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. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

    [St Petersburg], “Otechestvo”, 1915.

    First edition of a rare volume of poems, collected and published as a separate book by the patriotic journal Otechestvo.

    £400

  2. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    O liubvi, poezii i gosudarstvennoi sluzhbe. Dialog [On love, poetry and civil service: a dialogue].

    Berlin, “Skify”, [1920].

    First edition: a comic one-act dialogue variously between a Poet in love, a Fool, and a Courtier, written towards the end of Blok’s life.

    £250

  3. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    O sovremennom sostoianii russkogo simvolizma [On the current state of Russian symbolism].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1921.

    First edition, a lecture read by Blok in April 1910 before the Society of Zealots of the Artistic Word, a discussion group formed by Gumilev, Blok and others in 1909.

    £150

  4. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Vozmezdie [Retribution].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1922.

    First edition of Blok’s verse epic, on which he worked from 1910 until his death in 1921. Fragments were published during his lifetime, but the poem did not appear in its entirety until this posthumous edition.

    £350

  5. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Teatr. Balaganchik – Korol’ na ploshchadi – Neznakomka – Deistvo o Teofile – Roza i krest...

    Berlin, “Slovo”, 1922.

    A reprint of these plays, first published together in one volume in 1916.

    £100

  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. [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

  8. BRIUSOV, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Kratkii kurs nauki o stikhe ... Chast’ pervaia. Chastnaia metrika i ritmika russkago iazyka [A...

    Moscow, “Al’tsiona”, 1919.

    Very rare first edition, the only chapter to be published of Briusov’s ‘short course in the study of poetry’. ‘Bryusov’s contributions to Russian literature were many and profound in his roles as poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, literary historian, translator, polemicist, organizer,...

    £120

  9. BRIUSOV, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Mig. Stikhi 1920–1921 g. [The Instant. Verses of 1920–1921].

    Berlin and St Petersburg, Z. I. Grzhebin, 1922.

    First edition. The post-Revolutionary period, spanning the years shortly before his death in 1924, was one of intense poetic activity for Bryusov. Of the work from this period, ‘several poems are devoted to recent history and current events – to the Revolution, the famine years, the death of Lenin....

    £200

  10. 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

  11. BULGAKOV, Mikhail Afanas’evich.

    Dni Turbinykh. Posledenie dni (A. S. Pushkin) [The Days of the Turbins. The Last Days (A. S....

    Moscow, “Iskusstvo”, 1955.

    First complete edition. The Days of the Turbins was Bulgakov’s most important play, and the one on which his lasting reputation as a dramatist depends. It took as its basis his novel The White Guard (written 1921-3), which itself derived from an earlier (destroyed) play ‘The Turbin...

    £1500

  12. BULYGIN, Pavel Petrovich.

    Iantari. Stikhotvoreniia [Ambers. Poems.]

    Riga, M. Didkovska, [1937].

    First and only edition of a posthumous collection by the émigré poet Pavel Petrovich Bulygin (1896-1936). Bulygin left Russia after the Revolution, living at first in France and Germany, where he published a volume of Poems influenced by Blok in 1922. In 1924 he became military instructor to the Ethiopian...

    £300

  13. BUTURLIN, Count Petr Dmitrievich.

    Sonety. Posmertnoe izdanie [Sonnets. Posthumous edition].

    [Kiev, Frontskevich,] 1895.

    First edition: fifty-seven sonnets by the diplomat and poet Count Pyotr Buturlin (1859-1895). This is a gentle and lyrical collection, in a form for which Buturlin was particularly known, and draws on the ancient world and Pan-Slavic mythology for inspiration, as well as his own broad European experience.

    £1200

  14. CASANOVA, Giacomo.

    Kazanova. Memuary [Casanova. Memoirs] …

    St Petersburg, V. I. Gubinsky, 1887.

    Very rare first edition in Russian of Casanova’s famous Histoire de ma vie, published as part of Vladimir Chuiko’s series ‘European Writers and Thinkers’. The anonymous translation, made presumably from the German version published in the 1820s, or the French back-translation which followed...

    £1750

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. CHACHIKOV, Aleksandr Mikhailovich.

    Chai-Khane.

    Moscow, Moscow Guild of Poets, 1927.

    First edition of a collection which highlights the poet’s interest in the Caucasus and other (non-Russian) parts of the Soviet Union, often employing foreign words in the poems. A short vocabulary is appended. Chachikov produced a number of volumes of verse, including translations from Georgian.

    £100

  18. CHTETS-DEKLAMATOR.

    Chtets-deklamator. Khudozhestvennyi sbornik stikhotvorenii razskazov i monologov dlia chteniia v divertismentakh,...

    [Kiev, I. I. Samonenko, 1906.]

    Ivan and Fyodor Samonenko’s hugely popular series (there were at least 12 editions before the Revolution) highlights Russia’s passion for performance at the time. The first volume, containing lyric poetry and humorous verse, had appeared in 1902. A second volume, in 1905, of which this is the second...

    £450

  19. CHUDINOV, Aleksandr.

    Poema i izbrannye romansy o Side v perevodakh russkikh pisatelei. Ispanskii narodnyi epos … Izdanie I. Glazunova....

    St Petersburg, Glazunov, 1897.

    First edition of a prose translation into Russian of Cantar de mio Cid, preceded only by a ‘short retelling’ of 1864 by Fyodor Buslaev. The present translation is by the writer and folklorist Aleksandr Chudinov, and is followed by verse translations of three related romances on the reigns of Fernando,...

    £1250

  20. [DANIEL, Iulii Markovich] ARZHAK, Nikolai, pseud.

    Govorit Moskva. Povest’ [This is Moscow Speaking. A Story].

    Washington, Filipoff, 1962.

    First edition, printed in Germany, of one of the books which led directly to Daniel’s arrest and trial in 1966.

    £150