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. AEMYLIUS, Paulus (Paolo EMILIO).

    Historici clarissimi de rebus gestis Francorum…

    Paris, Michel Vascosan, 1550.

    Early editions of the three classical complementary chronicles of France from the fifth to the mid-sixteenth century, often issued and bound together.

    £750

  2. (a). GOULET, Robert.

    Compendium recenter editum de multiplici Parisiensis Universitatis magnificentia, dignitate, et excellentia,...

    Paris, Toussaint Denis, 1517.

    First edition of the first account of the University of Paris, ‘probably the earliest monograph on any university’ – E. P. Goldschmidt.

    £12500

  3. ALEXANDER, James Edward, translator, and Mirza Itesa MODEEN (Itisam al-Din).

    Shigurf namah i velaët, or excellent intelligence...

    London, Parbury, Allen & Co., 1827.

    First edition. A first-hand account of eighteenth-century intrigue and court politics, involving George III, the Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, and a motley cast of supporting characters. Al-Din, initially an employee of various Britons, undertook a mission to Britain between 1766 and 1768. The...

    £350

  4. AMOS, William.

    Minutes in Agriculture and Planting … Illustrated with Specimens of eight Sorts of the best, and two Sorts of...

    Boston [Lincolnshire], Printed by J. Hellaby, 1804.

    First edition, rare. William Amos was the steward of the Brothertoft estate of the ‘father of reform’ John Cartwright, and author of an earlier work on The Theory and Practice of Drill Husbandry (1794). Here he provides descriptions, and samples, of both ‘artificial’ and ‘natural’...

    £2250

  5. AUBREY, John.

    Miscellanies, viz. I. Day-Fatality. II. Local-Fatality. III. Ostenta. IV. Omens. V. Dreams. VI. Apparitions. VII....

    London: Printed for Edward Castle … 1696.

    First edition of Aubrey’s entertaining collection of folk history, superstitions, and gossip, the only book he completed. The topics he tackles in this work of ‘hermetick philosophy’ include ‘omens and prophecies, dreams and apparitions, day fatality and second sight, all of which he was concerned...

    £950

  6. [AUGUSTINE, Saint, attributed author.]

    The Meditations of Saint Augustine, from the Latin Original. By the Rev. J. Martin, O.S.A. …

    Dublin: Printed for the Author, by H. Fitzpatrick … 1798

    First edition of this rare translation of the pseudo-Augustinian Meditationum Liber, an eleventh-century devotional text very popular in the Middle Ages.

    £1250

  7. BACON, Francis.

    The Essayes or Counsels, civill and morall … Newly enlarged.

    London, Printed by John Haviland … 1632.

    Third edition of the definitive text of Bacon’s Essayes, first published in 1625. The first edition appeared in 1597 comprising only ten short essays; in 1612 these were revised and a further twenty-eight essays added. The 1625 edition contained fifty-eight essays, twenty of them new, and the rest...

    £650

  8. BARDUZZI, Bernardino.

    A Letter in Praise of Verona [1489]. In the original Latin Text with an English Translation by Betty Radice.

    Verona, [Officina Bodoni,] 1974.

    First edition, No. 34 of 150 copies: an elegant facsimile reprint of one of Verona’s rarest incunables. Barduzzi’s eulogistic letter to Giovanni Nesi was first printed in 1489 by Paulus Fridenperger. The Latin text is followed here by an English translation and a biographical postscript by Giovanni...

    £375

  9. BARLOW, Thomas.

    A Letter concerning Invocation of Saints, and Adoration of the Cross, writ ten Years since, to John Evelyn of Depthford,...

    London, Printed by John Macock for John Martyn … 1679

    First edition. Evelyn had asked his old friend Thomas Barlow if a certain passage in a sermon of St. Cyril before the Council of Ephesus as reported in Binnius ‘might not be a good Argument for the Popish Invocation of Saints’. Barlow has no trouble in dismissing the suggestion: ‘the Passage in...

    £650

  10. BEARCROFT, Philip.

    An historical Account of Thomas Sutton Esq; and of his Foundation in Charter-House …

    London: Printed by E. Owen, and sold by F. Gyles … W. Hinchliffe … J. and P. Knapton … J. Stagg … and S. Birt … 1737.

    First edition. Thomas Sutton (1532-1611) was an Elizabethan civil servant who made an enormous fortune from leases of land rich in coal in Durham. In 1611 he bought Howard House for £13,000 from the Earl of Suffolk; the building acquired its more familiar name, ‘Charterhouse’, after the order of...

