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. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna.

    Stikhotvoreniia [Poems].

    Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo Khudozhestvennoi Literatury, 1958.

    First edition; the first post-Stalin collection of Akhmatova’s poems to be published. It includes some of the poems from her suppressed collection of 1946, Poems 1909-1945, severely censored for this edition.

    £400

  2. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna.

    Stikhotvoreniia (1909–1960) [Poems (1909–1960)].

    Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo Khudozhestvennoi Literatury, 1961.

    First edition: a severely censored selection of poems, taken both from the early books Evening (1912), Rosary (1914), White Flock (1917), and Plantain (1921), and also from Akhmatova’s later collections Reed and Seventh Book. Some of these latter poems are...

    £250

  3. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna, translator.

    Golosa poetov. Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov v perevode Anny Akhmatovoi [Poets’ voices. Verses...

    Moscow, “Progress”, 1965.

    First edition: translations by Akhmatova of a selection of pieces by Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian, Norwegian, and Indian poets. She published six volumes of translations during her lifetime but, despite her success, she complained that for a poet translating was ‘comparable to devouring...

    £450

  4. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna.

    Podorozhnik [Plantain].

    Petrograd, “Petropolis”, 1921.

    First edition: a collection of 38 poems written between 1917 and 1919, and later included in the larger collection Anno Domini MCMXXI published in early 1922. These were Akhmatova’s first poems about the civil war.

    £600

  5. ALEICHEM, Sholem [pseud. Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich].

    Sholom Aleikhem. Perevod s evreiskago S. Orlonskoi. Za sovetom. Nemets....

    St Petersburg, M. G. Kornfel’d, 1911.

    Very rare first edition in Russian of three humorous stories by the ‘Jewish Mark Twain’, the Ukrainian-born author and playwright Sholem Aleichem, now probably best remembered through the musical based on his stories, Fiddler on the Roof.

    £2000

  6. ALEKSANDROVA, Zinaida and Dmitry GORLOV.

    Мишкины соседи [Little Bear’s neighbours].

    Moscow, VLKSM Izdatelstvo Detskoi Literaturi, 1936.

    First edition. A very nice copy of this collection of verses for young children, composed by one of the most prolific Soviet children’s poets, and illustrated by one of the most prolific of Soviet children’s artists. The tales tell of the lives of a selection of farm and wild animals, including a...

    £350

  7. [ALTOLAGUIRRE, Manuel, translator.] PUSHKIN, Aleksandr.

    Teatro (El Convidado de piedra. Festin durante la Peste). Traducción de...

    Barcelona, Editado por la Asociación de Relaciones con la U.R.S.S. en el primer centenario del poeta, 1938.

    First edition: Altolaguirre’s translation of two of Pushkin’s Little Tragedies, ‘The Stone Guest’ and ‘A Feast During the Plague’ produced for the Russian poet’s centenary; apparently printed on Altolaguirre’s own press.

    £300

  8. ANDREEV, Leonid Nikolaevich.

    Tsar Golod. Predstavlenie v piati kartinakh s prologom [King Hunger. A play in five scenes with a...

    [St Petersburg,] ‘Shipovnik’, 1908.

    First edition of this play by one of the most popular writers in Russia during the first decade of the 20th century: Andreev’s fame ‘was almost on a par with that of Chekhov and Gorky. The fact remains that his talent and topical themes, his literary techniques combining tradition and modernism,...

    £800

  9. APUKHTIN, Aleksei Nikolaevich.

    Stikhotvoreniia [Poems].

    St Petersburg, F. S. Sushchinsky, 1886.

    First edition of Apukhtin’s first collection of poems, including works set to music by, among others, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.

    £750

  10. BABEL’, Isaak Emmanuilovich.

    Stat’i i materialy [Articles and materials].

