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. [WHITE, Charles].

    The Adventures of a King’s Page. By the Author of “Almack’s Revisited.” ... In three Volumes ...

    London: Henry Colburn ... 1829.

    First edition of a witty novel by the author of Almack’s Revisited (that marvellous parvenu’s manual disguised as a satire on parvenus). The Adventures of a King’s Page has a wider scope than the social hothouse of the silver fork novel, featuring a pageant of (among others) military men, foreigners,...

    £450

  2. [HILL, ‘Sir’ John].

    The Adventures of Mr. George Edwards, a Creole.

    London: Printed for T. Osborne ... 1751.

    First edition of a novel written in the year that the self-styled ‘Sir’ John Hill, apothecary and quack, began writing the ‘Inspector’ essays that turned into the contrived and then real ‘paper war’ with Fielding and Smart.

    £1500

  3. SMOLLETT, Tobias.

    The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle. In which are included, Memoirs of a Lady of Quality. In four Volumes. Vol....

    London: Printed for the Author: and sold by D. Wilson … 1751.

    First edition of Smollett’s picaresque account of the adventures of the egotistical young dandy Peregrine Pickle. The novel is particularly notable for its description of his journeys in Europe which constitute a ‘great, sustained prose satire on the Grand Tour, every detail of which can be fully...

    £400

  4. LE SAGE, Alain René.

    The Adventures of Robert Chevalier, call’d de Beauchene. Captain of a Privateer in New-France ... In two...

    London: Printed and Sold by T. Gardner ... R. Dodsley ... and M. Cooper ... 1745.

    First edition in English of Les avantures de monsieur Robert Chevalier (1732), a rousing tale by the master of the picaresque, the author of Gil Blas.

    £2400

  5. [SMOLLETT, Tobias].

    The Adventures of Roderick Random … in two Volumes … The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Osborn … 1748.

    Second edition, with ‘major imaginative changes’, and frontispieces which appear here for the first time. Even though there were only a few weeks between the first and second editions, Smollett found time to make a number of significant corrections in the text, on average about one substantive change...

    £500

  6. 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

  7. [DUCRAY-DUMINIL, François Guillaume].

    Ambrose and Eleanor; or, the Adventures of two Children deserted on an uninhabited Island....

    London: Printed for R. and L. Peacock, at the Juvenile Library … and sold by Hookham and Carpenter … and C. Law … 1797

    Second English edition (first 1796), a translation of Lolotte et Fanfan (1788). Lucy Peacock kept a shop on Oxford Street which stocked her own and other juvenile tales. Lolotte et Fanfan (1788) evidently appealed for its didactic potential, but required significant editing: ‘many characters...

    £425

  8. [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

  9. BESANT, Walter.

    Armorel of Lyonesse: a Romance of To-day ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Chatto & Windus ... 1891.

    First edition. The plot concerns the exposure of a bogus poet-painter who passes off the work of others as his own, ‘a fraud more common, I have been told, ten years ago, than it is now’, Besant was to write in his autobiography in 1902 (quoted in Wolff). A crusading spirit infuses much of Besant’s...

    £450

  10. [LAWRENCE, George Alfred].

    Barren Honour. A Tale. By the Author of ‘Guy Livingstone.’ In two Volumes ...

    London: Parker, Son, and Bourn ... 1862.

    First edition. Lawrence has been grouped with Kingsley and Hughes in the ‘muscular’ school of Victorian fiction with its sturdy heroes and Christian Socialism. Barren Honour is ‘a study of magnificently chivalrous self-destruction’ on the part of its hero Sir Alan Wyverne, ‘a thoroughbred’...

    £350

  11. OHNET, Georges.

    The Battles of Life. The Ironmaster. From the French of Georges Ohnet … by Lady G[eorgiana] O[sborne]. Authorized...

    London: Wyman & Sons … 1884.

    First edition in English. Le maître de forges (1882), one of a series of novels published by Ohnet under the title ‘Les batailles de la vie’, was a bestseller of French nineteenth-century sentimental fiction, and no less successful in England. Another English translation, by Ernest Vizetelly,...

    £450

  12. ISHERWOOD, Christopher.

    Berlin Stories.

    New York: New Directions, [1945].

    First American edition to combine the two Berlin novels, originally published by the Hogarth Press as Mr Norris Changes Trains and Goodbye to Berlin, in 1935 and 1939 respectively.

    £150

  13. GODWIN, William.

    Caleb Williams ou les Choses comme elles sont … Traduction nouvelle par M. Amédée Pichot …

    Paris, Paulin, Éditeur … 1847 [-1846].

    First edition of this translation by Amédée Pichot, the Anglophile editor of the Revue britannique (volume I had appeared earlier in Bibliographie de la France (no. 5055, 7 November 1846). Shortly before, Pichot had published the first French translation of any work by Edgar Allen Poe...

    £550

  14. ROTH, Henry.

    Call it Sleep.

    London: Michael Joseph, 1963.

    First English edition, first published in New York by Robert O. Ballou in 1934.

    £250

  15. [EDGEWORTH, Maria].

    Castle Rackrent, an Hibernian Tale. Taken from Facts, and from the Manners of the Irish Squires, before the...

    Dublin: Printed for P. Wogan, H. Colbert, B. Byrne [and seven others]. 1800.

    First Irish edition of Edgeworth’s first and most important novel, published in the same year as the first edition. Castle Rackrent is a rattling narrative of three generations of an Irish estate, variously thought of as the first historical novel, the first Anglo-Irish novel and the first novel with...

    £850

  16. [EDGEWORTH, Maria].

    Castle Rackrent, an Hibernian Tale. Taken from Facts, and from the Manners of the Irish Squires, before the...

    [London,] Printed for J. Johnson … 1800. By J. Crowder ...

    First edition of Edgeworth’s first and most important novel, a rattling narrative of three generations of an Irish estate, variously thought of as the first historical novel, the first Anglo-Irish novel and the first novel with a unreliable narrator, the old family servant Thady Quirk. The Rackrents...

    £2250

  17. 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

  18. [TORBUCK, John].

    A Collection of Welsh Travels and Memoirs of Wales. Containing I. The Briton Describ’d, or a Journey thro’...

    London: Printed for and sold by J. Torbuck … 1738.

    First edition of this compilation of whimsical works about Wales, reissued and published as though under the auspices of Swift.

    £1100

  19. HAGGARD, H. Rider.

    Colonel Quaritch, V.C. A Tale of Country Life … In three Volumes …

    London: Longmans, Green and Co. 1888.

    First edition in book form, the last of Rider Haggard’s novels to be issued as a three-decker, following its appearance in the penny numbers of England. This is a domestic and at times violent tale of a lost family treasure and the cryptic message that leads to its timely recovery just as foreclosure...

    £1000

  20. PORTER, Jane and Anna Maria.

    Coming out; and the Field of Forty Footsteps … In three Volumes …

    London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green … 1828.

    First edition; the first two volumes comprise ‘Coming Out; a Tale of the nineteenth century’ by Anna Maria Porter, the final volume is her sister’s ‘Field of Forty Footsteps; a Tale of the seventeenth century’. ‘Either would have made a three-decker all by itself’ (Wolff).

    £650