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. LEBEDEV, V. P.

    175 godovshchina Pervago Kadetskago korpusa. 17 fevralia 1907 g. [175th Anniversary of the First Corps of Cadets,...

    [St Petersburg,] Press of the First Corps of Cadets, 1906.

    Only edition of this collection of poems commemorating the 175th anniversary of the First Corps of Cadets, set up under Anna Ivanovna. Each of the ten ‘scenes in verse’ is narrated by a cadet, once for each Tsar under which the Corps has served.

    £180

  2. SOKOLOV, Ippolit Vasilevich, et al.

    A.

    [Moscow, 1921.]

    First edition: four short poems from the leading Soviet film critic Ippolit Sokolov, together with lyric pieces by two minor writers, Boris Pereleshin and Aleksandr Rakitnikov.

    £150

  3. KARAMZIN, Nikolai Mikhailovich.

    Aglaja. Romantische und historische Erzählungen. Nach dem Russischen des Karamzin herausgegeben...

    Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1819.

    First appearance of a collection of eight prose pieces by Karamzin (1766–1826) in German translation. Although the work takes the title of the first Russian literary almanac, Aglaia, published by Karamzin in two volumes, 1794–5, it is actually a selection of pieces by Karamzin taken both from Aglaia...

    £750

  4. KUSIKOV, Aleksandr Borisovich, pseud. [i.e. Boris Kusikian].

    Al’-barrak. Poemy.

    Berlin, “Skify”, 1922.

    First edition, containing five poems on Islamic themes: ‘Al-Barrak’, ‘Al-Kadr’, ‘Julfikar’, ‘Iskandar Namah’ (1921), and ‘Ko-gospel-ran’.

    £150

  5. [PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich.]

    Al’bom Pushkinskoi Iubileinoi Vystavki v Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk v S. Peterburg, Mai 1899...

    Moscow, K. A. Fisher, 1899.

    The catalogue of an exhibition to celebrate the centenary of Pushkin’s birth, held at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg. The album is edited by L. N. Maikov and B. L. Modzalevsky, and contains 250 photographic reproductions of portraits, drawings, engravings, sculpture, manuscripts, etc.

    £800

  6. [BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.] ASHUKIN, Nikolai Sergeevich.

    Aleksandr Blok. Sinkhronisticheskie tablitsy zhizni i tvorchestva...

    Moscow, “Novaia Moskva”, 1923.

    First edition: a chronology of Blok’s life and a bibliography of his works, together with a list of secondary literature.

    £300

  7. KUZMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich.

    Aleksandriiskiia pesni [Alexandrian songs].

    St Petersburg, “Prometei”, [1921].

    First separate edition of Kuzmin’s Alexandrian Songs, originally published as part of his first collection, Nets, in 1908. ‘Kuzmin’s fame as a poet rests largely with his cycle “Alexandrian Songs” (1905–1908). These are love poems with different personas, male and female, mostly homoerotic,...

    £400

  8. [BLOK, KUZMIN, Aleksei TOLSTOI, et al.]

    Al’manakh dlia vsekh. Kniga vtoraia [Almanac for all. Second book].

    St Petersburg, “Novyi zhurnal dlia vsekh”, 1911.

    First edition, rare, the second of two annual literary almanacs with this title, with poems by Blok, Gorodetsky and Kuzmin, and short fiction by Chulkov, Gusev, Count Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoy and Ivan Poroshin.

    £200

  9. SOLZHENITSYN, Aleksandr Isaevich.

    Amerikanskiie rechi [American speeches].

    Paris, YMCA, 1975

    First edition, comprising 3 speeches delivered by Solzhenitsyn to the American people in 1975.

    £150

  10. 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

  11. [GOGOL’, Nikolai Vasil’evich, Mikhail Iurievich LERMONTOV, and Count Vladimir Aleksandrovich SOLLOGUB].

    Au bord de la Néva....

    Paris, Michel Lévy, 1856.

