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. BLACK, William.

    Sabina Zembra; a Novel ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Macmillan and Co ... 1887.

    First edition. Black was highly thought of by contemporary reviewers, The Athenaeum in 1877 claiming that ‘his genius resembles that of Mr. Trollope, but his taste is better’. Wolff 507.

    £180

  2. BLOUNT, Sir Thomas Pope.

    Essays on several Subjects …

    London, Printed for Richard Bently … 1692.

    Second edition of seven essays of ‘considerable merit [that] display the easy scepticism and solid good sense and learning of the author to good advantage’ (Pforzheimer). They deal with self-interest; the mischief of learning; education; respect for antiquity; the virtues of modern men; passion;...

    £500

  3. BOLTON, Robert.

    Letters and Tracts on the Choice of Company and other Subjects. The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Whiston and B. White … and R. and J. Dodsley … 1762.

    Second edition; a reissue of the sheets of the first edition with a cancel title-page and advertisement replacing the original title leaf A1. As well as the title tract, the volume includes essays ‘On Intemperance in Eating’, ‘On Intemperance in Drinking’, ‘On Pleasure’ and ‘On Public Worship’,...

    £325

  4. BOTTARELLI, Ferdinando.

    Exercises upon the different Parts of Italian Speech; with References to Veneroni’s Grammar. To which...

    London, Printed for J. Nourse … 1778.

    First edition, very scarce, of a popular Italian tutor for English students, designed to teach grammar and idiomatic phrases through the use of exemplars. Increasingly difficult English phrases are laid out with the uninflected Italian stems below:

    £450

  5. [BOUCHER, Jean].

    Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus,...

    [Paris?], 1595.

    First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against...

    £600

  6. BOWRING, Sir John.

    Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain …

    London, for Taylor and Hessey, 1824.

    First edition. Bowring had long had a soft spot for Spain (‘I love Spain as a country, and Spaniards as a people. In other lands I single out special objects for my regard … in Spain, my affections pervade and cling to the whole population’, London Magazine, 1823, quoted in Hitchcock)....

    £200

  7. BOWRING, Sir John.

    Wybōr poezyi polskiéy. Specimens of the Polish Poets; with Notes and Observations on the Literature of Poland …

    London, printed for the author, and sold by Baldwin, Cradock & Joy and Rowland Hunter, 1827.

    First edition: the first collection of Polish poetry in English. ‘John Bowring was a true friend of the Poles and became an ardent spokesman of the Polish cause in Britain; his Specimens of the Polish Poets (London 1827), the first Polish anthology in English, bear evidence of the important...

    £300

  8. BOWRING, Sir John.

    Poetry of the Magyars, preceded by a Sketch of the Language and Literature of Hungary and Transylvania …

    London, printed for the author, and sold by Robert Heward, and Rowland Hunter, and Otto Wigand in Pest, 1830

    First edition: the first appearance of Hungarian literature in English, ‘the first world-wide presentation of the hitherto unknown poetry and literature of an almost unknown people, written in an unknown language’ (Varannai, p. 105). It was for a long time the only Western source for Hungarian poetry.

    £300

  9. BRAMLEY-MOORE, William.

    The six Sisters of the Valleys. An historical Romance … With Illustrations drawn by T. H. Nicholson,...

    London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green. 1864.

    First edition of Bramley-Moore’s only book, a violently anti-Catholic historical novel. Set in 1665, The Six Sisters of the Valleys documents the ‘extraordinary cruelties’ inflicted by the ‘demon of popery’ upon the Protestants living in the valleys of Piedmont. This had been the subject of...

    £650

  10. BRANTÔME, Pierre de Bourdeilles, Seigneur de.

    Spanish Rhodomontades. As also historical and ocular proofs of a true heroism and...

    London, J. Chrichley (i.e. Critchley), 1741.

    First edition in English, with the Rhodomontades printed in the original Spanish. This collection of braggadocio boastings, drawn from the dramatic dialogue of Spanish practitioners of the Commedia dell'Arte, was first published in French in 1740.

    £750

  11. [Brewer, George].

    The Siamese tales: being a collection of stories told to the son of the Mandarin Sam-Sib, for the purpose of...

    London, Vernor & Hood and Champante & Whitrow, 1796.

