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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. [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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. [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

  9. [YOUNG, John].

    A Criticism on the Elegy written in a Country Church Yard. Being a Continuation of Dr. J-----n’s Criticism on...

    London: Printed for T. Cadell … 1783.

    First edition, the rare issue with Cadell’s name in the imprint, of which ESTC lists two copies (Glasgow University and Library Company of Philadelphia); almost all copies have a G. Wilkie imprint.

    £750

  10. [ZOUCHE, Richard].

    The Sophister. A Comedy …

    London: Printed by J. O. for Humphrey Mosley, and are to be sold at his Shop … 1639.

    First edition, attributed to Richard Zouche, Regius professor of civil law at Oxford from 1620 until his death. Only two literary works are credited to Zouche (1590-1651), a poem The Dove: or Passages of Cosmography (1613), and the present play, with its resoundingly legal vocabulary.

    £2500