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. [ST PETERSBURG SUBSCRIPTION LIBRARY.] HOLTEI, Karl Eduard von.

    Lenore. Vaterländisches Schauspiel mit Gesang in drei Abtheilungen.

    Berlin, Duncker and Humblot, 1829.

    First edition of one of Holtei’s best-known plays, inspired by a ballad by Gottfried Bürger.

    £280

  2. STRAMM, August.

    Tropfblut. Gedichte.

    Berlin, Verlag der Sturm, [1919].

    First edition of the Expressionist poet August Stramm’s second collection of poetry. Stramm (1874-1915) is considered one of the first of the German Expressionists. He achieved little in print during his lifetime, with the exception of some Expressionist plays published by Der Sturm after his work...

    £1200

  3. 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

  4. STRINDBERG, August.

    Tschandala. Berättelse fran 1600-talet.

    Stockholm, C. & E. Gernandts Förlags, 1897.

    First Swedish edition: a Gothic tale, set in Skane thirty years after the Swedes took the province from the Danes in 1658. Tschandala (the word is taken from Nietzsche and designates the lowest caste in India) was first published in Danish translation in 1889.

    £250

  5. STRINDBERG, Johan August.

    Trefaldighetsnatten.

    Stockholm, Albert Bonniers Förlag, [1909].

    First separate edition of a collection of poems which was first published in the collection Fagervik och Skamsund in 1902.

    £200

  6. [SURREALISM.]

    Le Ciel bleu. Hebdomadaire littéraire pour tous. De l’autre côté du miroir… No. 1 [-9], All published.

    Brussels, 22 February – 19 April 1945

    The complete run of this short-lived Belgian Surrealist periodical, produced during the closing months of World War II. Directed by Rose Capel, Paul Colinet, Christian Dotremont, and Marcel Mariën, it includes the first appearance in print of pieces by André Breton, Lewis Carroll, and Picasso. Magritte,...

    £1750

  7. TAMAMSHEV, Aleksandr Artem’evich.

    Iz plamia i sveta [From the Flame and Light].

    Petrograd, [R. Golike & A. Vil’borg,] 1918.

    First edition. The title is taken from a poem by Lermontov (Est’ rechi—znachen’e / Temno il’ nichtozhno … ‘There are speeches – whose meaning / Is obscure or insignificant / But it is impossible to hear them without being moved … From the flame and light / The born word / Would not find...

    £250

  8. TARSIS, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Skazanie o sinei mukhe. Krasnoe i chernoe [The legend of the bluebottle. Red and black].

    Frankfurt am Main, Posev, 1963.

    First edition in Russian of Tarsis’ first work to be published abroad, a political allegory of a philosopher who kills a fly and then asks himself why he cannot likewise kill people who get in his way. It was first published in English translation in London the previous year. Tarsis was placed in a...

    £90

  9. TASSO, Torquato.

    Aminta; Favola boscareccia …

    In Glasgua, Della Stampa di Roberto ed Andrea Foulis, 1753.

    First Foulis Press edition of Tasso’s famous pastoral verse play of 1573, an attractive production with plates from a miniature French edition by the French artist Sebastien le Clerc, acquired by Robert Foulis on his European travels.

    £125

  10. [THEATRE].

    La locanda commedia da rappresentarsi in Firenze nel Teatro di Via del Cocomero nell’autunno dell’anno 1756.

    Florence, Pietro Gaetano Viviani, 1756.

    Sole edition, extremely rare (no other copy listed in library catalogues), of this three-act comedy, a notable example of the new Italian comedy inspired by Goldoni. This work appears to echo Goldoni’s La vedova scaltra (1748), while developing the plot and the theme along original trajectories....

    £700

  11. TIECK, Ludwig.

    Der Aufruhr in den Cevennen. Eine Novelle in vier Abschnitten. Erster und zweiter Abschnitt (all published).

    Berlin, G. Reimer, 1826.

    First edition, rare. One of the first important German novels to be inspired by Walter Scott, and a major work of Tieck’s later years.

