Foreign Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Joanna Skeels

This department specialises in rare and important works of French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and South American literature from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Here you can find first editions and signed or presentation copies of authors as diverse as Akhmatova, Balzac, Borges, Camus, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Goethe, Goldoni, Hugo, Kafka, Leopardi, Lorca, Manzoni, Pirandello, Pushkin, Schiller, Tolstoy, Zola, and many others. Among the important works which have passed through our hands are the original working manuscript of Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, now in the Pushkin House in St Petersburg, the only known copy of the first edition of Brecht's first play, Baal (1920) with his working notes, and an extraordinary collection of Pushkin first editions.
  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. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna, translator.

    Koreiskaia klassicheskaia poeziia [Korean classical poetry].

    Moscow, Goslitizdat, 1956.

    Rare first edition of this collection of Korean poems translated by Akhmatova, based on an anthology compiled by the 18th century Korean poet Kim Ch’on-T’aek.

    £900

  3. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna.

    Stikhotvoreniia [Poems].

    Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo Khudozhestvennoi Literatury, 1958.

    First edition; the first post-Stalin collection of Akhmatova’s poems to be published. It includes some of the poems from her suppressed collection of 1946, Poems 1909-1945, severely censored for this edition.

    £400

  4. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna.

    Stikhotvoreniia (1909–1960) [Poems (1909–1960)].

    Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo Khudozhestvennoi Literatury, 1961.

    First edition: a severely censored selection of poems, taken both from the early books Evening (1912), Rosary (1914), White Flock (1917), and Plantain (1921), and also from Akhmatova’s later collections Reed and Seventh Book. Some of these latter poems are...

    £250

  5. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna.

    Stikhotvoreniia (1909 – 1960) [Poems (1909 – 1960)].

    Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo Khudozhestvennoi Literatury, 1961.

    First edition: a severely censored selection of poems, taken both from the early books Evening (1912), Rosary (1914), White Flock (1917), and Plantain (1921), and also from Akhmatova’s later collections Reed and Seventh Book. Some of these latter poems are...

    £250

  6. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna, translator.

    Golosa poetov. Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov v perevode Anny Akhmatovoi [Poets’ voices. Verses...

    Moscow, “Progress”, 1965.

    First edition: translations by Akhmatova of a selection of pieces by Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian, Norwegian, and Indian poets. She published six volumes of translations during her lifetime but, despite her success, she complained that for a poet translating was ‘comparable to devouring...

    £450

  7. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna.

    Podorozhnik [Plantain].

    Petrograd, “Petropolis”, 1921.

    First edition: a collection of 38 poems written between 1917 and 1919, and later included in the larger collection Anno Domini MCMXXI published in early 1922. These were Akhmatova’s first poems about the civil war.

    £600

  8. AKSENOV, Ivan Aleksandrovich.

    Pikasso i okrestnosti [Picasso and environs].

    Moscow, Tsentrifuga, 1917.

    First edition of the first work in Russian on Picasso, and an early theoretical treatise on Cubism: ‘an original and insightful book of criticism’ (Terras). Printed in an edition of 1000 copies, with a striking cover design by Alexandra Exter. The poet, critic, and translator Ivan Aksenov (1883-1935)...

    £800

  9. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    Momus [or De principe].

    Rome, Jacopo Mazochi, 1520.

    First edition of this political and social satire by the great Renaissance architect, theorist, scholar and man of letters, Leon Battista Alberti. There were two editions published in Rome in 1520, one (the present) by Jacopo Mazochi, the other by Étienne Guillery. Both carry papal privileges,...

    £4600

  10. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    El Momo. La moral e muy graciosa historia del Momo; compuesta en Latin por el docto varon Leon Bapista...

    Alcalá de Henares, Joan Mey Flandro, 1553.

    First edition in Spanish of Alberti’s Momus [or De principe], translated by Augustín de Almaçan and with an introductory 8 pp. Exposición by the Toledo ascetic writer and scholar Alejo Venegas (1495?–1554?).

