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. RUSSIAN SATIRICAL MAGAZINES
    FROM THE 1905 REVOLUTION

    The boom years of 1890s Russia came to an abrupt halt at the turn of the century when an economic slump left many of the new urban working class jobless and led to unrest in the countryside. The Tsar’s popularity took another knock when hopes of a quick military victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904)...

    £18000

  2. PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich.

    Sochineniia A. S. Pushkina. Tom pervyi [- shestoi + Prilozheniia]… Izdanie Ia. A. Isakova [The...

    St Petersburg, Eduard Prats, 1859-60.

    Third collected edition of the works of Pushkin, complete with the supplement volume compiled by Grigorii Gennadi; this is the first edition to be edited by Isakov. Very rare.

    £8000

  3. [ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY]. NATHANAEL, Abbot, compiler.

    Kniga o vere edinoi istinnoi pravoslavnoi [Book of the one true Orthodox...

    Moscow, Stefan Boniface, 1648.

    First edition, very rare, of a book of Orthodox liturgy and theology. Beginning with prayers, this is a compilation of writings on all aspects of the Orthodox tradition, including a variety of polemical treatises against heretics, Catholics, and traitors to the Orthodox faith, some of which has been...

    £7500

  4. 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

  5. PISEMSKII, Aleksei Feofilaktovich.

    Povesti i razskazy … v trekh chastiakh [Stories and tales … in three parts] …

    Moscow, Stepanova, 1853.

    Very rare first collected edition of the works of Pisemsky, including the first appearance in book form of many of his acclaimed early stories (Tiufiak (The Muff, translated into English as The Simpleton), Pitershchik (The Petersburger), Mr Batmanov, Brak po strasti (Marriage by Passion), and Komik (The...

    £4800

  6. TURGENEV, Ivan Sergeevich.

    Polnoe sobranie sochinenii … Posmertnoe izdanie [The Complete collected works … Posthumous edition].

    St Petersburg, Glazunov, 1883.

    First complete collected edition of Turgenev, the author’s last literary undertaking.

    £4500

  7. BRODSKII, Iosif Aleksandrovich.

    Novye stansy k Avguste. Stikhi k M. B., 1962-1982 [New stanzas to Augusta. Poems to M. B., 1962-1982]....

    [Soviet Union, c. 1983].

    A rare samizdat of Brodsky’s poems, prepared in typescript for clandestine circulation in the Soviet Union at a time when his works could not be published or circulated there. The typescript comprises two collections: New stanzas to Augusta, dedicated to Marina Basmanova, with whom Brodsky had...

    £3500

  8. 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

  9. OLESHA, Iurii Karlovich.

    Zavist’. Roman, s risunkami Natana Al’tman [Envy. A novel, with drawings by Nathan Altman].

    Moscow-Leningrad, “Zemlia Fabrika, [1928].

    First edition of this famous short satirical novel which ‘catapulted Olesha into the first rank of Soviet writers’ (Terras). It was fêted by both Soviet and émigré critics and established the young writer’s reputation almost overnight. Olesha later adapted it as a play, Zagovor chuvstv (The...

    £3000

  10. PISEMSKII, Aleksei Feofilaktovich.

    Ocherki iz krest’ianskago byta [Sketches from Peasant Life].

    St Petersburg, [A. Dmitriev,] 1856.

    First edition: ‘one of Pisemsky’s most universally acclaimed books’ (Moser, p. 54) and the one which cemented his reputation as ‘a chronicler of the life of the common people’ (Terras).

    £3000

  11. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Khoziain i rabotnik. Povest’ [Master and Man. A Story].

    St Petersburg, V. S. Balashev and Co., 10 March 1895.

    One of the earliest printings of one of Tolstoy’s greatest late short stories, revolving around a Damascene moment in the life of an avaricious landowner.

    £3000

  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. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Zhivoi trup. Drama v 6 deistviiakh i 12 kartinakh [A Living Corpse. A drama in 6 acts and 12 scenes].

    Moscow, A. Ia. Petrov, [1911].

    One of the earliest printings of Tolstoy’s Living Corpse, one of a number of editions in 1911, the year it was first staged, posthumously, at the Moscow Arts Theatre.

    £2750

  14. TURGENEV, Ivan Sergeevich.

    Sochineniia… (1844-1874.) Izdanie brat’ev Salaevykh. Chast’ pervaia [-vos’maia] [Works… (1844-1874)....

    Moscow, Grachev, 1874

    A handsome set of this rare lifetime edition of Turgenev’s works, the fourth to be published by the Moscow booksellers Ivan and Fyodor Salaev. This edition includes for the first time two of Turgenev’s later prose works, Spring Torrents (1873) and the autobiographical story Punin and Baburin (1874).

    £2750

  15. IVANOV, Vsevolod Viacheslavovich, and Viktor Borisovich SHKLOVSKII.

    Iprit. Roman. Vypusk I [– IX] [Mustard Gas. A novel. Parts...

    Moscow, Gosizdat, [1925].

    First edition, a complete set of a rare satirical science fiction novel, issued serially. Ivanov (1895–1963) and Shklovsky (1893–1984) both had connections to the literary group the Serapion Brothers, who upheld the creed that art must be independent of political ideology. Iprit is a parody of Soviet...

    £2500

  16. LESKOV, Nikolai Semenovich.

    Soboriane. Stargorodskaia khronika [Cathedral Folk. Chronicle of Stargorod].

    Moscow, University Press, March - July 1872.

    The first appearance in print of all five parts of Leskov’s best known novel (or ‘chronicle’ as he preferred to call it), Cathedral Folk, published in instalments, between March and July 1872, in Russkii Vestnik. It first appeared in book form later the same year. In 1867 Leskov had begun publishing...

    £2500

  17. 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

  18. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Posmertnyia khudozhestvennyia proizvedeniia… Pod redaktsiei V. Chertkova. Tom I [-III] [Posthumous...

    Moscow, A. L. Tolstoy, 1911-12.

    First edition of Tolstoy’s posthumous works, including the first appearance of many important pieces: ‘Hadji Murad, as well as The Memoirs of a Madman and The Devil, was published only in 1911, in the collected edition of Tolstoy’s posthumous works. This collection also includes several plays and...

    £2500

  19. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    I. Pis’mo k Kitaitsu. (Oktabria 1906 g.) II. Kitaiskaia mudrost’. Mysli kitaiskikh myslitelei, sobrannyia...

    Moscow, “Posrednika”, 1907.

    First edition, very rare, of Tolstoy’s open letter to the Malaysian-Chinese man of letters Gu Hongming, who had sent several of his works to Tolstoy, including Papers from a Viceroy’s Yamen (1905). In Tolstoy’s view China (like Russia, Persia and Turkey) was then in transition from despotism towards...

    £2250

  20. DVIGUBSKII, Ivan Alekseevich.

    Opyt estestvennoi istorii vsekh zhivotnykh Rossiiskoi Imperii … S izobrazheniiami zhivotnykh. [Fly-title:]...

    Moscow, University Press, 1831

    First edition, rare, one of a series of six works on the flora and fauna of the Russian Empire, published 1829-1833 under the same general title. The present volume covers molluscs, including cephalopods and gastropods.

    £2000