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. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    Biographia Literaria; or biographical Sketches of my literary Life and Opinions … Vol I[-II].

    London: Rest Fenner … 1817.

    First edition. Coleridge’s estimates of contemporary German poets and philosophers are justly celebrated, and the long autobiographical passages and critical analyses of Wordsworth and of Lyrical Ballads are of primary interest. ‘Though maddeningly unsystematic in structure, the book is a touchstone...

    £450

  2. [COLETTE, Sidonie-Gabrielle - WILLY [i.e. Henri Gauthier-Villars]]. KELLER, Fernand, and André LAUTIER.

    Colette (Colette Willy),...

    Paris, Éditions de La Nouvelle Revue Critique, 1923.

    First edition of this critical work on Colette, with Willy’s manuscript annotations throughout. The copy was subsequently in the possession of Willy’s friend Pierre Varenne, who has added a pencilled note to the blank endleaf: ‘Annotations manuscrites de Willy. P.V.’, and a ms. postcard to Varenne...

    £900

  3. COLLECTION (A)

    of Poems: viz. the Temple of Death: by the Marquis of Normanby with several Original Poems, never before printed,...

    London: Printed for Daniel Brown … and Benjamin Tooke … 1701.

    Fourth edition of the important ‘Temple of Death’ miscellany of Restoration poetry, retaining most of the poems from the third edition (1693) and adding much material, including all the poems on pp. 172-282 – with contributions from Stepney, Arwaker and Congreve – and the poems at the end (pp....

    £500

  4. COLLUTHUS, of Lycopolis.

    The Rape of Helen. Translated from the Greek ... And illustrated with the Notes of Michael Nicander. To...

    London: Printed for and sold by J. Roberts … and by the Booksellers and Pamphletsellers of London, 1731.

    First and only edition, rare, of this translation of Collothus’s Rape of Helen (Αρπαγη Ελενης), ‘a short and charming miniature epic’ (Cambridge Companion to the Epic) written in the late fifth century in Egypt in 392 hexameters.

    £1200

  5. COOKE, George and George Rennie.

    Views of the old and new London bridges…

    London, Brown & Syrett, 1833.

    First edition of this narrative account, providing a detailed scientific and historical record of both the old and new London bridges, and making observations on the tides of the river Thames as a consequence of developments on the river, accompanied by some more general remarks on bridge construction....

    £1500

  6. [COOPER, Elizabeth, compiler].

    The Historical and Poetical Medley: or Muses Library; being a choice and faithful Collection of...

    London: Printed for T. Davies … 1738.

    First edition under this title, a reissue of The Muses Library (1737), with a cancel title-page and final leaf. After Elizabeth Cooper’s career as an actor and playwright had been brought to an end by Walpole’s Licensing Act, she set about compiling an anthology of English poetry, from Langland...

    £450

  7. CORRESPONDENTS.

    The Correspondents. An original Novel; in a Series of Letters ...

    London: Printed for T. Becket ... 1775.

    First edition. Contemporaries took this sentimental novel to be a genuine correspondence between Lord Lyttelton (d. 1773) and Mrs. Apphia Peach, the wealthy widow of Governor Peach of Bombay, and future wife of Lyttelton’s reprobate son, Thomas (the ‘wicked’ Lord Lyttelton). Horace Walpole, for...

    £650

  8. COTTON, Charles.

    The Wonders of the Peak …

    Nottingham: Printed by John Collyer, and sold by H. Cantrel and H. Allestree in Derby. J. Bradley and S. Gunter in Chesterfield, and Mr. Whitworth...

    First Nottingham edition of a poem originally printed in London in 1681, and reprinted in 1683 and 1694. The subject matter may have been suggested to Cotton by Thomas Hobbes’s Latin poem De mirabilibus Pecci (c. 1627, reprinted with an English translation in 1678). Apart from the scenery of...

    £1250

  9. COTTON, Charles.

    Poems on several Occasions …

    London, Printed for Tho. Basset … Will. Hensman and Tho. Fox … 1689.

    First edition of the principal collection of original poetry by Charles Cotton, an ‘oddly isolated and under-valued poet ... there is more and better poetry in the 1689 volume than is to be found in any other minor poet of the Restoration’ (James Sutherland, Restoration Literature). Cotton’s most...

