author of Man as he is.

    London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press … 1796.

    First edition of Bage’s last and finest novel.

    £2400

  6. BALL (The).

    Stated in a Dialogue betwixt a Prude and a Coquet, last Masquerade Night, the 12th of May …

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1724.

    First edition, rare, of an amusing verse dialogue between two women preparing to attend one of the popular masquerade balls staged by the Swiss impresario John James Heidegger. Hilaria, a coquette, is effusive about the pleasures of the imminent party and she offers a tempting vision of the delights...

    £2250

  7. BARDUZZI, Bernardino.

    A Letter in Praise of Verona [1489]. In the original Latin Text with an English Translation by Betty Radice.

    Verona, [Officina Bodoni,] 1974.

    First edition, No. 34 of 150 copies: an elegant facsimile reprint of one of Verona’s rarest incunables. Barduzzi’s eulogistic letter to Giovanni Nesi was first printed in 1489 by Paulus Fridenperger. The Latin text is followed here by an English translation and a biographical postscript by Giovanni...

    £375

  8. BARLOW, Thomas.

    A Letter concerning Invocation of Saints, and Adoration of the Cross, writ ten Years since, to John Evelyn of Depthford,...

    London, Printed by John Macock for John Martyn … 1679

    First edition. Evelyn had asked his old friend Thomas Barlow if a certain passage in a sermon of St. Cyril before the Council of Ephesus as reported in Binnius ‘might not be a good Argument for the Popish Invocation of Saints’. Barlow has no trouble in dismissing the suggestion: ‘the Passage in...

    £650

  9. BARON, Robert.

    Mirza. A Tragedie, really acted in Persia, in the last Age. Illustrated with historicall Annotations.

    London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley … [1655?].

    First edition of Baron’s last literary endeavour, a violent revenge tragedy influenced by Jonson’s Catiline, mostly in verse, packed with political intrigue, murders ‘and Seraglio’s too’, all fitting subjects for its exotic setting. Not intended for performance, which been impossible...

    £850

  10. BAYNARD, James B.

    The Rector of Oxbury. A Novel ...

    London: Samuel Tinsley ... 1877.

    First edition. The Anglican rector of Oxbury innocently befriends the new minister of the local non-conformist chapel, who soon finds that any association with the established church arouses the distrust of his own congregation. Marriage to an Anglican girl makes matters worse, and several of his parishoners...

    £350

  11. BEARCROFT, Philip.

    An historical Account of Thomas Sutton Esq; and of his Foundation in Charter-House …

    London: Printed by E. Owen, and sold by F. Gyles … W. Hinchliffe … J. and P. Knapton … J. Stagg … and S. Birt … 1737.

    First edition. Thomas Sutton (1532-1611) was an Elizabethan civil servant who made an enormous fortune from leases of land rich in coal in Durham. In 1611 he bought Howard House for £13,000 from the Earl of Suffolk; the building acquired its more familiar name, ‘Charterhouse’, after the order of...

    £250

  12. BEAUMONT, Francis, and John FLETCHER.

    The Tragedy of Thierry King of France, and his Brother Theodoret. As it was diverse Times...

    London, Printed for Humphrey Moseley ... 1649

    Third edition, a reissue of the second quarto (1648) with the title-page cancelled by a new title and a new conjugate prologue and epilogue leaf. Oddly the prologue had already appeared prefixed to The Noble Gentleman in the Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647, and the epilogue at the end of James...

    £1850

  13. BEAUMONT, Joseph.

    Psyche: or Loves Mysterie in XX. Canto’s: displaying the Intercourse between Christ and the Soule …

    London, Printed by John Dawson for George Boddington … 1648.

    First edition. Beaumont was one of the royalist fellows ejected from Cambridge in 1644, and he devoted his enforced retirement to the composition of this poem, a ‘religious epic’ representing ‘a Soule led by divine Grace, and her Guardian Angel ... through the difficult Temptations and Assaults...

    £1250

  14. [BEER, Johann Christoph.]

    Kurtzer Entwurff dess Lebens der Könige in Engelland von der Zeit an als die Sachsen und Angeln sich...

    Nuremberg, Johann Hoffmann, 1676.

    Second, corrected and improved, edition (first 1671) of this attractive German survey of English kings and queens. After describing the rulers in the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England (Wessex, Sussex, Essex, Kent, East Anglia, Northumbria, and Mercia), Beer discusses the kings from Egbert to Harold...

    £500

  15. BELVIDERE (The):

    a Poem. Inscrib’d to Joseph Grove, Esq. of Richmond, in the County of Surrey …

    London: Printed in the Year 1749.

    First edition, rare (British Library and Yale only) of a very attractive description in verse of a country estate in Richmond. The first pages offer a prospect of the garden with its flowers and shrubs, shaded walks and arbours, a bower with the escutcheon over the door of the late Sir William Humble,...

    £2750

  16. BENTHAM, Jeremy.

    Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the Form of a Catechism, with Reasons for each Article. With an Introduction,...

    London: Printed in the Year 1817. Re-printed and Re-published, with Notes and Alterations, by Permission of the Author, by T. J. Wooler … 1818.

    First edition thus of an inexpensive reprint of Bentham’s Plan of Parliamentary Reform (1817), the style adapted by Thomas Wooler, with Bentham’s permission, to ‘render it more easy of comprehension to the popular reader’. In this form it first appeared in instalments in Wooler’s radical...

    £225

  17. [BERKENHOUT, John].

    Clavis anglica Linguæ botanicæ; or, a botanical Lexicon; in which the Terms of Botany, particularly those...

    London: Printed for the Author. Sold by T. Becket, and A. de Hondt … and Mess. Hawes, Clarke, and Collins … 1764.

    First edition, dedicated to John Hope of the University of Edinburgh, and written with the assistance of Arthur Lee of Virginia, winner of the Hope Medal in 1763.

    £325

  18. BESANT, Walter.

    Armorel of Lyonesse: a Romance of To-day ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Chatto & Windus ... 1891.

    First edition. The plot concerns the exposure of a bogus poet-painter who passes off the work of others as his own, ‘a fraud more common, I have been told, ten years ago, than it is now’, Besant was to write in his autobiography in 1902 (quoted in Wolff). A crusading spirit infuses much of Besant’s...

    £450

  19. BLACKMORE, Richard.

    Prince Arthur. An Heroick Poem. In Ten Books … London: Printed for Awnsham and John Churchil … 1695. [With:]...

    London, 1695-97.

    First edition of Blackmore’s first epic poem, with the first edition of its sequel – John Evelyn’s copies, with shelfmarks ‘E5:1’ and ‘E5:2’ in his hand, Prince Arthur additionally inscribed ‘Catalogo Evelini Inscriptus / Meliora Retinete’ (Evelyn’s motto: ‘Keep the best’).

    £2750

  20. [BLACKMORE, Richard, and John HUGHES.]

    The Lay-Monastery. Consisting of Essays, Discourses, &c. Published singly under the Title...

    London: Printed by Sam. Keimer, for Ferdinand Burleigh ... 1714.

    First collected edition of a little-known periodical that appeared as The Lay Monk in 40 numbers thrice weekly from 16 November 1713 to 15 February 1713/14. Produced in imitation of The Spectator (to which Hughes had contributed), The Lay-Monastery features a fraternity of gentlemen...

    £250