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. THORNBURY, George Walter.

    Art and Nature at Home and Abroad …

    London: Hurst and Blackett, Publishers, Successors to Henry Colburn … 1856.

    First edition: an early collection of essays by Thornbury (1828-1876), a prolific (and famously cacographic) writer who is closely associated with Dickens for his work on Household Words and All the Year Round (‘one of Charles Dickens’s most valuable contributors’; Dickens, Letters,...

    £450

  2. THORNBURY, Walter and Edward WALFORD.

    Old and New London. A narrative of its history, its people, and its places. London, Cassell...

    [with] Greater London… London, Cassell and Company, Ltd. 1898.

    The definitive guide to London’s history from the Roman era to the modern day. Covering all the major localities of the Capital, the work addresses the evolution, and occasional demolition, of various areas and buildings, along with the personal touch through accounts of significant occasions, riots,...

    £300

  3. TOMKINS, John, John FIELD and John BELL.

    Piety Promoted, ou, la Pieté promuë, ou avancée: contenant un Recueil de derniéres...

    A Londres: se vend chez la Veuve Hinde … 1770.

    First edition, the first French translation of Piety Promoted, a compilation of the ‘dying words’ of notable Quakers, many from North America, originally published in three parts by John Tomkins (1701-6; ‘the first and a very influential example of an important Quaker form’, Oxford...

    £250

  4. [TORBUCK, John].

    A Collection of Welsh Travels and Memoirs of Wales. Containing I. The Briton Describ’d, or a Journey thro’...

    London: Printed for and sold by J. Torbuck … 1738.

    First edition of this compilation of whimsical works about Wales, reissued and published as though under the auspices of Swift.

    £1100

  5. [TRADE CARD.]

    John Blundell, Engraver.

    In Honey-Suckle Court, Grubb-Street, London. 1742.

    A fine and rare trade card for the jobbing engraver John Blundell, the engraved text (in several different hands to demonstrate skill at lettering) surrounded by an ornate border of angels, putti and tools (compasses, palette, easels, busts, burins, sketches, and a map at the head).

    £600

  6. TRUBETZKOY, Nikolai Sergeevich.

    Das morphonologische System der russischen Sprache.

    Prague, Jednota československých matematiků a fysiků, 1934.

    First edition, published as the second part of Description phonologique du russe moderne; the first part, Roman Jakobson’s ‘Phonologie général du mot’, was published later.

    £350

  7. TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

    The Tunbridge Wells Guide; or an Account of the ancient and present State of the Place, to which is added a particular...

    Tunbridge Wells, Printed and sold by J. Sprange, at his Circulating Library. Sold also in London, by Rivington Booksellers … ‘1786’...

    The Tunbridge Wells Guide apparently first appeared in 1780; reissues and/or new editions, partly from standing type, with variously erratic pagination and a steady accretion of content, appeared throughout the 1780s and 1790s. ‘The hurry in putting this to the press,’ an ingenuous Preface...

    £500

  8. [TWISS, Horace].

    Posthumous Parodies and other Pieces, composed by several of our most celebrated Poets, but not published in any...

    London: Printed for John Miller. 1814.

    First edition. Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope and Johnson are among the poets parodied.

    £150

  9. TYRTAEUS and CALLINUS.

    Les chants...traduits en vers par Firmin Didot.

    Paris, Firmin Didot, pere et fils, 1827.

    One of only 100 copies - all hors de commerce - of this deluxe folio Didot edition of some of the oldest martial elegy verses of the Western tradition: the surviving works of the Spartan poet Tyrtaeus and the Ephesian poet Callinus (7th-6th century BC). The text is preceded by an engraved Lettre to Firmin...

    £6000

  10. VERGIL, Polydore.

    Anglicae historiae libri vigintisex.

    Basel, Michael Isingrin, 1546.

    Second edition, much revised, of Vergil’s English History, dedicated to Henry VIII. It is seen as the beginning of modern English historiography, as an important piece of propaganda for the Tudor monarchy, and as an influence on Shakespeare’s history plays.

    £4400

  11. VITRUVIUS.

    L’Architecture de Vitruve. Figures dessinées par M. Ch.-L. Maufras, …. Exemplaire unique.

