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. AINSWORTH, William Harrison.

    The Lord Mayor of London: or, City Life in the Last Century ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Chapman and Hall ... 1862.

    First edition. The Lord Mayor of London is set in the reign of George III, but Ainsworth’s worthy Sir Gresham Lorimer embodies all the Victorian qualities of the industrious, honest citizen, risen from humble origins to the highest civic position. His wife adopts the exaggerated dress of the...

    £750

  2. AINSWORTH, William Harrison.

    Preston Fight; or, the Insurrection of 1715. A Tale …

    London: Tinsley Brothers … 1875.

    Ainsworth’s decline in popularity in his later years has rendered his later novels, published by Tinsley in smaller editions than his early work, increasingly scarce.

    £950

  3. [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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. [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

  7. BAYNARD, James B.

    The Rector of Oxbury. A Novel ...

    London: Samuel Tinsley ... 1877.

    First edition. The Anglican rector of Oxbury innocently befriends the new minister of the local non-conformist chapel, who soon finds that any association with the established church arouses the distrust of his own congregation. Marriage to an Anglican girl makes matters worse, and several of his parishoners...

    £350

  8. 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

  9. BLACK, William.

    Sabina Zembra; a Novel ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Macmillan and Co ... 1887.

    First edition. Black was highly thought of by contemporary reviewers, The Athenaeum in 1877 claiming that ‘his genius resembles that of Mr. Trollope, but his taste is better’. Wolff 507.

    £180

  10. BRAMLEY-MOORE, William.

    The six Sisters of the Valleys. An historical Romance … With Illustrations drawn by T. H. Nicholson,...

    London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green. 1864.

    First edition of Bramley-Moore’s only book, a violently anti-Catholic historical novel. Set in 1665, The Six Sisters of the Valleys documents the ‘extraordinary cruelties’ inflicted by the ‘demon of popery’ upon the Protestants living in the valleys of Piedmont. This had been the subject of...

    £650

  11. BRANTÔME, Pierre de Bourdeilles, Seigneur de.

    Spanish Rhodomontades. As also historical and ocular proofs of a true heroism and...

    London, J. Chrichley (i.e. Critchley), 1741.

    First edition in English, with the Rhodomontades printed in the original Spanish. This collection of braggadocio boastings, drawn from the dramatic dialogue of Spanish practitioners of the Commedia dell'Arte, was first published in French in 1740.

    £750

  12. BRONTË, Charlotte.

    Le Professeur par Currer Bell … Roman anglais traduit avec l’autorisation de l’éditeur par Mme Henriette...

    Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie … 1858.

    First editions in French of The Professor (1857) and Shirley (1849) by Charlotte Brontë and Agnes Grey (1847) by Anne Brontë (pp. 193-367 in Volume II), also attributed here to Charlotte. Loreau also produced translations of Dickens and Mayne Reid for Hachette.

    £750

  13. 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

  14. [BURY, Lady Charlotte].

    The Exclusives. In three Volumes ...

    London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley ... 1830.

    First edition of a society novel written after the enormous success of Marianne Spencer Stanhope’s Almack’s (1826), a roman à clef centred on the fashionable assembly rooms in St. James’s. In The Exclusives Lady Tilney plans a new coterie as Almack’s is in decline (‘that...

    £950

  15. ČAPEK, Karel.

    Meteor … Translated by M. and R. Weatherall.

    London, George Allen & Unwin, [1935].

    First edition in English of Povětroň [Meteor] (1934), with a signed presentation inscription from Čapek to Václav Palivec on half-title, dated 1936. In 1935, Palivec, the brother of Čapek’s sister’s husband, gave Čapek and his new wife as a wedding present the use of a house in...

    £1500

  16. CARR, Lisle.

    Judith Gwynne …

    Henry S. King & Co. … London, 1873

    First edition, a scarce romance-cum-society novel.

    £200

  17. ‘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

  18. CASTLE, Egerton.

    Consequences. A Novel ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Richard Bentley and Son ... 1891.

    First edition. A hasty marriage to a beautiful Spanish girl leads the young army officer George Kerr to repent at leisure. After a violent domestic quarrel in which he assaults his young wife, appalled at ‘the horror of the disgrace he had brought upon his manhood’, Kerr attempts suicide. The gun...

    £400

  19. 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

  20. 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