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. FRICKER, Bernard.

    Autograph working manuscript of a collection of essays and pensées entitled ‘La Marche du Jeu’.

    c. 1946-52.

    An extraordinary, unique production, with seven long, unpublished observational essays by Fricker on the post-war Parisian art world, including long discussions of the work of Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, and Blaise Cendrars; assembled in hand-decorated chemises and a folding box designed by his...

    £6500

  2. BAUDELAIRE, Charles.

    Les Epaves… avec un eau-forte frontispiece de Félicien Rops.

    Amsterdam, A L’Enseigne du Coq [Brussels, Poulet-Malassis], 1866.

    Rare first edition of Baudelaire’s last book, a collection of poems published in Brussels, containing the 6 banned poems from Fleurs du mal - their first appearance since the 1857 first edition - and 17 new poems which had previously appeared in journals and reviews.

    £6000

  3. 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

  4. [CANAPE and CORRIEZ]. RÉGNIER, Henri de.

    La Sandale Ailée.

    Paris, Société des amis des livres modernes, 1914.

    Limited edition, Comte Foy’s copy, number 35 of 125 copies produced for the members of the Société of this compendium of free verse by the Mallarmé-circle symbolist poet Henri de Régnier, attractively illustrated with reproductions of watercolours by noted French artist Antoine Calbet.

    £3500

  5. BECQUE, Henry.

    Les Corbeaux, pièce en quatre actes. Paris, Tresse, [1882.]
    [Bound with:]
    ____________. Les Corbeaux …...

    [Paris, 1882.]

    First and second editions of Becque’s innovative realist drama, inscribed by the author on the first half-title to ‘mon cher [Jules-Charles] Truffier’, with authorial marks and annotations on 33 pages in the second edition showing changes made for performance.

    £3000

  6. [AUSSOURD, René] DUMAS, Alexandre.

    Les Trois Mousquetaires.

    Paris, Calmann Levy, 1894.

    Edition de grand luxe, number 39, one of 250 copies on Chine paper, one of a 100 copies with drawings with parts of the engravings.

    £3000

  7. ROSTAND, Edmond.

    Chantecler. Pièce en quatre actes, en vers.

    Paris, Librairie Charpentier et Fasquelle, 1910.

    First edition, one of four copies printed on green paper, this copy printed specially for the publisher Eugène Fasquelle, and so designated on the verso of the half-title. The total edition numbered 1000 copies, with a few additional copies printed on yellow, blue, and green paper.

    £2800

  8. 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

  9. PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich. DUPONT, H. (translator).

    Oeuvres choisies... traduites pour la première fois en français... Tome...

    St Petersburg, chez Fd. Bellizard et Cie; Paris, Au comptoir des Imprimeurs-unis, 1847.

    First collected edition of Pushkin in French, preceded in French translation only by some individual poems and stories, and a translation of The Queen of Spades in 1843. This is one of the earliest major collections of Pushkin to appear outside Russia.

    £2500

  10. MALRAUX, André.

    L’Espoir. Roman.

    Paris, Gallimard, [1937].

    First edition, one of 95 copies printed on pur fil. Malraux’s epic novel drawing on his experiences of the Spanish Civil War, which he wrote and published while the war was still in progress, partly in order to raise funds for the Republican side.

    £2250

  11. 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

  12. HOFMANNSTHAL, Hugo von.

    Studie über die Entwickelung des Dichters Victor Hugo… Der philosophischen Facultät der Universität...

    Vienna, Verlag von Dr Hugo von Hofmannsthal, 1901.

    Rare first edition of Hofmannsthal’s Habilitationsschrift from Vienna University, on the poetry of Victor Hugo.

    £1800

  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. 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

  15. 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

  16. [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

  17. MUSSET, Alfred de.

    Rolla, poema … perevod N. P. Grekova [Rolla, a poem … translated by N. P. Grekov].

    Moscow, F. B. Miller, 1864.

    First edition in Russian of Musset’s Rolla (1833), a poetic reinterpretation of the Don Juan myth, translated by the poet Nikolai Porfir’evich Grekov (1810-1866). A bankrupt playboy decides to commit suicide, but first returns to a young prostitute to reflect on his wasted life. It is only as he...

    £1750

  18. [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

  19. RIMBAUD, Arthur [and Paul VERLAINE].

    Les Stupra. Sonnets.

    Paris, Imprimerie particulière [Albert Messein], 1871 [i.e. 1923].

    First edition, one of only 175 copies. Two of these three homoerotic sonnets (stupra = defilements) are printed here for the first time. The final one, known as the ‘Sonnet du trou du cul’, is infamous. Written together with Verlaine (he wrote the two quatrains, Rimbaud the sestet), it is one of...

    £1500

  20. 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