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. [ARNIM, Bettina von.]

    Goethe’s Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde. Seinem Denkmal. Erster [-zweiter] Theil. [Theil III: Tagebuch.]

    Berlin, Ferdinand Dümmler, 1835.

    First edition of Bettina von Arnim’s widely-acclaimed first book, a blend of biography and fiction, based primarily on her contact with Goethe and with his mother. Von Arnim was born Bettina Brentano, into a literary family well-known to Goethe (she was the sister of Clemens Brentano, and granddaughter...

    £650

  2. BELISHEVA, S. P., translator.

    ‘An die Fantasie, aus dem russischen.’ Manuscript on paper of an apparently unrecorded poem in...

    Germany, c. 1830

    A contemporary manuscript of an early 19th century Russian poem, translated into German, and signed by the, possibly pseudonymous, translator ‘Fräulein S. P. Belischef’. We have been unable to identify the original poem, in praise of poetic imagination and the heights it can attain, from which the...

    £1750

  3. BRANDT, Johann Daniel und Georg Karl.

    Opfer de Lieb’ und Freundschaft. Dargebracht dem Konigl. Preuss. Kriegsrath Herrn herrn...

    Berlin, Wilhelm Dieterici, [1790].

    A luxurious and unusual production, both printed and bound in silk, a commemorative poem commissioned as a special birthday gift by King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia for his military adviser Friedrich Moritz Helmbrecht (1744-97).

    £400

  4. BÜCHNER, Georg.

    Nachgelassene Schriften.

    Frankfurt am Main, J. D. Sauerländer’s Verlag, 1850.

    First edition of Büchner’s posthumous papers, published by his younger brother Ludwig with a long biographical introduction. It contains the first appearance in book form of the comedy Leonce und Lena and the novella Lenz, and of letters to Büchner’s family and to his fiancée Minna...

    £1350

  5. CELAN, Paul.

    Von Schwelle zu Schwelle. Gedichte.

    Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, [1955].

    First edition of Celan’s second collection of poems. Dedicated to his wife Gisèle, it is Celan’s first book to arise wholly from Paris.

    £400

  6. CELAN, Paul (translator). ESENIN, Sergei.

    Sergej Jessenin. Gedichte. Ausgewählt und übertragen von Paul Celan.

    [Frankfurt], S. Fischer, 1961.

    First edition of these poems by Esenin, selected and translated by Celan.

    £200

  7. [CELAN, Paul (translator).] UNGARETTI, Giuseppe.

    Das verheissene Land. Das Merkbuch des Alten. Deutsch von Paul Celan.

    [Frankfurt am Main], Insel Verlag, [1968].

    First edition: Celan’s translation of Ungaretti’s collections, La terra promessa (1950) and Il taccuino del vecchio (1960).

    £200

  8. CELAN, Paul, translator. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Die Zwölf.

    [Frankfurt,] S. Fischer, 1958.

    First edition of this version of Blok’s The Twelve, translated and with a short introductory note by Celan. ‘Blok got the revolution’s brutal wind and wild music into this poem about a Red Guard marauding in Petrograd’s snowy streets to purge the old bourgeois world. In his translation,...

    £150

  9. [CELAN, Paul, translator]. CHAR, René.

    Poésies. Dichtungen [– II].

    [Frankfurt,] S. Fischer, 1959–68.

    First edition of Celan’s translations of poems by René Char, with a preface by Albert Camus. Celan’s translations, Hypnos. Aufzeichnungen aus dem Maquis (‘Feuillets d’Hypnos’) and Einer harschen Heiterkeit (‘A une sérénité crispée’), appear in the first volume. Other translators who...

    £150

  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. [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

  12. GEORGE, Stefan.

    Die Bücher der Hirten- und Preisgedichte, der Sagen und Sänge, und der hängenden Gärten.

    Berlin, Im Verlage der Blätter für die Kunst, 1895.

    Very rare first edition: an early collection of the symbolist poet Stefan George (The Books of Eclogues and Eulogies, of legends and Songs, and of the Hanging Gardens), published in an edition of only 200 copies by the journal founded by George in 1892, Die Blätter für die Kunst.

    £3000

  13. [GOETHE.] ECKERMANN, Johann Peter.

    Razgovory Gete sobrannye Ekkermannom. Perevod s nemetskago D[mitriia] V[asil’evicha] Averkieva....

    St Petersburg, A. S. Suvorin, 1891.

    Rare first edition in Russian of Eckermann’s famous Gespräche mit Goethe (1836/48); a second edition followed in 1905.

    £1500

  14. GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von.

    Faustus: from the German of Goethe.

    London: Boosey and Sons ... and Rodwell & Martin ... 1821.

    First edition of this expanded translation of Faust (Part I), long mistakenly attributed to George Soane, but now authoritatively credited to Coleridge; issued here with the Retzsch plates which had appeared separately in 1820. ‘The most striking passages and scenes ... have been translated...

    £2250

  15. GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von.

    Die Wahlverwandtschaften. Ein Roman… Erster [-Zweyter] Theil.

    Tübingen, in der Cottaischen Buchhandlung, 1809.

    First edition of the novel which Goethe himself once called ‘mein bestes Buch’. Published when he was sixty, a year after the first complete edition of Faust, Part I, Die Wahlverwandtschaften, or Elective Affinities, has proved to be one of the most enigmatic and variously interpreted of Goethe’s works.

    £2400

  16. GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von, and Carl Friedrich ZELTER.

    Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Zelter in den Jahren 1796 bis 1832. Herausgegeben...

    Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, 1833-34.

    First edition, printed on a superior paper to the regular issue, in an attractive and well-preserved contemporary binding.

    £1800

  17. [GOETHE.] REICHARDT, Johann Friedrich.

    Goethe’s Lieder, Oden, Balladen und Romanzen mit Musik von J. F. Reichardt. Erste [ -...

    Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, [1809-11].

    Very rare first complete edition of Reichardt’s musical settings of Goethe’s poetry, comprising 128 settings of which 39 appear here for the first time.

    £6500

  18. GRASS, Günter.

    Gleisdreieck.

    Darmstadt, Luchterhand, 1960.

    Rare first edition of this volume of poems with Grass’s own drawings.

    £100

  19. GRASS, Günter.

    Katz und Maus. Eine Novelle.

    Neuwied & Berlin, Luchterhand, 1961.

    First edition of the novella Katz und Maus, which was later sub-titled Danizger Trilogie 2 to indicate its relationship to Die Blechtrommel and Hundejahre.

    £150