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. SCHUBERT, Franz, composer.

    A fine contemporary volume of ten works containing 18 Lieder including his most famous early songs ‘Erlkönig’...

    Vienna, 1821-1833

    A rare collection of Schubert Lieder in a contemporary binding, apparently as retailed by the Czech music publisher Berra, including three first editions.

    £7500

  2. [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

  3. KAFKA, Franz.

    In der Strafkolonie.

    Leipzig, Kurt Wolff, 1919.

    First edition, one of 1000 copies printed, of Kafka’s story In the Penal Colony.

    £5500

  4. KAFKA, Franz.

    In der Strafkolonie.

    Leipzig, Kurt Wolff, 1919.

    First edition, one of 1000 copies printed, of Kafka’s story In the Penal Colony.

    £5500

  5. 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

  6. KHARMS, Daniil Ivanovich, translator. BUSCH, Wilhelm.

    Plikh i Pliukh [Plisch und Plum].

    Moscow, Detizdat, 1937.

    First edition in book form, very rare, of Daniil Kharms’s Russian free verse translation of the children’s story by Wilhelm Busch about two mischievous dogs, second only in fame to his Max und Moritz. The translation had been first published in the children’s magazine Chizh in 1936 (nos. 8-12),...

    £3000

  7. SCHILLER, Friedrich.

    Gedichte. Erster [-Zweyter] Theil.

    Leipzig, Siegfried Lebrecht Crusius, 1800-1803.

    First authorised edition of Schiller’s poems, following an unauthorised edition of volume 1 only which appeared earlier in 1800. Previously the poems had appeared only in almanacs and periodicals. This edition contains the first appearance in print of 10 poems. An attractive copy in contemporary red...

    £2750

  8. RILKE, Rainer Maria.

    Die Sonette an Orpheus. Geschrieben als ein Grab-Mal für Wera Ouckama Knoop.

    Leipzig, Insel Verlag, 1923.

    First edition, one of 300 numbered copies of the Vorzugsausgabe, printed on thick paper, in the original half morocco binding variant.

    £2500

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. WALSER, Robert.

    Der Gehülfe. Roman …

    Berlin, Bruno Cassirer, [1908].

    First edition, rare: the second of Robert Walser’s three novels (‘for my money his best book’, Michael Hofmann), which charts the decline of a family. Hermann Hesse wrote: ‘Although it is full of the atmosphere of the beginning of the century, this tale immediately wins us over with the timeless...

    £2250

  12. KAFKA, Franz.

    Das Urteil [in Arkadia. Ein Jahrbuch für Dichtkunst. ed. Max Brod.]

    Leipzig, Kurt Wolff Verlag, 1913.

    First edition of this anthology, which includes the first appearance in print of Kafka’s story Das Urteil. The text differs in numerous small ways from that of the first book edition published in 1916 (see next item). Other authors represented in the collection, which was edited by Max Brod, include...

    £2000

  13. MÜLLER, Wilhelm.

    MÜLLER, Wilhelm. Lieder der Griechen. 1821. Dessau, Christian Georg Ackermann, [1821]. [with:]

    MÜLLER,...

    Dessau and Leipzig, c.1821-25.

    First edition of the complete Lieder der Griechen, together with the second enlarged edition of Part I. Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827) is better known today as the author of Die schöne Müllerin (1821) and Die Winterreise (1824), both set to music by Schubert, but his Songs of the Greeks, inspired by his...

    £2000

  14. PASTERNAK, Boris Leonidovich, translator.

    GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von. Tainy [Die Geheimnisse or The Mysteries].

    Moscow, Izdatel’stvo Sovremennik, 1922.

    First and only edition, very rare, of Pasternak’s early translation of Goethe’s epic fragment Die Geheimnisse (The Mysteries); with a long introductory note by Professor Grigorii Rachinskii.

    £2000

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. [SCHILLER, Friedrich von.]

    Friedrich von Schiller’s Bibliothek. Mit einem Facsimile aus seinem eigenhändigen Bücherverzeichnisse....

    Berlin, J. A. Stargardt, [1859].

    One of a very few surviving copies of this booksellers’ catalogue of part of Schiller’s library. The engraved folding plate is a facsimile of a manuscript list of the books in Schiller’s hand.

    £1750

  19. [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