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. EYRE, Henry.

    A Brief Account of the Holt Waters, containing one Hundred and Twelve eminent Cures, perform’d by the Use of the...

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1731.

    First edition. The waters from Bath, Bristol and Holt, in Wiltshire, were the most popular English mineral waters of the eighteenth century, in no small part due to the activity of Henry Eyre, ‘Sworn Purveyor to Her Majesty [Queen Caroline, wife of George II] for all Mineral Waters’. Eyre ran a distribution...

    £750

  2. FARMER, Richard.

    An Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare: addressed to Joseph Craddock, Esq; …

    ambridge: Printed by J. Archdeacon, Printer to the University; for W. Thurlbourn & J. Woodyer, in Cambridge; and sold by J. Beecroft …...

    First edition of an important contribution to eighteenth-century Shakespeare scholarship. Farmer argues forcefully that Shakespeare relied on translations of Greek and Latin authors, not the originals, echoing their phraseology and even their errors. ‘He remembered perhaps enough of his school-boy...

    £650

  3. FIDDES, Richard.

    A General Treatise of Morality, form’d upon the Principles of natural Reason only. With a Preface in Answer...

    London: Printed for S. Billingsley … 1724.

    First edition, the variant with the misprint ‘FIDDFS’ in the author’s name on the title. ‘Written against Shaftesbury’s Inquiry Concerning Virtue and Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, and displaying marked sympathy with the works of Malebranche and [John] Norris of Bemerton, this book was a...

    £850

  4. FIELDING, Henry.

    The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon ...

    London: Printed for A. Millar ...  1755.

    First published edition of Fielding’s final book. Fielding set out for Portugal by ship in June 1754 in the vain hope of recovering his health. This daily journal of his voyage is a kind of ‘novel without a plot’ (Cross), reflecting his shifting moods. The preface, probably the last words that...

    £350

  5. [FITZ-PATRICK, Robertus, translator, probably pseud.]

    The sacred History of the Holy Sheet. Collected from grave Authors, and translated...

    London: Printed for M. Cooper … 1745

    First edition of what appears to be the first book in English devoted to a description of the Turin Shroud and its history, curiously combining a sympathetic text with a heavily ironic, anti-Catholic preface, particularly anti-European Catholics. Can the preface have been influenced by the events of...

    £750

  6. FREEMAN, Arthur.

    Bibliotheca Fictiva: a Collection of Books and Manuscripts Relating to Literary Forgery 400 BC – AD 2000.

    London, Bernard Quaritch Ltd, 2014.

    An inventory of books and manuscripts relating to literary forgery. Spanning some twenty-four centuries, the book seeks also to define and describe the controversial genre it represents. Individual entries offer specific commentary on the forgers and their work, their exposers and their dupes. A broad...

    £60

  7. [FRENCH CLERGY.]

    To the Nobility, Gentry, Magistrates, Clergy and other Inhabitants of the Northern Parts of the Counties of Durham...

    [N.p., n.p., c. 1794].

    Unrecorded broadside, issued ‘in order to obviate errors, and refute misrepresentations, concerning the history and situation of the French Ecclesiasticks who were landed some time ago at Sunderland’.

    £850

  8. [FRYER, Michael, editor.]

    The Trial and Life of Eugene Aram; several of his Letters and Poems; and his Plan and Specimens of an...

    Richmond: Printed by and for M. Bell … 1832

    First edition. The unfortunate Yorkshire schoolmaster Eugene Aram, implicated with the shoemaker Daniel Clark in fraud in 1745, and twelve years later accused of Clark’s murder, was convicted and hanged in 1759. While in prison in York, without books and papers, he produced the Plan and Specimens published...

    £100

  9. FULKE, William.

    A Sermon preached at Hampton Court, on Sonday being the 12. Day of November, in the Yeare of our Lord. 1570. Wherein...

    Imprinted at London by John Charlewod (sic). 1579.

    An important anti-Catholic sermon delivered at court, arguing that Rome is the Babylon of Revelations and the Pope is the Antichrist; it was first published in 1570 and several times reprinted. Fulke supports his argument with Scripture, early church fathers, numerology (‘Lateinos’ = 666),...

    £1100

  10. GARDINER, John Smallman.

    The Art and the Pleasures of Hare-Hunting. In six Letters to a Person of Quality …

    London: Printed by R. Griffith … 1750.

    First edition, scarce, an eloquent and amusing account of hare-hunting, the first monograph on the subject in English, comprising letters on the superiority of hare-hunting to fox-hunting (less dangerous, less laborious), on the best types of dogs, of trailing and starting hares, etc. Gardiner’s letter...