    £250

  11. [BEER, Johann Christoph.]

    Kurtzer Entwurff dess Lebens der Könige in Engelland von der Zeit an als die Sachsen und Angeln sich...

    Nuremberg, Johann Hoffmann, 1676.

    Second, corrected and improved, edition (first 1671) of this attractive German survey of English kings and queens. After describing the rulers in the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England (Wessex, Sussex, Essex, Kent, East Anglia, Northumbria, and Mercia), Beer discusses the kings from Egbert to Harold...

    £500

  12. BENTHAM, Jeremy.

    Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the Form of a Catechism, with Reasons for each Article. With an Introduction,...

    London: Printed in the Year 1817. Re-printed and Re-published, with Notes and Alterations, by Permission of the Author, by T. J. Wooler … 1818.

    First edition thus of an inexpensive reprint of Bentham’s Plan of Parliamentary Reform (1817), the style adapted by Thomas Wooler, with Bentham’s permission, to ‘render it more easy of comprehension to the popular reader’. In this form it first appeared in instalments in Wooler’s radical...

    £225

  13. [BLACKMORE, Richard, and John HUGHES.]

    The Lay-Monastery. Consisting of Essays, Discourses, &c. Published singly under the Title...

    London: Printed by Sam. Keimer, for Ferdinand Burleigh ... 1714.

    First collected edition of a little-known periodical that appeared as The Lay Monk in 40 numbers thrice weekly from 16 November 1713 to 15 February 1713/14. Produced in imitation of The Spectator (to which Hughes had contributed), The Lay-Monastery features a fraternity of gentlemen...

    £250

  14. BLOUNT, Sir Thomas Pope.

    Essays on several Subjects …

    London, Printed for Richard Bently … 1692.

    Second edition of seven essays of ‘considerable merit [that] display the easy scepticism and solid good sense and learning of the author to good advantage’ (Pforzheimer). They deal with self-interest; the mischief of learning; education; respect for antiquity; the virtues of modern men; passion;...

    £500

  15. BOLTON, Robert.

    Letters and Tracts on the Choice of Company and other Subjects. The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Whiston and B. White … and R. and J. Dodsley … 1762.

    Second edition; a reissue of the sheets of the first edition with a cancel title-page and advertisement replacing the original title leaf A1. As well as the title tract, the volume includes essays ‘On Intemperance in Eating’, ‘On Intemperance in Drinking’, ‘On Pleasure’ and ‘On Public Worship’,...

    £325

  16. BOTTARELLI, Ferdinando.

    Exercises upon the different Parts of Italian Speech; with References to Veneroni’s Grammar. To which...

    London, Printed for J. Nourse … 1778.

    First edition, very scarce, of a popular Italian tutor for English students, designed to teach grammar and idiomatic phrases through the use of exemplars. Increasingly difficult English phrases are laid out with the uninflected Italian stems below:

    £450

  17. [BOUCHER, Jean].

    Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus,...

    [Paris?], 1595.

    First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against...

    £600

  18. BOWRING, Sir John.

    Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain …

    London, for Taylor and Hessey, 1824.

    First edition. Bowring had long had a soft spot for Spain (‘I love Spain as a country, and Spaniards as a people. In other lands I single out special objects for my regard … in Spain, my affections pervade and cling to the whole population’, London Magazine, 1823, quoted in Hitchcock)....

    £200

  19. [Brewer, George].

    The Siamese tales: being a collection of stories told to the son of the Mandarin Sam-Sib, for the purpose of...

    London, Vernor & Hood and Champante & Whitrow, 1796.

    First edition of an anonymously published collection of ‘Siamese tales’, written as fables to increase their appeal to children. In the Introduction, the author states that the purpose of these supposedly translated tales is to ‘promote the love of virtue through the medium of fiction’ (p. 1)....

    £950

  20. BRIEF ACCOUNT (A)

    of the Earthquake, the solemn Event which occurred near Axmouth, Devonshire, on the 25th December, 1839 …

    London: James Nisbett and Co. … 1840.

    First edition, very rare. The landslip at Bindon near Axmouth on the Jurassic Coast of Devon, which took place over the Christmas of 1839, was perhaps the most dramatic geological event in nineteenth-century England. Months of heavy rain weakened the clay foundations of the coastal landscape, sending...

    £750