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. CHACHIKOV, Aleksandr Mikhailovich.

    Chai-Khane.

    Moscow, Moscow Guild of Poets, 1927.

    First edition of a collection which highlights the poet’s interest in the Caucasus and other (non-Russian) parts of the Soviet Union, often employing foreign words in the poems. A short vocabulary is appended. Chachikov produced a number of volumes of verse, including translations from Georgian.

    £100

  2. CHTETS-DEKLAMATOR.

    Chtets-deklamator. Khudozhestvennyi sbornik stikhotvorenii razskazov i monologov dlia chteniia v divertismentakh,...

    [Kiev, I. I. Samonenko, 1906.]

    Ivan and Fyodor Samonenko’s hugely popular series (there were at least 12 editions before the Revolution) highlights Russia’s passion for performance at the time. The first volume, containing lyric poetry and humorous verse, had appeared in 1902. A second volume, in 1905, of which this is the second...

    £450

  3. CHUDINOV, Aleksandr.

    Poema i izbrannye romansy o Side v perevodakh russkikh pisatelei. Ispanskii narodnyi epos … Izdanie I. Glazunova....

    St Petersburg, Glazunov, 1897.

    First edition of a prose translation into Russian of Cantar de mio Cid, preceded only by a ‘short retelling’ of 1864 by Fyodor Buslaev. The present translation is by the writer and folklorist Aleksandr Chudinov, and is followed by verse translations of three related romances on the reigns of Fernando,...

    £1250

  4. [COLETTE, Sidonie-Gabrielle - WILLY [i.e. Henri Gauthier-Villars]]. KELLER, Fernand, and André LAUTIER.

    Colette (Colette Willy),...

    Paris, Éditions de La Nouvelle Revue Critique, 1923.

    First edition of this critical work on Colette, with Willy’s manuscript annotations throughout. The copy was subsequently in the possession of Willy’s friend Pierre Varenne, who has added a pencilled note to the blank endleaf: ‘Annotations manuscrites de Willy. P.V.’, and a ms. postcard to Varenne...

    £900

  5. CORTÁZAR, Julio.

    Bestiario.

    Buenos Aires, Editorial Sudamericana, [1951]

    First edition, with a signed presentation inscription ‘Para Norma y Jean Luc, con la amistad de Julio, 1955’, on the first (blank) page.

    £1500

  6. [DANIEL, Iulii Markovich] ARZHAK, Nikolai, pseud.

    Govorit Moskva. Povest’ [This is Moscow Speaking. A Story].

    Washington, Filipoff, 1962.

    First edition, printed in Germany, of one of the books which led directly to Daniel’s arrest and trial in 1966.

    £150

  7. D'ANNUNZIO, Gabriele.

    La Figlia di Iorio. Tragedia pastorale.

    Milan, Treves, 1904.

    First edition of this verse drama, widely considered to be D’Annunzio’s finest work for the theatre. A drama of peasant life, it is based on an experience D'Annunzio and his painter friend, Michetti, had had years before in the small Abruzzi village of Tocco Casauria. In the piazza they witnessed...

    £250

  8. DESENFANS, Noel Joseph.

    Les deux Hermites, dédié a mylord Lyttelton …

    A Londres; chez R. Davis … J Ridley … W Owen … 1773.

    First and only edition, uncommon, of an epistolary novel by the future art dealer Noel Joseph Desenfans. The scene is Paris in the 1680s, the theme is Enlightenment, and the author’s aim was to inspire ‘l’horreur de l’oppression, sentiment nécessaire à l’harmonie de la Société, & vertu...

    £650

  9. DEVOTO, Daniel.

    Libro de las fabulas. Ilustraciones de Atilio del Soldato.

    [Buenos Aires], Gulab y Aldabahor, 1943.

    First edition of this collection of Devoto’s poems, in the copy printed especially for him. This is one of five copies printed on Whatman paper, of a total edition of 555: ‘Ejemplar II, Especialmente impreso para Daniel Devoto’.

    £400

  10. DÖBLIN, Alfred.

    Berlin Alexanderplatz. Traduit de l’Allemand par Zoya Motchane. Préface de Pierre Mac Orlan.

    [Paris], Librairie Gallimard, [1933].

    With a punning signed presentation inscription to front endleaf, perhaps addressed to a female fellow-drinker in Paris: ‘Hommage respectueux à Mlle Bouvoirde! Alfred Döblin, Paris, 23.XII.36’. If this is a word-play on ‘bavarde’ (she who talks too much) and ‘buveuse’ (she who drinks too...

