English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees, Ted Hofmann or Alexander Laar

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. WILKINSON, Tate.

    Memoirs of his own Life … In four Volumes …

    York: Printed for the Author, by Wilson, Spence, and Mawman; and sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinson … and T. and J. Egerton … Anno 1790.

    First edition of the autobiography of the colourful actor and impresario Tate Wilkinson (1739-1803), patentee of the Theatres Royal in York, Hull and Edinburgh.

    £575

  2. WILLIAMS, Anna.

    Miscellanies in Prose and Verse …

    London: Printed for T. Davies … 1766.

    First edition, scarce, of the blind poet Anna Williams’s Miscellanies, bound with the first edition of a volume of fifty Latin poems by Samuel Bishop.

    £3250

  3. WILLICH, Anthony Florian Madinger.

    Lectures on Diet and Regimen: being a systematic Inquiry into the most rational Means of preserving...

    London: Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … 1799.

    Second edition, much revised and expanded, printed in the same year as the first: ‘Many important and useful articles have been added, especially in the fifth Chapter, “Of Food and Drink.”’ Willich’s very popular manual was based on a series of lecture given by the eminent physician at Bath...

    £375

  4. WILMOT, John and Wentworth DILLON.

    The Miscellaneous Works of the Right Honourable the late Earls of Rochester and Roscommon. With...

    London Printed: and sold by B. Bragge … 1707.

    First edition, oddly scarce, of the combined works of Rochester and Roscommon, prefaced by Evremont’s lively biographical account of Rochester. This collection formed the basis of most later-eighteenth-century editions (though without the second part, the miscellany of poems by others). It is the...

    £1250

  5. WISE, Francis.

    A Letter to Dr Mead concerning some Antiquities in Berkshire, particularly shewing that the White Horse, which gives...

    Oxford, Printed for Thomas Wood … 1738

    First editions. A Letter to Dr Mead was the first serious archaeological study of the Uffington White Horse. Francis Wise, Keeper of the Archives at Oxford University and later a friend of Samuel Johnson, contends that the horse, which he eulogises as a work of art, had Saxon origins, because...

    £350

  6. WISTAN, Aden.

    Lucy, Francis and Cousin Bill. A novel in three Volumes ...

    London: Eden, Remington & Co. ... 1892.

    First edition, rare. The preliminary leaves in each volume, though clearly correct, are not as called for in Wolff and the binding is more elaborate than his maroon coarse morocco cloth blocked in blind. Here there are only two preliminary leaves (half-title and title page) in each volume; Woolf, however,...

    £650

  7. WITHER, George.

    The Psalmes of David translated into Lyrick-Verse, according to the Scope, of the Original, and illustrated, with...

    [Amsterdam:] Imprinted in the Netherlands by Cornelis Gerrits van Breughel, 1632.

    First edition, dedicated to Princess Elizabeth, the ‘Winter Queen’, daughter of James I. The translation, a companion to Wither’s Hymnes and Songs of the Church, was written at the request of James, and finished shortly before his death in 1625: ‘I was commanded to perfect a Translation...

    £3200

  8. WITHER, George.

    Juvenilia. A Collection of those Poemes which were heretofore imprinted, and written by George Wither.

    London Printed for Robert Allott … 1633.

    Second collected edition, very scarce, much expanded from the first edition of 1622, adding Wither’s Motto and Faire Virtue or the Maid of Philarete.

    £1500

  9. WITHER, George.

    Speculum Speculativum: or, a Considering-Glasse; being an Inspection into the present and late sad Condition of...

    London, Written June XIII. MDCLX. and there Imprinted the same year [1660].

    The third of three editions in the same year, from an entirely new setting of type, with ‘Glasse’ rather than ‘Glass’ on the title-page, the errata formerly printed on L8 corrected, and the errors corrected in the caption title on p. 1

    £525

  10. WOLFERN CHACE,

    a Chronicle of “Days that are no More.” A Novel in three Volumes. By one – who not unknown to fame, / Yet...

    London: Remington and Co. ... 1879.

    First edition of a Regency tale which ranges from the convivial to the lurid as its setting ranges from Brighton to London Fields. The central character is a public servant of great importance and varying fortunes (he offers perhaps a hint as to what kind of fame our author was ‘not unknown to’,...

    £550

  11. WOOLLEY, C. Leonard and Thomas Edward LAWRENCE.

    The Wilderness of Zin ... With a Chapter on the Greek Inscriptions by M.N. Tod....

