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. 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

  2. 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

  3. [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

  4. SWIFT, Jonathan.

    The Works of J. S, D. D, D. S. P. D. in four Volumes … In this Edition are great Alterations and Additions;...

    Dublin: Printed by and for George Faulkner, Printer and Bookseller … 1735.

    First 12mo. edition of the first collected Works of Swift, preceded by octavo edition earlier in the year. Here the chronological arrangement in volumes I and II has been altered and one piece, ‘Prometheus’ (a later insertion), moved from volume IV to its correct place in volume II.

    £1250

  5. TEMPLE, Sir William.

    An Introduction to the History of England …

    London, Printed for Richard Simpson … and Ralph Simpson … 1695

    First edition. Newly arrived in England from Trinity College, Dublin, Swift in 1689 entered upon a ten-year period as secretary to Sir William Temple at Moor Park near Farnham in Surrey. ‘Partly thanks to Swift’s support several of Temple’s important works were published in the 1690s, notably the...

    £450

  6. THOMAS, Dylan, and Sir Peter Blake, illustrator.

    Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices.

    London: Apple Litho (Bristol) Ltd. for Enitharmon Editions and Queen Anne Press, 2013.

    De Luxe edition, number 61 of 100 copies with a signed print by Blake. This finely-produced edition was published to mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth and celebrates the culmination of over twenty-five years of work by Peter Blake, one of the founding fathers of British Pop Art. The...

    £975

  7. [THOMPSON, Thomas].

    The genuine tryal of Dr. Nosmoth, a physician in Pekin; for the murder of the Mandarine Tonwin…

    London, Mary Cooper, 1746.

    First edition, a satire, putting Dr. Nosmoth, aka Thomas Thompson, on trial for causing the death of ‘Mandarine Tonwin’, aka Thomas Winnington, the Paymaster of the Forces. The somewhat shady circumstances surrounding the death soon attracted the attentions of Society gossip, including being discussed...

    £425

  8. [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

  9. WALFORD, L[ucy] B[ethia].

    The Mischief of Monica … in three Volumes …

    London, Longmans, Green, & Co. … 1891.

    First edition. Born in Edinburgh in 1845, Walford began writing secretly soon after her marriage, contributing stories to Blackwood’s and other periodicals. Her family voiced serious disapproval upon the publication of her first novel, Mr Smith: A Part of his Life, in 1874; it was, however,...

    £425

  10. [WARD, Robert Plumer].

    De Clifford; or, The Constant Man. By the Author of “Tremaine” … in four Volumes …

    London: Henry Colburn … 1841.

    First edition of Ward’s last Silver Fork novel, published some fourteen years after De Vere, or, The Man of Independence. Ward was now seventy-six, and a ‘fashionable’ novel of this kind was ‘well out of its time’; so that De Clifford, while as accomplished as its predecessors, did not have...

    £350

  11. WESTALL, William.

    Roy of Roy’s Court … Vol. I [-II].

    London, Ward & Downey, 1892.

    First edition of ‘this story of “battles, sieges, fortunes”’ set in France in the time of Napoleon. Westall, the son of a Lancashire cotton spinner, became Times correspondent in Geneva and a friend of the Russian revolutionaries of his day.

    £275

  12. [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

  13. WISTAN, Aden.

    Lucy, Francis and Cousin Bill. A novel in three Volumes ...

    London: Eden, Remington & Co. ... 1892.

    First edition, rare. The preliminary leaves in each volume, though clearly correct, are not as called for in Wolff and the binding is more elaborate than his maroon coarse morocco cloth blocked in blind. Here there are only two preliminary leaves (half-title and title page) in each volume; Woolf, however,...

    £650

  14. 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