    Leningrad, “Academia”, 1928

    First edition, from the ‘Academia’ series ‘Masters of Contemporary Literature’, including an autobiographical sketch by Babel, and three biographical or critical essays by Nikolai Stepanov, P. I. Novitsky and G. A. Gukovsky, plus a list of Babel’s works. Other writers in the series included...

    £250

  11. BAL’MONT, Konstantin Dmitrievich, translator.

    Sochineniia Shelli... Vypusk 7-i, Chenchi, tragediia, 1819 [The Works of Shelley......

    Moscow, Mamontov, 1899

    First edition of Balmont’s translation of Shelley’s The Cenci, volume 7 of his verse translation of the complete works of Shelley into Russian. Balmont was a polyglot, having studied some forty languages, but he admired English above all and in addition to Shelley he translated nearly all...

    £900

  12. BAL’MONT, Konstantin Dmitrievich, translator. CALDERÓN, Pedro.

    [Half-title:] Sochineniia Kal’derona perevod s ispanskago [The...

    [Moscow, M. and S. Sabashnikov, 1900-1902-1912].

    First edition of all three volumes of Balmont’s translations from Calderon, comprising: El purgatorio de San Patricia (volume I); La vida es sueño, La devoción de la cruz, El príncipe constante and Amar despues de la muerte (volume II); and El médico de su...

    £1800

  13. BAL’MONT, Konstantin Dmitrievich.

    Iz Mirovoi Poezii [From the world’s poetry].

    [Berlin], “Slovo”, 1921.

    First edition: Bal’mont’s translations into Russian of a selection of poems by Rustaveli, Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Poe, Rossetti, Whitman, Tennyson, Goethe, Heine, Leopardi, Baudelaire, and others.

    £50

  14. 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

  15. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Korolevna i rytsari. Skazki [The king’s daughter and the knights. Fairy tales].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1919.

    First edition. The majority of this collection of poems was written between 1909 and 1915, and can be seen, according to Bely, as ‘a transition from the gloomy despair of The Urn [1909] to the consciousness of The Star [not published until 1922]; awakening from the unconsciousness of...

    £550

  16. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

    Berlin, “Epokha”, 1922.

    First edition of these poems, written between 1904 and 1918.

    £300

  17. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Posle razluki. Berlinskii pesennik [After the parting. A Berlin book of songs].

    St Petersburg & Berlin, “Epokha”, [1922].

    First edition. Published the same year as Glossalolia, Bely’s ‘theory of the origin of the universe based on sound’, this collection is another illustration of the poet’s continued acoustic interests.

    £350

  18. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Tragediia tvorchestva. Dostoevskii i Tolstoi [The Tragedy of Creation. Dostoevsky...

    [Moscow,] “Musaget”, [1911].

    First edition of Bely’s important essay on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Tolstoy’s death at Astapovo station in November 1910 brought Bely to a new appreciation of the author’s genius. Yet along with it came a conviction of the irrelevance of ‘form’ to art and that even Tolstoy’s ‘revolutionary...

    £750

  19. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Zapiski chudaka. Tom pervyi [– vtoroi] [Notes of an eccentric. Vol. 1 – 2].

    Moscow and Berlin, “Helikon”, 1922.

    First edition of Bely’s Notes of an eccentric, a thinly veiled autobiographical memoir or ‘diary in story form’. The book describes a journey which Bely himself undertook in 1916, from Dornach in Switzerland, through France, England, Norway and Sweden, to Russia, where the narrator has been...

    £550

  20. [BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev], et al].

    Kak my pishem [How we write].

    Leningrad, Izdatel’stvo pisatelei, [1930].

    First edition: sketches on the art of writing, published as an aid to young writers, with contributions from Bely, Gorky, Zamyatin, Zoshchenko, Kaverin, Lavrenev, Libedinsky, Nikitin, Pilnyak, Slonimsky, Tikhonov, Aleksei Tolstoy, Tynyanov, Fedin, Olga Forsh, Chapygin, Shishkov, and Shklovsky.

    £450