    £1250

  11. GASCOIGNE, George.

    The Droomme of Doomes Day. Wherein the Frailties and Miseries of Mans Lyfe are lyvely portrayed and learnedly...

    London, 1576-9.

    First editions, both very rare. George Gascoigne published The Droomme of Doomes Day in May 1576, the last major work from an enormously prolific period since February 1575 that saw the publication of Posies, A Glasse of Government, the Noble Art of Venerie, and A...

    £22500

  12. GÉNIE ANGLOIS (LE),

    ou histoire abrégée des revolutions fréquentes de la Grande-Bretagne; par un esprit desintéressé.

    A Dublin [i.e. the Netherlands]: chez Jaques Pepiat. 1723.

    First and only edition of this curious children’s history of England in French, up to the death of Queen Anne in 1714.

    £650

  13. GENUINE ACCOUNT (A)

    of the Life and Actions of James Maclean, Highwayman, to the Time of his Trial and receiving Sentence at the...

    London, W. Falstaff, [1750].

    First edition, the scarcer of two contemporary pamphlet biographies of the ‘gentleman highwayman’ James Maclaine (1724-1750). The son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister, Maclaine, having squandered an early inheritance and his wife’s money, joined up with a down-at-luck apothecary, William Plunkett,...

    £1250

  14. GIBBON, Edward.

    Miscellaneous Works … with Memoirs of his Life and Writings, composed by himself: illustrated from his Letters,...

    London: Printed for A. Strahan, and T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies … 1796.

    First edition, Hugh Cleghorn’s copy.

    £1600

  15. GLOVER, John.

    The Hidden and happy Life of a Christian, amidst a Variety of Trials and Afflictions incident to the present State,...

    London: Printed by R. Hawes … and sold by Mr. Buckland, Bookseller … and Mr. Keith … London; Mr. Booth, at Norwich; Mr. Punchard, at...

    First edition, very scarce: the spiritual diary of the evangelical Calvinist John Glover from its commencement in 1764 until shortly before his death ten years later. The diary revolves around anxiety about temptations, spiritual withdrawal and silent prayer, and the solace Glover draws from religious...

    £450

  16. [GOLDSMITH, Oliver].

    A History of England, in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son. To which are added two Letters on...

    Basil: Printed and sold by James Decker. Paris, sold by Levrault frères … 1800.

    First Swiss edition of Goldsmith’s popular history (first published 1764), ‘a proper guide for the instruction of boys’; this was the second Continental edition, following that of Paris in 1788.

    £350

  17. [GOLDSMITH, Oliver].

    The Vicar of Wakefield: a Tale. Supposed to be written by himself ... The second Edition. Vol. I. [-II].

    London: Printed for F. Newbery ... 1766.

    Second edition, published two months after the first, printed by William Strahan in 1000 sets, and revised throughout by Goldsmith, with more than 450 new substantive readings, nearly all of them accepted by Arthur Friedman as authorial and admitted into the definitive Oxford text (Collected Works,...

    £850

  18. GOLDSMITH, Oliver.

    Essays … Collecta revirescunt.

    London: Printed for W. Griffin … 1765.

    First edition, a collection of twenty-seven essays. The other edition of 1765, more cheaply printed and with a letterpress title-page, is given priority by Temple Scott, but Rothschild suggests it is a piracy or a cheap edition printed to meet extra demand – it is certainly less generously imposed,...

    £500

  19. [GRAFFIGNY, Françoise Paule, Madame de].

    Lettere d’una Peruviana tradotte dal Francese in Italiano, di cui si sono accentate...

    Avignon: Presso Fr. Seguin Aîné, stampatore e libraio, 1817.

    Françoise Paule d’Issembourg d’Happoncourt, Madame de Graffigny turned to writing as a means to support herself after a discordant divorce from her violent and money-squandering husband in 1723. She moved to Paris in 1738, and after a tumultuous initial period, gained fame and respect with the immediate...

    £125

  20. GRAND MORTAR.

    The Grand Mortar, from Cadiz, in St. Jame’s [sic] Park Explanation of the Carriage, allegorical Figures, Inscriptions...

    [London, n.p., c. 1814.]

    The Grand Mortar, a gift from the Spanish nation in honour of the Duke of Wellington, stands with two other guns opposite Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. It was installed and decorated to commemorate the siege of Cadiz (1810 -1812), in which the Spanish coastal city was defended by a relatively small...

    £300