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. DON-AMINADO, pseud. [i.e. Aminad Petrovich SHPOLIANSKII].

    Neskuchnyi sad [Bare garden].

    Paris, [Imprimerie E. I. R. P.,] 1935.

    First edition, no. 38 of 150 copies, a poetical collection by the émigré poet, satirist and feuilletonist Aminad Shpolyansky. A journalist during the First World War, Shpolyansky emigrated to Paris shortly afterwards. ‘With his poetry and prose … he continued the classical tradition of Russian...

    £150

  2. 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

  3. DZHEMBULAT, E.

    Krai ottsov [Land of the fathers].

    Berlin, Parabola, [1934?].

    First edition: a collection of poems.

    £100

  4. [ERENBBURG, BAL’MONT, BLOK, LERMONTOV, PUSHKIN, TOLSTOY, TURGENEV, et al.]

    Izbrannye stikhi russkikh poetov. Seriia sbornikov...

    [St Petersburg, Stasiulevich,] 1914.

    First edition of a patriotic anthology of poems on the theme of ‘Russia’, organised chronologically from Odoevsky to Kliuev. The theme is religiously adhered to, with contributions from both dead and living authors, including, as well as those listed above, Aksakov, Bely, Soloviev, Fofanov, Sologub,...

    £250

  5. [ERENBURG, GUMILEV, MANDELSHTAM, et al, translators].

    Poety frantsuzskogo vozrozhdeniia, antologiia [Poets of the French Renaissance,...

    Leningrad, Goslitizdat, 1938

    First edition of a rare anthology of translations from Villon, Marot, Ronsard, Du Bellay, and others. Two of the Villon translations are attributed in the index to Mandelshtam, but are in fact by Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev (1886-1921), husband of Anna Akhmatova, who had been arrested and executed for...

    £1750

  6. ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    Ogon’ [Fire].

    [Gomel], “Veka i Dni”, 1919.

    First edition. Although primarily known in the West as a prose writer and journalist (his novel Ottepel’ (The Thaw, 1954) coined the term for the era in the post-Stalin period), Ehrenburg (1891–1967) in fact wrote poetry all his life. The title for this collection, published in the south-eastern...

    £200

  7. ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    Ogon’ [Fire].

    [Gomel], “Veka i Dni”, 1919.

    First edition of this collection of poems. With a long signed presentation inscription in Russian on title-page to the actress Varvara Alekseeva-Meskhieva (b. 1898) in pencil, covering the title-page: ‘To dear Varvara Vladimirovna Alekseeva-Meskhieva, from the heart, Ehrenburg. On the eve of departure...

    £2000

  8. ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    Rasskazy [Tales].

    Moscow, “Ogonek”, 1926.

    A very rare ephemeral publication comprising two short stories by Ehrenburg: ‘Aktsionernoe obshchestvo “Merkiur-de-Riussi”’ and ‘Opytno-pokazatel’naia koloniia No. 62’. Both stories had been published four years earlier in a collection of six stories by Ehrenburg with illustrations by El...

    £350

  9. FEDIN, Konstantin Aleksandrovich.

    Sad [The Orchard].

    Petrograd, 1922.

    Rare first edition of Konstantin Fedin’s first book, a short story which was awarded first prize by the House of Writers. An old gardener watches sadly as the orchard he cared for and the manor house of the old owners are turned over to a Soviet orphanage and fall into neglect. In the end the gardener...

    £1100

  10. FEDIN, Konstantin Aleksandrovich.

    Goroda i gody. Roman [Cities and years. A novel].

    Leningrad, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo, 1924.

    First edition of Fedin’s autobiographical first novel, Cities and Years, an intense exploration of war and its aftermath, and the role of the intelligentsia in the inevitable revolution looming over society. The cities of the title are Berlin and Moscow, and the years those of the First World War and...

    £1200

  11. GART DER GESUNDHEIT.

    Mainz, Peter Schoeffer, 28 March 1485.

    First edition. The Mainz Gart der Gesundheit marks the beginning of scientific naturalism in botanical book illustration, representing a conspicuous departure from the iconographic conventions of earlier incunable herbals. It is the first book published by Schoeffer in a vernacular language, and for...

    £750

  12. GLOBA, Andrei Pavlovich.

    Korabli izdaleka [Ships from Afar].

    Moscow & Petrograd, 1922.

    First edition, an early collection by Globa (1888–1964), a popular Soviet writer whose poetry became well known as song lyrics.

    £100

  13. [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

  14. GOGOL’, Nikolai Vasil’evich.

    Tarass Boulba… traduit du russe par Louis Viardot.

    Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1853.

    First separate appearance of Gogol’s story in the French translation by Louis Viardot, published in the series ‘Bibliothèque des chemins de fer’. The translation had previously appeared in 1845 in the collection ‘Nouvelles russes’, where Turgenev is named as co-translator.

    £250

  15. [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

  16. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    [Cover title:] Byvshie liudi [Former people, translated into English...

    St. Petersburg, “Znanie”, 1906.

    First edition in book form, very rare, of a powerful, darkly comic fable. It had first appeared over two issues of Novoe Slovo in October-November 1897; here it is reissued as no. 18 in a series of 32 Gorky stories issued by his publishing concern ‘Znanie’ while he was in exile after the 1905 Revolution.

    £1500

  17. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    Zhaloby [Complaints].

    N.p., Rabochee Knigoizdatel’stvo, 1916.

    An ephemeral publication of a short story by Gorky, first published in 4 parts in Berlin, 1910-1911. OCLC records three copies only: at University of California Riverside, Washington University, and National Library of Australia.

    £200

  18. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    V stepi. – Druzhki [On the Steppes. – The friends].

    Moscow, “Rodnaia rech’”, 1916

    An ephemeral edition of two early short stories. ‘V stepi’ tells the dark story of three vagrants in the Crimea, the narrator, an ex-soldier and an ex-student. Desperate for food they rob and kill a fellow traveller in the night, but the narrator refuses any moral responsibilty for the events: ‘we...

    £200

  19. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    V liudiakh [In the world].

    St Petersburg, “Parus”, 1918.

    First edition printed in Russia of the second volume of Gorky’s memoirs, first published in Berlin in 1916. It was preceded by Childhood (1913) and followed by My university years (1923). ‘Gorky reached the apogee of his creative powers in his autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, In the World and...

    £500

  20. [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