English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees, Ted Hofmann or Alexander Laar

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. [SWIFT, Jonathan].

    On Poetry: a Rapsody.

    Printed at Dublin, and Re-printed at London: and sold by J. Huggonson ... and at the Booksellers and Pamphlet-shops ... 1733.

    First edition. On Poetry, one of Swift’s most important productions in verse, was early recognized as a masterpiece and would have achieved considerable favour for Swift at court had not Lord Hervey ‘undeceived Q[ueen] C[aroline] and taken some pains to teach her the use and power of irony’ (Dr....

    £750

  2. SWIFT, Jonathan, attributed author.

    The Life and genuine Character of Doctor Swift. Written by Himself.

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … and sold at the Pamphlet Shops … 1733.

    First edition. Authorship of this fine poem has long been debated. It was explicitly repudiated by Swift himself, though it has much in common with Verses on the Death of Doctor Swift and Faulkner printed it as genuine in 1746.

    £1000

  3. SWINBURNE, Algernon Charles.

    Ode on the Proclamation of the French Republic, September 4th, 1870 ...

    London: F. S. Ellis ... 1870.

    First edition. On 4 Septemeber 1879, two days after the final capitulation of the French army at Sedan and the surrender of Napoleon III to the King of Prussia, the republican deputies at Paris proclaimed the end of the imperial dynasty and the foundation of the provisional government that was to become...

    £100

  4. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Maud, and other Poems …

    London: Edward Moxon … 1855.

    First edition, containing the first appearance in book form of ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. The poem was originally printed in The Examiner in December 1854.

    £150

  5. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Maud, and other Poems …

    London: Edward Moxon … 1855.

    First edition, containing the first appearance in book form of ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. The poem was originally printed in The Examiner in December 1854.

    £150

  6. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Ballads and other Poems.

    London: C. Kegan Paul & Co. … 1880.

    First edition. Wise, Tennyson 138; Tinker 2093.

    £75

  7. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Locksley Hall Sixty Years after etc.

    London: Macmillan and Co. … 1886.

    First edition. Wise, Tennyson 156; Tinker 2098.

    £60

  8. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    The Death of Œnone, Akbar’s Dream, and other Poems.

    London: Macmillan and Co. … 1892.

    First edition, the issue on ordinary paper. Wise, Tennyson 165; Tinker 2102.

    £50

  9. TENNYSON, Alfred Lord.

    The Princess: a Medley … Fourth edition.

    London: Edward Moxon … 1851.

    Fourth edition, with ‘changes of very considerable importance’ (Wise), written when Tennyson was honeymooning with the Marshalls in 1850. The Princess (first 1847) is the only volume of poetry that Tennyson was to publish in the later 1840s, while finishing In Memoriam (1850). The poem...

    £275

  10. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Timbuctoo. A Poem, which obtained the Chancellor’s Medal at the Cambridge Commencement, 1829. [Cambridge,...

    1829-1851.

    First editions. Timbuctoo, extracted from Prolusiones Academicae, is Tennyson’s first named appearance in print. It is bound here with the rare Memoir of Henry Fitzmaurice Hallam, the second son of the historian Henry Hallam. His brother Arthur had died in 1833 at the age of 22,...

    £450

  11. TENNYSON, Arthur, Lord.

    Enoch Arden, etc.

    London: Edward Moxon & Co. … 1864.

    First edition, the issue with the earliest (August) state of Moxon’s inserted 8-page catalogue. Wise, Tennyson 107; Tinker 2083.

    £100

  12. THELWALL, John.

    Poems chiefly written in Retirement. The Fairy of the Lake, a dramatic Romance; Effusions of relative and social...

    Hereford, Printed by W. H. Parker; sold by West and Hughes … S. Phillips … and Jas. Ridgeway … London; J Stockdale … Dublin; &c. &c. 1801.

    First or second edition (distinguished only by the half-title, here wanting, otherwise identical).

    £650

  13. [THE OLD MAID.]

    Six lithograph plates with verses below: ‘When I was a girl of eighteen years old …’.

    c. 1835?

    Apparently unrecorded – an attractive illustrated edition of a popular slip-ballad, here reduced to 8 verses of the original 13.

    £750

  14. [TWISS, Horace].

    Posthumous Parodies and other Pieces, composed by several of our most celebrated Poets, but not published in any...

    London: Printed for John Miller. 1814.

    First edition. Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope and Johnson are among the poets parodied.

    £150

  15. TYRTAEUS and CALLINUS.

    Les chants...traduits en vers par Firmin Didot.

    Paris, Firmin Didot, pere et fils, 1827.

    One of only 100 copies - all hors de commerce - of this deluxe folio Didot edition of some of the oldest martial elegy verses of the Western tradition: the surviving works of the Spartan poet Tyrtaeus and the Ephesian poet Callinus (7th-6th century BC). The text is preceded by an engraved Lettre to Firmin...

    £6000

  16. WALLER, Edmund.

    Poems, &c. written upon several Occasions, and to several Persons ... Never till now corrected and published with...

    London, Printed for Henry Herringman ... 1664.

    The first authorised edition, which repudiates in its preface all of the 1645 printings (‘When the Author of these verses ... returned from abroad some years since, He was troubled to find his name in print, but somewhat satisfied to see his lines so ill rendred that he might justly disown them, and...

    £500

  17. WALLER, Edmund.

    Poems, &c. written by Mr. Ed. Waller … and printed by a Copy of his own Hand-Writing. All the lyrick Poems in...

    London, Printed by I. N. for Hu. Mosley … 1645.


    Second, first licensed, edition of Waller’s first and most important collection, published while he was in exile, and shortly preceded by an unlicensed volume, Workes (London, Thomas Walkley, 1645) (Wing W 495) – ‘an adulterate Copy, surreptitiously and illegally imprinted, to the derogation...

    £850

  18. WALTON, Izaac.

    The Lives of Dr John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr Richard Hooker, Mr George Herbert … to which are added some Letters...

    London, printed by Tho. Newcomb for Richard Marriott … 1670.

    First collected edition of Walton’s celebrated lives of poets and divines. ‘If its rarity was as great as its merit it would be one of the most coveted books of the period’ (Pforzheimer). The biography of Wotton was published as part of Reliquiae Wottonianae (1651); Walton’s life of Donne first...

    £850

  19. WALTON, Izaak.

    The Life of Mr. George Herbert … To which are added some Letters written by Mr. George Herbert, at his being in...

    London: Printed by Tho: Newcomb, for Rich: Marriott, sold by most Booksellers. 1670.

    First edition, second issue, with a cancel title-page adding mention of the Letters. There are four letters from Donne, one including a sonnet, and a poem at the end by Crashaw. The life, ‘a tissue of paraphrase and quotation, more Herbert than Walton’ (Oxford DNB), would also appear later in the...

    £950

  20. [WARTON, Thomas, the younger].

    The Pleasures of Melancholy. A Poem …

    London: Printed for R. Dodsley … and sold by M. Cooper … 1747.

    First edition of Warton’s second publication, preceded by Five Pastoral Eclogues (1745), and written at that time, though Warton also contributed to his brother Joseph’s Odes on various Subjects (1746). The Pleasures of Melancholy was Warton’s first major poem, a meditative...

    £400