    £600

  10. [COWLEY, OLDHAM etc.]

    Anacreon done into English out of the original Greek …

    Oxford, Printed by L. Lichfield … for Anthony Stephens … 1683.

    First edition of the second translation into English (after Thomas Stanley’s of 1651) of the Anacreontea, a collection of poems long attributed to Anacreon but actually by numerous anonymous imitators. The present compilation, of fifty-two poems, is similarly anonymous, but contains translations...

    £650

  11. [COWPER, Ashley, editor].

    The Norfolk poetical Miscellany. To which are added some select Essays and Letters in Prose. Never printed...

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Stagg … 1744.

    First edition. This lively miscellany, containing a large number of amusing short poems (but nothing for the libertine), was assembled by William Cowper’s uncle, the father of Theodora, later Lady Hesketh, with whom the poet fell in love. The dedication to the young Lady Caroline [Cowper] is subscribed...

    £1250

  12. COWPER, William.

    Poems … London: printed for J. Johnson … 1782. [With:]

    _________. The Task, a Poem, in six Books...

    London, 1782-5.

    First edition of each volume, with the notoriously rare suppressed preface by John Newton.

    £8000

  13. CRABBE, George.

    The News-Paper: a Poem ...

    London: Printed for J. Dodsley ... 1785.

    First edition of this nicely turned satire by Jane Austen’s favourite poet. Crabbe tells us in his preface that he believes this to be the first poem ever on the subject of the daily press with its ‘variety of dissociating articles ... huddled together’, advertisements, puffing, and correspondents...

    £1200

  14. [CRADOCK, Joseph].

    An Account of some of the most romantic Parts of North Wales …

    London, Printed for T. Davies … and T. Cadell … 1777.

    First edition of this travel narrative and history of Wales, dedicated to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn ‘who possesses so considerable a part of that Country’.

    £575

  15. CRAWFORD, F. Marion.

    Saracinesca ... in three Volumes ...

    William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London. 1887.

    First edition. The prolific American novelist F. Marion Crawford, born in Italy and for most of his life resident in Rome, enjoyed a phenomenal success both in England and America. Saracinesca is the first novel of his Roman tetralogy (with Sant’ Ilario, Don Orsino, and Corleone: a Sicilian Story),...

    £280

  16. [CRESSWELL, Henry].

    Fair and Free. By the Author of ‘A Modern Greek Heroine’ ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Smith, Elder, & Co. ... 1882.

    First edition. By the terms of her father’s will, Marcella Cassilys is only to inherit her fortune on marriage, or the wealth reverts to his sister. Her aunt therefore determines to prevent her marrying and does all in her power to ruin her niece’s reputation, persuading her to wear scandalously...

    £450

  17. CROMARTY, George Mackenzie, Earl of.

    An historical Account of the Conspiracies by the Earls of Gowry, and Robert Logan of Restalrig,...

    First edition, dedicated to Queen Anne, ‘and to all the Princes who share in her royal blood’. The Vindication of Robert III was first published in 1695.

    £150

  18. [CROMWELL AND BAREBONES’S PARLIAMENT.]

    A collection of 33 Parliamentary Acts and Declarations.

    London, various printers, April–December 1653.

    A fine contemporary assembly of Parliamentary acts and declarations, many rare, issued by Cromwell’s interim Council of State and its successor, ‘Barebone’s Parliament’, which governed between the dissolution of the Rump Parliament in April 1653 and the declaration of Cromwell as Lord Protector...

    £6500

  19. [CROWTHER, Thomas Burnside.]

    Anderida; or, the Briton and the Saxon, A.D. CCCXLI. In three Volumes …

    London: Bickers and Son … 1875.

    First edition of a historical novel inspired by Gibbon, (‘there are probably few readers of Gibbon’s History who have not paused for a moment over a foot-note in the thirty-eighth chapter …’)

    £450

  20. CRUSO, Timothy.

    Twenty-Four Sermons preached at the Merchant-Lecture at Pinners Hall …

    London: Printed by S. Bridge, for Thomas Parkhurst … 1699.

    First edition, published posthumously, an uncommon collection of sermons by Timothy Cruso, schoolfriend of Defoe, who memorialised his name in Robinson Crusoe.

    £450