    Rare first edition of this collection (reprinted 1865), containing the first appearance in French of Gogol’s famous story, Shinel’ (The Overcoat, 1842).

    £450

  12. RAFALOVICH, Sergei L’vovich.

    Avgust. Stikhotvoreniia [August. Poems].

    Berlin, L. D. Frenkel, 1924.

    First edition: a rare collection from the prolific if little-known poet and theatre critic. It includes one piece on the death of Blok. Rafalovich lived in Paris from 1909, but made annual trips to Russia. An opponent of futurism, he collaborated on numerous works with the émigré community.

    £100

  13. [GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov] and Nikolai Stepanovich GUMILEV.]

    Ballady o Robin Gude [Ballads of...

    St Petersburg, “Vsemirnaia Literatura”, 1919.

    First edition: a collection of translations of twelve popular songs featuring Robin Hood, published in the early Soviet series Vsemirnaia Literaura (‘Worldwide Literature’), edited by Gumilev and with a 10 pp. introduction by Gorky. After discussing the paradox of the ‘good’ robber in literature...

    £900

  14. OSTROVSKII, Aleksandr Nikolaevich.

    Bednaia Nevesta, komediia v piati deistviiakh [The poor bride, a comedy in five acts].

    Moscow, Stepanova, 1852

    First edition. A rare early play by one of the leading Russian playwrights of the 19th century. Ostrovsky’s second play, The Poor Bride, was first published in the literary magazine The Muscovite (edited by Mikhail Pogodin) earlier in 1852. Initially banned from production by the censor, it was one...

    £6500

  15. LEONOV, Leonid Maksimovich.

    Begstvo Mistera Mak-Kinli. Kinopovest’ [Mr MacKinley’s Flight. A Screen-play].

    Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1963.

    First edition: Leonov’s screen-play satirising Western capitalist society, used by Mikhail Shveister in 1975 for his film of the same name.

    £100

  16. SALTYKOV-SHCHEDRIN, Mikhail Evgrafovich.

    Blagonamerennyia rechi. Tom I [– II] [Well-meaning speeches. Volume I [–II]].

    St Petersburg, A. A. Kraevsky, 1876.

    First edition: a volume of social and political satires by the greatest satirist of nineteenth-century Russia. The title is ambiguous – the word ‘well-meaning’ was widely used by the administration to mean ‘loyal’, i.e. ‘politically reliable’.

    £1800

  17. KUZMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich, translator. BOCCACCIO.

    Bokkachch’o. Fiametta. Per. M. Kuzmina [Boccaccio. Fiammetta. Translated...

    St Petersburg, M. G. Kornfel’d, 1913.

    Extremely rare first edition of Kuzmin’s translation of Boccaccio’s Fiammetta. ‘The Fiammetta is the first prose romance in which the heroine is made the narrator, and in which the vicissitudes of sentiment are the matter of the story... Boccaccio is the inventor of one of the principal types of...

    £1200

  18. MARKISH, Peretz Davidovich.

    Brat’ia [Brothers].

    Moscow, Goslitizdat, 1935.

    First edition in Russian of Markish’s epic poem Brider (Brothers, Kiev, 1929), an optimistic work glorifying the Communist regime. The editor is Grigory Petnikov, and the translators D. Brodsky, V. Bugaevsky, S. Lipkin, Maria Petrova, A. Tarkovsky, N. Ushakov, A. Shteinberg and A. Shpirt.

    £1200

  19. PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich.

    Bumagi … Vypusk pervyi [all published] [Papers … First Part].

    Moscow, University Press (M. Katkov), 1881.

    First edition, edited by P. I. Bartenev. ‘In the present book are collected the papers of Pushkin preserved by his son Aleksandr Aleksandrovich and now given by him to the Moscow Rumiantsovskii Museum. Added to those are the letters of Pushkin to Goncharova and the marginalia in a new edition of his...

    £1200