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. PARADIN, Guillaume.

    Gulielmi Paradini Anchemani Epigrammata ...

    Lyons, Ant. Gryphius, 1581.

    First and only edition of this French historian’s poetry including verses about or addressed to Ronsard, Pontus de Tyard, Claude Rouillet, and the Lyons printers Sébastien and Antoine Gryphe, and Jean de Tournes.

    £950

  2. [BOUCHER, Jean].

    Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus,...

    [Paris?], 1595.

    First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against...

    £600

  3. VILLEHARDOUIN, Geoffroy de (Charles du Fresne DU CANGE, editor).

    Histoire de l’empire de Constantinople sous les empereurs françois,...

    Paris, Imprimerie Royale, 1657.

    First collected edition, comprising the third edition of Villehardouin’s chronicle, edited and translated by Du Cange, and the first edition of Du Cange’s history of the Latin empire in the Levant. The original and modern French versions of Villehardouin’s chronicle are printed on opposite pages....

    £1400

  4. RABELAIS, François.

    The Works … or the Lives, heroic Deeds and Sayings of Gargantua and Pantagruel. Done out of French by sir...

    London, Printed for Richard Baldwin … 1694.

    First editions of Books 3 and 4, second (or third) edition of Books 1 and 2, evidently issued together, wanting Book 5 (also 1694, separately paginated). Urquhart’s translation (of Books 1-3), completed by Motteux, has been called ‘the finest translation ever made from one language into another’...

    £1500

  5. VOLTAIRE, François Marie Arouet de.

    Le Brutus de Monsieur de Voltaire, avec un Discours sur la Tragédie.

    Paris, J. F. Josse, 1731.

    First edition. Voltaire wrote the first act of his play Brutus in English during his 1726-29 visit to England while staying at Wandsworth with Fawkener, and finished the play in French in Paris. It was first performed in Paris on 11 December 1730 when its portrayal of tension between patriotism and love...

    £850

  6. MARIVAUX, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de.

    Le Paysan parvenu: or, the fortunate Peasant. Being Memoirs of the Life of Mr. ––––....

    London: Printed for John Brindley … Charles Corbett … and Richard Wellington … 1735

    First edition in English, originally published in French in the Hague in 1734-5. This is the second of the two important novels by Marivaux, which broke new ground in the art of writing fiction. ‘Where La Vie de Marianne belongs to the moralizing and sentimental romance tradition, Le Paysan...

    £650

  7. 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

  8. [LOQUET, Marie-Françoise].

    Voyage de Sophie et d’Eulalie, au Palais du vrai bonheur; ouvrage pour servir de guide dans les voies...

    Paris, Charles-Pierre Berton, 1781.

    First edition of this rare utopian voyage written by a woman for a readership of women.

    £1500

  9. [SOUZA, Adélaïde de].

    Charles et Marie. Par l’auteur d’Adèle de Senange.

    Paris, Maradan, 1802.

    First edition of this novel describing British society at the beginning of the 19th century, written in the form of an aristocratic young Englishman’s diary.

    £400

  10. MAINE DE BIRAN. [MARIE FRANÇOIS PIERRE GONTHIER DE BIRAN.]

    Influence de l’Habitude sur la Faculté de Penser.

    Paris, Henrichs, 1803.

    First edition of Maine de Biran’s first major work, in which he draws a distinction between what he calls passive habits, i.e. sensations and impressions which become dulled with repetition, and active habits, i.e. those which are conscious, and willed. “The effect of this, which was borne out by...

    £2000

  11. [KRÜDENER, Barbara Juliane de Vietinghoff, Baronne de.]

    Valérie, ou Lettres de Gustave de Linar à Ernest de G… Tome premier...

    Paris, Henrichs, 1804.

    Rare first edition of Valérie, the most famous novel by the Russian mystic and novelist Madame de Krüdener (1766–1824), who for a time exerted an influence over Tsar Alexander I. The novel created a literary sensation, and became one of the classic novels of the pre-Romantic movement in France, receiving...

    £800

  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. HUGO, Victor.

    Odes et Poésies diverses.

    Paris, Pélicier, 1822.

    First edition: Hugo's first book, printed in an edition of 500 copies. It earned him a royal pension of 1000 francs a year, enabling him to marry his childhood sweetheart Adèle Foucher.

    £1800

  14. 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

  15. HUGO, Victor.

    Liricheskiia stikhotvoreniia. Viktora Giugo. Perevel s Frantsuzskago M. Sorokin [Lyric poetry. By Victor Hugo. Translated...

    St Petersburg, I. Benken, 1834.

    First edition: the first appearance of Hugo’s poetry in Russian. There had been a few other Russian translations of Hugo earlier in the 1830s, of both his fiction (Le dernier jour d’un condamné; Han d’Islande) and his plays (Hernani; Angelo), but it was with the present verse collection that Hugo...

    £800

  16. GOSZCZYNSKI, Seweryn and Antoni MALCZEWSKI.

    Les Ukraïniennes … traduites par Clémence Robert.

    Paris. J. A. Merklein … 1835.

    First edition in French of two key texts of Polish Romanticism, Zamek Kaniowski (1828) [The Castle of Koniow] by Seweryn Goszczynski (1801-1876), and Maria (1825) by Antoni Malczewski (1793-1826).

    £650

  17. AZAÏS, Gabriel, and Charles LABOR.

    Illustrated manuscript volume of poetry, comprising ‘Vingt-six janvier 1836’ by Azaïs,...

    Béziers, c. 1836?

    An attractive presentation volume, with poems by Azaïs (1805-1888) and Labor (1813-1900), and fine vignette sketches. Azaïs, later author of Les Troubadours de Béziers (1869) was a member of the Félibrige, the literary organization founded by Frédéric Mistral to promote Occitan language...

    £1750

  18. SAND, George, pseud. [i.e. Aurore DUPIN, baronne Dudevant].

    Kvintiliia. Sochinenie Zhorzh-Sanda. Perevod s frantsuzskago [Quintilia....

    St Petersburg, N. Grech, 1837.

    First edition in Russian of Le secrétaire intime (1834), an early appearance in Russian for the French novelist.

    £1800

  19. MESHCHERSKII, Elim Petrovich.

    Les roses noires par le prince Élim Mestscherskï.

    Paris, Amyot, 1845.

    First edition of this posthumous collection, which includes a short dramatisation of Pushkin’s The Gypsies, ‘un charmant poëme d’Alexandre Pouschkinn, le grand écrivain que pleure la Russie’.

    £600

  20. 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