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. AUSTEN, Jane.

    Sense and Sensibility: a Novel. In three Volumes … the second Edition …

    London: Printed for the Author, by C. Roworth … and published by T. Egerton … 1813.

    Second edition, revised by the author. The first edition had sold out in July 1813, and on 25 September Austen wrote to her brother Francis that ‘There is to be a 2d Edition of S. & S. Egerton advises it’. Apparently it was published on the same terms as the first edition, at the expense of the author;...

    £6000

  2. [JOHNSON, Samuel].

    The Prince of Abissinia. A Tale ...

    London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley ... and W. Johnston ... 1759.

    First edition of Johnson’s only novel, written in the evenings of a single week to pay for his mother’s funeral. Its rapid execution is said to have been due to the fact that he had been pondering its chief topics all his life. It soon became his most popular work. Although now inevitably called...

    £4500

  3. [SAMBLANX]. [BAUDELAIRE]. POE, Edgar.

    Vingt Histoires Extraordinaires. Illustrées par quarante et une eaux-fortes originales de...

    Paris, Le Livre de Plantin, 1927

    First edition of Baudelaire’s celebrated translation to appear with these striking illustrations by Alméry Lobel-Riche, his close friend who was to illustrate the whole Baudelaire canon during the 1920s and early 1930s. Lobel-Riche described Baudelaire as “le premier, le plus grand poète de la...

    £4000

  4. AUSTEN, Jane.

    Mansfield Park: a Novel. In three Volumes … Second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Murray … 1816.

    Second edition, revised. This is the only one of Jane Austen’s novels with textual revisions of any significance. She ‘seems in general to have prepared the text for the first editions of her novels with the greatest care, so that they contain few misprints, and the alterations made in the later...

    £3750

  5. [AUSTEN, Jane].

    Mansfield Park: a Novel. In three Volumes. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice” ... second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Murray ... 1816.

    Second edition, revised. This is the only one of Jane Austen’s novels with textual revisions of any significance. She ‘seems in general to have prepared the text for the first editions of her novels with the greatest care, so that they contain few misprints, and the alterations made in the later...

    £3250

  6. STRAPAROLA, Giovanfrancesco.

    Le Piacevoli Notti di messer Giovanfrancesco Straparola da Caravaggio.

    Venice, Domenico Giglio, 1558.

    An early edition of both volumes of Straparola’s Facetious Nights.

    £3250

  7. ‘CARROLL, Lewis’ [i.e. Charles Lutwidge DODGSON].

    Sylvie and Bruno … London, Macmillan and Co. 1889. [With:] Sylvie and Bruno...

    London, Macmillan and Co. 1880-1893.

    First editions, presentation copies inscribed ‘Lizzie Wilcox from her affte Cousin the Author / Dec. 12. 1889’ and ‘Lizzie Wilcox, from her affectionate Cousin the Author / Dec. 27, 1893’ (two days before publication), a fine association:

    £2750

  8. MORE, Thomas.

    The Common-wealth of Utopia: containing a learned and pleasant Discourse of the best State of a publike-Weale, as...

    London, Printed by B. Alsop & T. Fawcet, and are to be sold by Wil: Sheares … 1639.

    Fifth edition of More’s Utopia in English, translated by Ralph Robinson – the last edition of his translation, first published in 1551, and revised in 1556. Alsop printed a corrected edition in 1624, with a dedication to More’s grandson, Cresacre More, which is reprinted here.

    £2500

  9. FORSTER, E. M.

    A Passage to India …

    London, Edward Arnold & Co., 1924.

    Signed, limited first edition (no. 197 of 200) of Forster’s final masterpiece.

    £2500

  10. [BAGE, Robert].

    Hermsprong; or, Man as he is not. A Novel … By the Author of Man as he is.

    London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press … 1796.

    First edition of Bage’s last and finest novel.

    £2400

  11. 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

  12. [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

  13. LUCIAN, of Samosata.

    Deorum dialogi... una cum interpretatione e regione latina nusquam antea impressi...

    Strassbourg, Johannes Schott, 1515.

    First edition edited and translated by the German humanist (and musician) Ottmar Nachtgall.

    £2100

  14. RAMUS, Petrus. (Commentator) - VIRGILIUS MARO, Publius.

    Georgica, P. Rami professoris regii praelectionibus illustrata, ad Carolum...

    Paris, 1564.

    Second editions of Ramus' extensive commentaries on Virgil's two poems on country life, which he wrote in order to react against the dry doctrines of several French schools who based their teaching of nature on Aristotle's physics. He wanted to keep in contact with the concrete realities of nature and...

    £2000

  15. [SWIFT, Jonathan].

    Travels into several remote Nations of the World. In four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, first a Surgeon, and then...

    London: Printed for Benj. Motte … 1727.

    ‘Second’ edition (in fact the fourth, since the three ‘issues’ of 1726 are separate editions), but the first to include Pope’s prefatory verses. Teerink-Scouten note two states, with either four or five verses (signed a2-7 b4 or a2-7 b4 *2, the pages marked ‘)(’ at the top). Ours contains...

    £1750

  16. [PRATT, Samuel Jackson].

    The Pupil of Pleasure: or, the new System illustrated. Inscribed to Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, Editor of Lord...

    London, Printed for G. Robinson, and J. Bew ... 1776.

    First edition of an epistolary novel designed to illustrate the pernicious effects of Chesterfield’s cynical precepts in the Letters to his Son. The Pupil of Pleasure, perhaps the first rejoinder in the form of fiction, posits a hero of ‘birth, rank, figure, and character’ who is brought up on...

    £1600

  17. [JOHNSON, Samuel].

    The Prince of Abissinia. A Tale. In two Volumes …

    London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley … and W. Johnston … 1759.

    First edition of Johnson’s only novel, written in the evenings of a single week to pay for his mother’s funeral. Its rapid execution is said to have been due to the fact that he had been pondering its chief topics all his life. It soon became his most popular work. Although now inevitably called...

    £1600

  18. [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

  19. GODWIN, William.

    Mandeville. A Tale of the Seventeenth Century in England ... In three Volumes ...

    Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co. and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, London. 1817.

    First edition of a powerful study of madness set against the background of the English Civil War, inspired in part (according to the author’s preface) by an American novel, Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland. Godwin was sixty-one when he completed Mandeville (he began it eight years earlier),...

    £1500

  20. STUDENT (THE),

    STUDENT (THE), or, the Oxford, and Cambridge Miscellany. Oxford; Printed for J. Newbery ... J. Barrett in Oxford...

    Oxford; Printed for J. Newbery ... J. Barrett in Oxford ... and J. Merrill in Cambridge. 1750[-51].

    First edition, comprising the original nineteen parts, numbered I-IX (plus supplement, Numb. I in first state) in volume I, and named for the nine muses and Apollo in volume II. Christopher Smart, whilst in Newbery’s employ, probably took over the editorship with the sixth issue, when ‘and Cambridge’...

    £1500