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. [CATHERINE II, Empress of Russia].

    Le Czarewitz Chlore. Conte Moral. De main impériale & de maitresse.

    Berlin, Fréderic Nicolaï, Lausanne, François Grasset, 1782.

    First edition, very rare, of a speculum principis of the Enlightenment, by one of the time’s most enlightened monarchs. Le Czarewitz Chlore is a moral tale written by Catherine II of Russia for her two grandsons, the future Alexander I and his younger brother Constantine, while their father and mother,...

    £3000

  2. C., E. H.

    On the occasion of a Bazaar held in aid of Funds required for the Completion of the first English Church at Dinan, which...

    [Dinan, 1869?]

    ‘A Church Bazaar takes place to-day, / And for all aid we humbly pray / Tho’ many have giv’n with liberal hands, / A heavy debt against us stands ....’ Dinan, in Britanny, was popular with English visitors for health or leisure, according to the poem, and for many years English services had been...

    £100

  3. CHALKHILL, John.

    Thealma and Clearchus. A pastoral History in smooth and easie Verse. Written long since by John Chalkhill, Esq;...

    London: Printed for Benj. Tooke … 1683.

    First edition, with the corrected state of the title, designating Chalkhill as ‘an acquaintant and friend of Edmund [originally ‘Edward’] Spencer’.

    £1850

  4. CHAMBERLAYNE, William.

    Phraronnida: a heroick Poem …

    London, Printed for Robert Clavell … 1659.

    First edition of the physician-poet William Chamberlayne’s best-known work, a long poem (14,000 lines) in heroic couplets blending Ariosto, Tasso and Greek romances. It deals with the tale of Argalia, a sort of knight errant rescued from the Turks and threatened with execution, and his love for Pharonnida,...

    £2500

  5. CHATSWORTH.

    A Poem; dedicated by Permission, to her Grace the Duchess of Devonshire …

    [London, 1788].

    The subscriber’s edition, on thick paper; there was also a trade edition, disposed in 20 pages and without the inserted leaf, albeit with the same engraved title.

    £850

  6. CHAUCER, Geoffrey.

    The Workes of our ancient and learned English Poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, newly printed. To that which was done...

    London, Printed by Adam Islip. An. Dom. 1602.

    Second Thomas Speght edition (sixth collected edition), revised much for the better by Francis Thynne; this is the variant with Adam Islip rather than George Bishop in the imprint. The portrait of Chaucer, which first appeared in the Speght edition of 1598, is the first engraved representation of the poet.

    £6000

  7. CHESTERFIELD, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of.

    Lettres ecrites par le tres-honorable … Comte de Chesterfield, a son Fils, Philippe...

    A Paris, chez Panckoucke [but probably printed in London]. 1775.

    First edition in French of Chesterfield’s famous Letters to his Son (1774). Although not recognized as such by Gulick (and not listed in ESTC), this is almost certainly an English production; press figures appear throughout all five volumes, the typography and disposition is generally English...

    £950

  8. CHRISTENING (The).

    A satirical Poem. In which are contain’d the humorous Transactions, Speeches, and Behaviour of the Guests...

    London: Printed by W. James … 1732.

    First edition of an amusing verse satire on a famous court scandal. In 1732 Anne Vane, mistress of Frederick, Prince of Wales, gave birth to a son. The child, Cornwall Fitz-Frederick, was acknowledged as his, perhaps only as an assertion of his independence from his parents, and paternity was contested...

    £2000

  9. CLARE, John.

    The Village Minstrel, and other Poems …

    London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey … and E. Drury, Stamford. 1821.

    First edition of Clare’s second book of poetry. Published the year after Poems descriptive of rural Life and Scenery (1820), it met with further success, owing in part to public curiosity about the Northamptonshire peasant. A biographical sketch in the Introduction helped to satisfy that curiosity....

    £450

  10. CLARE, John.

    The rural Muse. Poems …

    London, Whittaker & Co. … 1835.

    First edition of Clare’s last collection of poetry, published as he was descending into penury and madness. His previous collection, The Shepherd’s Calendar (1827), had sold badly and Clare found himself with an inclination to drink, but without money. He was committed to Allen’s asylum at High...