    Paris, C.L.F. Panckoucke, 1847

    A tongue-in-cheek nod to the fashion for Limited Edition books, and an illustrative oddity. The volume comprises India paper proof impressions mounted on heavy paper of Maufras’s illustrations (engraved by Belhatte) to the Panckoucke edition of Vitruvius, with a specially printed title-page and long...

    £1200

  12. WALFORD, L[ucy] B[ethia].

    The Mischief of Monica … in three Volumes …

    London, Longmans, Green, & Co. … 1891.

    First edition. Born in Edinburgh in 1845, Walford began writing secretly soon after her marriage, contributing stories to Blackwood’s and other periodicals. Her family voiced serious disapproval upon the publication of her first novel, Mr Smith: A Part of his Life, in 1874; it was, however,...

    £425

  13. WALKER, John.

    Hints for Improvement in the Art of Reading ...

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by T. Cadell ... G. Robinson ... and T. Becket ... 1783

    First edition. The future lexicographer John Walker (1732-1807) left grammar school and then absconded from an apprenticeship to join a succession of provincial theatre companies. Garrick hired him in 1754 and for the next four years he performed a number of mainly minor parts at Drury Lane. In 1758...

    £650

  14. WALLER, Edmund.

    Poems, &c. written upon several Occasions, and to several Persons ... Never till now corrected and published with...

    London, Printed for Henry Herringman ... 1664.

    The first authorised edition, which repudiates in its preface all of the 1645 printings (‘When the Author of these verses ... returned from abroad some years since, He was troubled to find his name in print, but somewhat satisfied to see his lines so ill rendred that he might justly disown them, and...

    £500

  15. WALLER, Edmund.

    Poems, &c. written by Mr. Ed. Waller … and printed by a Copy of his own Hand-Writing. All the lyrick Poems in...

    London, Printed by I. N. for Hu. Mosley … 1645.


    Second, first licensed, edition of Waller’s first and most important collection, published while he was in exile, and shortly preceded by an unlicensed volume, Workes (London, Thomas Walkley, 1645) (Wing W 495) – ‘an adulterate Copy, surreptitiously and illegally imprinted, to the derogation...

    £850

  16. WALTON, Izaac.

    The Lives of Dr John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr Richard Hooker, Mr George Herbert … to which are added some Letters...

    London, printed by Tho. Newcomb for Richard Marriott … 1670.

    First collected edition of Walton’s celebrated lives of poets and divines. ‘If its rarity was as great as its merit it would be one of the most coveted books of the period’ (Pforzheimer). The biography of Wotton was published as part of Reliquiae Wottonianae (1651); Walton’s life of Donne first...

    £850

  17. WALTON, Izaak.

    The Life of Mr. George Herbert … To which are added some Letters written by Mr. George Herbert, at his being in...

    London: Printed by Tho: Newcomb, for Rich: Marriott, sold by most Booksellers. 1670.

    First edition, second issue, with a cancel title-page adding mention of the Letters. There are four letters from Donne, one including a sonnet, and a poem at the end by Crashaw. The life, ‘a tissue of paraphrase and quotation, more Herbert than Walton’ (Oxford DNB), would also appear later in the...

    £950

  18. WALTON, Izaak.

    The Life of Dr. Sanderson, late Bishop of Lincoln ... to which is added, some short Tracts or Cases of Conscience,...

    London, Printed for Richard Marriott. 1678.

    First edition, the last of Walton’s five celebrated Lives.

    £400

  19. [WARD, Robert Plumer].

    De Clifford; or, The Constant Man. By the Author of “Tremaine” … in four Volumes …

    London: Henry Colburn … 1841.

    First edition of Ward’s last Silver Fork novel, published some fourteen years after De Vere, or, The Man of Independence. Ward was now seventy-six, and a ‘fashionable’ novel of this kind was ‘well out of its time’; so that De Clifford, while as accomplished as its predecessors, did not have...

    £350

  20. [WARTON, Thomas, the younger].

    The Pleasures of Melancholy. A Poem …

    London: Printed for R. Dodsley … and sold by M. Cooper … 1747.

    First edition of Warton’s second publication, preceded by Five Pastoral Eclogues (1745), and written at that time, though Warton also contributed to his brother Joseph’s Odes on various Subjects (1746). The Pleasures of Melancholy was Warton’s first major poem, a meditative...

    £400