    London: The Alden Press for Jonathan Cape, 1936.

    Second English edition. The Wilderness of Zin originally appeared as the Palestine Exploration Fund Annual for 1914-1915, and was the first work by Lawrence to appear in book form. However, it was included in the P.E.F. series on somewhat disingenuous grounds: ‘During January and February 1914,...

    £150

  12. WORDSWORTH, William.

    The White Doe of Rylstone; or the Fate of the Nortons. A Poem …

    London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown … by James Ballantyne and Co., Edinburgh. 1815.

    First edition. ‘During the summer of 1807, the Author visited, for the first time, the beautiful Scenery that surrounds Bolton Priory, in Yorkshire; and the Poem of The White Doe, founded upon a Tradition connected with the place, was composed at the close of the same year.’ (Advertisement). The...

    £1350

  13. WORDSWORTH, William.

    Poems, in two Volumes … Vol. I [-II] …

    London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme … 1807.

    First edition. Much of Wordsworth’s most memorable verse is first printed here, including ‘She was a Phantom of Delight’, ‘Resolution and Independence’, the sonnets ‘Nuns fret not ...’, ‘It is a beauteous Evening, calm and free’, ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’ (‘Earth hath...

    £1400

  14. WORDSWORTH, William.

    Lyrical Ballads, with a Pastoral and other Poems, in two Volumes … Third Edition.

    London: Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … by Riggs and Cottle …. 1802.

    Second complete edition, with the Preface much enlarged and a new ‘Appendix’ on poetic diction (pp. 237-247 in volume II), one of the key theoretical texts of English Romanticism. For this edition, two poems were omitted, Coleridge’s ‘The Dungeon’ and Wordsworth’s ‘A Character’, several...

    £3000

  15. WORDSWORTH, William.

    A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns: occasioned by an intended Republication of the Account of the Life of...

    London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown …1816.

    First edition. James Currie’s Works of Burns with a life and letters was first published in 1800 and several times reprinted and enlarged.

    £1500

  16. WORDSWORTH, William [and Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE].

    Lyrical Ballads, with other Poems. In two volumes … second Edition. London:...

    by Biggs and Co. Bristol. 1800.

    Second, definitive, and first complete edition of Lyrical Ballads. To volume I (first published at Bristol in 1798, reissued in London in the same year) Wordsworth added his famous preface, the manifesto of the Romantic movement – calling for, among other things, a poetry of ‘common life’, adopting...

    £5000

  17. [WRIGHT, George].

    The rural Christian; or, the Pleasures of Religion. An allegorical Poem: In four Books. To which are added, sylvan...

    London: Printed for J. Buckland … 1772.

    First edition of this volume of devotional pastoral verse, promoting the countryside as the ideal setting for Christian contemplation.

    £475

  18. WYCHERLEY, William.

    The Posthumous Works … in Prose and Verse. Faithfully publish’d from his original Manuscripts, by Mr. Theobald....

    London: Printed for A. Bettesworth, J. Osborn, W. Mears, W. and J. Innys, J. Peele, T. Woodward; and F. Clay. 1728.

    First edition of an important collection, comprising 308 maxims, one short essay and a large number of previously unpublished poems (the third paginated sequence), based on manuscripts acquired from Captain Thomas Shrimpton, Wycherley’s sole executor.

    £850

  19. WYCHERLEY, William.

    Miscellany Poems: As Satyrs, Epistles, Love-Verses, Songs, Sonnets, &c ...

    London, Printed for C. Brome ... J. Taylor ... and B. Tooke ... 1704.

    First edition of a substantial collection of previously unpublished poems, edited from Wycherley’s manuscripts in a last-ditch attempt to relieve him from debt. ‘It was badly misjudged. Poems on a womans’s “Fair Back-Side” and on another’s “Fine Breasts” were entirely at odds with the...

    £875

  20. [YOUNG, Edward].

    The Works of the Author of the Night-Thoughts. In four Volumes. Revised and Corrected by Himself. A new Edition....

    London: 1774-8.

    First complete edition, comprising a new edition of volumes I-IV, reprinting the revised authorized edition of 1757 (in which Young collected his ‘most excusable’ pieces, with corrections to render them ‘as pardonable as it was in my power to do’); the posthumous fifth volume, originally published...

    £500