    £750

  11. DON-AMINADO, pseud. [i.e. Aminad Petrovich SHPOLIANSKII].

    Neskuchnyi sad [Bare garden].

    Paris, [Imprimerie E. I. R. P.,] 1935.

    First edition, no. 38 of 150 copies, a poetical collection by the émigré poet, satirist and feuilletonist Aminad Shpolyansky. A journalist during the First World War, Shpolyansky emigrated to Paris shortly afterwards. ‘With his poetry and prose … he continued the classical tradition of Russian...

    £150

  12. DUMAS, Alexandre, père.

    Les Trois Mousquetaires.

    Paris, Michel Lévy, 1846.

    Rare early edition of The Three Musketeers, first published in 8 volumes in 1844. This is the third edition published in France, although there were several Brussels printings of the novel in the interim. The half-title of the present edition announces ‘Oeuvres complètes d’Alexandre Dumas’, but...

    £950

  13. DVIGUBSKII, Ivan Alekseevich.

    Opyt estestvennoi istorii vsekh zhivotnykh Rossiiskoi Imperii … S izobrazheniiami zhivotnykh. [Fly-title:]...

    Moscow, University Press, 1831

    First edition, rare, one of a series of six works on the flora and fauna of the Russian Empire, published 1829-1833 under the same general title. The present volume covers molluscs, including cephalopods and gastropods.

    £2000

  14. DZHEMBULAT, E.

    Krai ottsov [Land of the fathers].

    Berlin, Parabola, [1934?].

    First edition: a collection of poems.

    £100

  15. [ERENBBURG, BAL’MONT, BLOK, LERMONTOV, PUSHKIN, TOLSTOY, TURGENEV, et al.]

    Izbrannye stikhi russkikh poetov. Seriia sbornikov...

    [St Petersburg, Stasiulevich,] 1914.

    First edition of a patriotic anthology of poems on the theme of ‘Russia’, organised chronologically from Odoevsky to Kliuev. The theme is religiously adhered to, with contributions from both dead and living authors, including, as well as those listed above, Aksakov, Bely, Soloviev, Fofanov, Sologub,...

    £250

  16. [ERENBURG, GUMILEV, MANDELSHTAM, et al, translators].

    Poety frantsuzskogo vozrozhdeniia, antologiia [Poets of the French Renaissance,...

    Leningrad, Goslitizdat, 1938

    First edition of a rare anthology of translations from Villon, Marot, Ronsard, Du Bellay, and others. Two of the Villon translations are attributed in the index to Mandelshtam, but are in fact by Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev (1886-1921), husband of Anna Akhmatova, who had been arrested and executed for...

    £1750

  17. ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    Ogon’ [Fire].

    [Gomel], “Veka i Dni”, 1919.

    First edition. Although primarily known in the West as a prose writer and journalist (his novel Ottepel’ (The Thaw, 1954) coined the term for the era in the post-Stalin period), Ehrenburg (1891–1967) in fact wrote poetry all his life. The title for this collection, published in the south-eastern...

    £200

  18. ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    Ogon’ [Fire].

    [Gomel], “Veka i Dni”, 1919.

    First edition of this collection of poems. With a long signed presentation inscription in Russian on title-page to the actress Varvara Alekseeva-Meskhieva (b. 1898) in pencil, covering the title-page: ‘To dear Varvara Vladimirovna Alekseeva-Meskhieva, from the heart, Ehrenburg. On the eve of departure...

    £2000

  19. ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    Rasskazy [Tales].

    Moscow, “Ogonek”, 1926.

    A very rare ephemeral publication comprising two short stories by Ehrenburg: ‘Aktsionernoe obshchestvo “Merkiur-de-Riussi”’ and ‘Opytno-pokazatel’naia koloniia No. 62’. Both stories had been published four years earlier in a collection of six stories by Ehrenburg with illustrations by El...

    £350

  20. [EXPRESSIONISM.] LAUTENSACK, Heinrich, Alfred Richard MEYER, and Anselm RUEST (Editors).

    Die Buecherei Maiandros. Eine Zeitschrift...

    Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Paul Knorr Verlag, 1 October 1912 – 1 February 1914.

    A complete run, with all the supplements, of this important Expressionist bi-monthly literary periodical. In addition to contributions by the editors, it includes the first appearance in print of works by Gottfried Benn, Fritz Max Cahén, Albert Ehrenstein, Victor Hadwiger, Max Herrmann-Neisse, Georg...

    £750