    First edition of an anonymously published collection of ‘Siamese tales’, written as fables to increase their appeal to children. In the Introduction, the author states that the purpose of these supposedly translated tales is to ‘promote the love of virtue through the medium of fiction’ (p. 1)....

    £950

  12. BRIEF ACCOUNT (A)

    of the Earthquake, the solemn Event which occurred near Axmouth, Devonshire, on the 25th December, 1839 …

    London: James Nisbett and Co. … 1840.

    First edition, very rare. The landslip at Bindon near Axmouth on the Jurassic Coast of Devon, which took place over the Christmas of 1839, was perhaps the most dramatic geological event in nineteenth-century England. Months of heavy rain weakened the clay foundations of the coastal landscape, sending...

    £750

  13. BROME, Alexander.

    Songs and other Poems … The second Edition corrected and enlarged.

    London, Printed for Henry Brome … 1664.

    Second edition, adding much new material including the poems ‘To his friend Thomas Stanley Esq. on his Odes’, ‘Cromwell’s Panegyrick’, and the salacious ‘Record in Rhyme’; eight songs; and some new commendatory verses in addition to the one by Isaak Walton. Also new is a commendatory letter...

    £500

  14. BRONTË, Charlotte.

    Le Professeur par Currer Bell … Roman anglais traduit avec l’autorisation de l’éditeur par Mme Henriette...

    Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie … 1858.

    First editions in French of The Professor (1857) and Shirley (1849) by Charlotte Brontë and Agnes Grey (1847) by Anne Brontë (pp. 193-367 in Volume II), also attributed here to Charlotte. Loreau also produced translations of Dickens and Mayne Reid for Hachette.

    £750

  15. BROUGHAM, Henry Lord.

    Albert Lunel. A Novel ... In three Volumes ...

    London: Charles H. Clarke ... [1872].

    First edition, Sadleir’s ‘really scarce’ fourth state, with (instead of the half-titles) the following notice: ‘“Albert Lunel” was written by the late Lord Brougham in the years Eighteen Hundred and Forty-four, but for private reasons of his Lordship’s, was not published. London, March...

    £450

  16. BROWNE, Sir Thomas.

    Posthumous Works ... printed from his original Manuscripts. Viz. I. Repertorium: or, the Antiquities of the...

    London: Printed for E. Curll ... and R. Gosling ... 1712.

    First edition of a collection of miscellaneous pieces previously unpublished (apart from A Letter to a Friend), including Browne’s valuable account of the antiquities of Norwich cathedral, letters, ‘An Account of Island aliàs Ice-land’ (a paper for the Royal Society), and the account of the Brompton...

    £1250

  17. [BROWNE, Sir Thomas.]

    A true and full Coppy of that which was most imperfectly and surreptitiously printed before under the Name...

    [London,] Printed for Andrew Crooke: 1645.

    Third authorized edition, correcting some of the errata. Religio Medici, written in the 1630s, was originally circulated in manuscript among Browne’s friends. He was surprised to see it put into print without his consent in 1642, ‘in a most depraved copy’. An authorized edition, revised to remove...

    £600

  18. BROWNE, Sir Thomas.

    Pseudodoxia Epidemica: or, Enquiries into very many received Tenents, and commonly presumed Truths ... The...

    London, Printed by A. Miller, for Edw. Dod and Nath. Ekins ... 1650.

    Second edition revised. ‘The publisher’s claim ... “corrected and much enlarged by the Author” was fully justified. New chapters and paragraphs were freely inserted and some excisions were made. Many technical terms and quotations in the original languages were dropped, rhetorical questions were...

    £950

  19. BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett.

    Poems before Congress …

    London: Chapman and Hall … 1860.

    First edition of a slender collection of seven poems on the cause of Italian independence, and one attacking slavery in the United States (‘A Curse for a Nation’). The Congress of the title had been planned for Paris in January 1860, but Austria withdrew on learning that Napoleon III meant to use...

    £200

  20. BROWNING, Robert.

    Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day. A Poem …

    London: Chapman & Hall … 1850.

    First edition of the first poem to appear after Browning’s marriage to Elizabeth Barrett. Ashley, I, 118; Wise, Browning, pp.17-18; Tinker 418.

    £175