    £450

  11. CLARE, John.

    The Shepherd’s Calendar; with Village Stories and other Poems …

    London: Published for John Taylor … by James Duncan … and sold by J. A. Hessey … 1827.

    First edition. The Shepherd’s Calendar was a work of long gestation and many delays, partly because of the inchoate form in which Clare presented his original manuscript to Taylor and partly because of Taylor’s slash and burn editorial policy. Though the work was finally ready by November 1826, the...

    £600

  12. CLARENDON, Edward Hyde, Earl of.

    The History of the Rebellion and civil Wars in Ireland, with the true State and Condition of that...

    London: Printed by H. P. for J. Wilford … and T. Jauncy … 1720.

    First edition, a large paper copy in a presentation binding, from the family library of the Dukes of Ormond, the source of the manuscript from which it was published.

    £12500

  13. CLEVELAND, John.

    Clievelandi Vindiciae: or, Clieveland’s Genuine Poems, Orations, Epistles, &c. purged from the many false and...

    London, Printed for Robert Harford ... 1677.

    First edition, the issue with Robert Harford’s imprint. This ‘vindicatory’ text was prepared by Cleveland’s former students John Lake and Samuel Drake from authentic manuscripts to restore true readings to poems that had degenerated through six editions of The Character of a London-Diurnall...

    £950

  14. [COCHRAN, Charles B.]

    OSTROWSKA, Wanda and Viola G. GARVIN. London’s Glory.

    London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1945.

    First edition, a poignant collection of paintings of war-torn London by the Polish artist-in-exile Wanda Ostrowska, accompanied by extracts from her own writings and narrative by Viola Garvin.

    £75

  15. COLERIDGE, S[amuel] T[aylor].

    The Statesman’s Manual; or the Bible the best guide to political Skill and Foresight: a Lay Sermon,...

    London: Printed for Gale and Fenner … J. M. Richardson … and Hatchard … 1816.

    First edition of the first of Coleridge’s ‘Lay Sermons’, written in Highgate at the house of James Gillman, to whom Coleridge had come as an in-patient for his opium addiction.

    £500

  16. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    “Blessed are ye that sow beside all Waters!” A Lay Sermon, addressed to the higher and middle Classes,...

    London: Printed for Gale and Fenner … J. M. Richardson … and J. Hatchard … 1817.

    First edition of Coleridge’s second ‘Lay Sermon’, addressing the social unrest that followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars, published in March 1817. A third intended ‘sermon’, to be addressed to the lower classes, was never in fact completed.

    £500

  17. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    Poems, by S. T. Coleridge, second Edition. To which are now added Poems by Charles Lamb, and Charles Lloyd …

    Printed by N. Biggs, for J. Cottle, Bristol, and Messrs Robinson, London. 1797.

    Second edition of Poems on Various Subjects, 1796, but in large measure a new work, with a third of the former volume omitted and replaced by new material, including the fine ‘Ode on the departing Year’. Thirty-six lines are added to the ‘Monody on the Death of Chatterton’ and other poems...

    £1500

  18. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    Christabel: Kubla Khan, a Vision; the Pains of Sleep …

    Printed for John Murray … by William Bulmer … 1816.

    First edition of all three celebrated poems.

    £1000

  19. COLERIDGE, S[amuel] T[aylor].

    Poems … second Edition. To which are now added Poems by Charles Lamb and Charles Lloyd …

    Printed by N. Biggs for J. Cottle, Bristol, and Messrs. Robinsons, London. 1797.

    Second edition of Poems on Various Subjects, 1796, but in large measure a new work, with a third of the former volume omitted and replaced by new material, including the fine ‘Ode on the departing Year’. Thirty-six lines are added to the ‘Monody on the Death of Chatterton’ and other poems are...

    £1200

  20. COLERIDGE, S[amuel] T[aylor].

    The Watchman. No. I [III, IV]. Tuesday, March 1 [17, 25], 1796. Published by the Author …

    Bristol: and sold by the Booksellers and Newscarriers in Town and Country.

    Three (of ten) issues of The Watchman, Coleridge’s first journalistic endeavour, very rare: published in March to May 1796.

    £750