    £750

  12. TOLMACHEV, Iakov Vasil’evich.

    Frantsuzskaia grammatika, razpolozhennaia legchaishim sposobom, s prisovokupleniem khrestomafii...

    Moscow, University Press, 1809.

    First edition, rare. The polyglot academic Iakov Tolmachev (1779–1873) published his highly successful French grammar the year he arrived in St Petersburg from Ukraine, where he grew up. Other editions came out in 1814, 1819, and 1827.

    £2800

  13. TOLSTOY, Count Aleksei Konstantinovich.

    Kniaz’ Serebrianyi. Povest’ vremen Ioanna Groznago. S predisloviem kn. D. N. Tserteleva....

    Moscow, V. G. Got’e [Gautier], 1892.

    First edition thus, printed on papier vélin and signed by the publisher, one of a number of bibliophile editions of Russian classics brought out by Gautier in the 1890s. Copies were also printed on japon.

    £1600

  14. TOLSTOY, Count Aleksei Konstantinovich.

    Smert’ Ioanna Groznago, tragediia v piati deistviiakh [The Death of Ivan the Terrible,...

    St Petersburg, Naval Ministry Press, 1866.

    First edition: the first in the great trilogy of plays by the foremost Russian historical dramatist. It was translated into English verse, ‘with the author’s permission’, in 1869.

    £2000

  15. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Khoziain i rabotnik. Povest’ [Master and Man. A Story].

    St Petersburg, V. S. Balashev and Co., 10 March 1895.

    One of the earliest printings of one of Tolstoy’s greatest late short stories, revolving around a Damascene moment in the life of an avaricious landowner.

    £3000

  16. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Resurrection. A novel.

    London, The Brotherhood Publishing Co., 1900.

    Variant issue of the second edition in English in book form. This authorised translation of Tolstoy’s Resurrection by Louise Maude was first introduced to English readers in instalments in the journal The Clarion, starting in March 1899. The novel was then published during the course of 1899 and in...

    £550

  17. [TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.] BIRIUKOV, Pavel Ivanovich, editor.

    Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoi. Biografiia. Sostavil P. Biriukov po neizdannym...

    Moscow, Pechkovsky, ‘Posrednik’, 1906[-8].

    First edition, rare, of the first authorised biography of Tolstoy (then aged 78), by his friend, secretary and disciple Pavel Biriukov (1860-1931), drawing on much unpublished archival material and written in personal consultation with Tolstoy over a period of at least six years.

    £1800

  18. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    I. Pis’mo k Kitaitsu. (Oktabria 1906 g.) II. Kitaiskaia mudrost’. Mysli kitaiskikh myslitelei, sobrannyia...

    Moscow, “Posrednika”, 1907.

    First edition, very rare, of Tolstoy’s open letter to the Malaysian-Chinese man of letters Gu Hongming, who had sent several of his works to Tolstoy, including Papers from a Viceroy’s Yamen (1905). In Tolstoy’s view China (like Russia, Persia and Turkey) was then in transition from despotism towards...

    £2250

  19. [TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.] ORLOV, Nikolai.

    Russkie Muzhiki. Kartiny khudozhnika N. Orlova, s predisloviem Leva Nikolaevicha Tolstogo...

    St Petersburg, R. Golik & A. Vilborg, 1909.

    First and only edition of this album of nine black and white reproductions of folk-art paintings by the peasant artist Nikolai Orlov, prefaced by an 8-page introduction by Tolstoy. The realistic portrayal of Russian society, especially of the peasantry, was a cause beloved by Tolstoy, and is a key feature...

    £1200

  20. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Zhivoi trup. Drama v 6 deistviiakh i 12 kartinakh [A Living Corpse. A drama in 6 acts and 12 scenes].

    Moscow, A. Ia. Petrov, [1911].

    One of the earliest printings of Tolstoy’s Living Corpse, one of a number of editions in 1911, the year it was first staged, posthumously, at the Moscow Arts Theatre.

    £2750