    £3800

  11. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    Hecatomphila che ne insegnia l’ingeniosa arte d’amore. Deiphira che ne mostra suggir il mal principiato...

    Venice, Giovanni Antonio et Fratelli da Sabbio ad instantia de Nicolo & Francesco Librari al Dolphin, 1528.

    A combined edition of the Ecatomfila and the Deifira, Alberti’s two dialogues on love. They originally appeared separately in 1471, probably the first works of literature by a living author printed in Italian. They treat the vagaries of love from different perspectives. In the Ecatomfila,...

    £8000

  12. ALBERTI, Rafael.

    Cal y canto.

    Madrid, Revista de Occidente, [1929].

    First edition of Alberti’s fourth collection of poems. Cal y canto occupies a central position in the poet’s work before the Spanish Civil War, introducing themes he was to return to again and again throughout his life.

    £1100

  13. ALBERTI, Rafael.

    13 Bandas y 48 estrellas. Poema del Mar Caribe.

    Madrid, Manuel Altolaguirre, 1936.

    First edition. ‘The thirteen poems collected in 13 bandas y 48 estrellas, first published in 1936 and later recollected in part 3 of De un momento a otro, are songs of protest against, and critical evaluations of, the role of “el imperialismo yanki”, “la diplomacia del horror”,...

    £650

  14. ALBERTI, Rafael.

    De los Alamos y los sauces.

    [Buenos Aires], Ediciones del Angel Gulab, 1940.

    First edition of this collection of poems: one of 120 numbered copies on Hammermill paper, signed by Alberti, of a total edition of 425. No. III in the series Cancionero de la Sirena, edited by Angel Gulab.

    £400

  15. ALBERTI, Rafael, and Carlos RODRIGUEZ-PINTOS.

    Dos Oraciones a la Virgen.

    Paris, [Carlos Rodriguez-Pintos], 1931.

    First edition, rare, one of 325 copies privately printed by Rodriguez-Pintos (ours is unnumbered). The two poems comprise ‘Nuestra Señora de la Cinta’ by the Uruguayan poet Carlos Rodriguez-Pintos (1895-1985), with an illustration by Alberti; and ‘Nuestra Señora de la Buena Leche’ by Alberti,...

    £900

  16. ALEICHEM, Sholem [pseud. Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich].

    Sholom Aleikhem. Perevod s evreiskago S. Orlonskoi. Za sovetom. Nemets....

    St Petersburg, M. G. Kornfel’d, 1911.

    Very rare first edition in Russian of three humorous stories by the ‘Jewish Mark Twain’, the Ukrainian-born author and playwright Sholem Aleichem, now probably best remembered through the musical based on his stories, Fiddler on the Roof.

    £2000

  17. ALEIXANDRE, Vicente.

    Historia del Corazón.

    Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1954.

    First edition of this important work by the Nobel prize-winning poet.

    £300

  18. ALEKSANDROVA, Zinaida and Dmitry GORLOV.

    Мишкины соседи [Little Bear’s neighbours].

    Moscow, VLKSM Izdatelstvo Detskoi Literaturi, 1936.

    First edition. A very nice copy of this collection of verses for young children, composed by one of the most prolific Soviet children’s poets, and illustrated by one of the most prolific of Soviet children’s artists. The tales tell of the lives of a selection of farm and wild animals, including a...

    £350

  19. ALEXIS, Willibald, pseud. [i.e. Heinrich Georg Wilhelm HÄRING].

    Dorothe. Ein Roman aus der Brandenburgischen Geschichte.

    Berlin, Carl Barthol, 1856.

    Rare first edition of this historical novel set in Brandenburg after the Thirty Years War, during the time of the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia. Its principal figure, Dorothe, is his second consort.

    £800

  20. ALMAFUERTE, pseud. [i.e. Pedro Bonifacio PALACIOS].

    Obras I. Lamentaciones [All published].

    La Plata, 1906

    First edition of this collection of poems by the Argentinian poet and journalist, who enjoyed a cult following in his day. This copy belonged to Jorge Luis Borges, with his early ownership signature to front blank.

    £3000