English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Ted Hofmann

British literature and history from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on poetry, fiction, and drama.

We usually have a selection of literary works from the STC and Wing period (i.e. before 1701), and a broad range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and poetry, particularly the Romantics. We also have a selection of historical manuscripts, prints and broadsides, and works in translation.

Among important works which have passed through our hands are the editor's presentation copy of Milton's Lycidas, Swift's Modest Proposal, the autograph draft of Byron's She walks in beauty, the autograph manuscript of Jane Austen's only play Sir Charles Grandison, Dickens’s copy of Vanity Fair, Trollope's classical library, and, over the years, some fifty Shakespeare First Folios.

  1. [ACCADEMIA DELL’ARCADIA.]

    Favola di due gatti e della scimia coll’ appello de’ medesimi gatti all’ orso, divisa in due...

    Florence, Bernardo Paperini, 1730.

    First complete edition. A rare fable in parallel Latin and Italian verse by members of the Accademia dell’Arcadia, comprising Due gatti ed una scimia (first published in 1728) and the first appearance of the second part, Appello de’ due gatti all’ orso. Both are published only pseudonymously under...

    £550

  2. AINSWORTH, William Harrison.

    The Combat of the Thirty. From a Breton Lay of the fourteenth Century. With an Introduction, comprising...

    London: Chapman and Hall … 1859

    First edition of the first English translations of these two texts, inscribed to ‘James Crossley from his old friend William Harrison Ainsworth’. The two men had been friends since 1817 when Crossley, a solicitor, was articled to Ainsworth’s father and later became a partner in the firm. He was...

    £550

  3. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    El Momo. La moral e muy graciosa historia del Momo; compuesta en Latin por el docto varon Leon Bapista...

    Alcalá de Henares, Joan Mey Flandro, 1553.

    First edition in Spanish of Alberti’s Momus [or De principe], translated by Augustín de Almaçan and with an introductory 8-page Exposición by the Toledo ascetic writer and scholar Alejo Venegas (1495?–1554?).

    £3800

  4. 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...

    £350

  5. ALFIERI, Vittorio. LLOYD, Charles, translator.

    The Tragedies of Vittorio Alfieri; translated from the Italian … In three Volumes …

    London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown … 1815.

    First edition of this translation, which Lloyd undertook ‘on the suggestion of a friend whose judgement I highly respect’. This friend was likely Southey, who he addresses as his ‘sponsor’ in the ‘Dedicatory Sonnet’. He held Southey in high esteem, and benefited from his friendship through...

    £450

  6. [ALMANAC.]

    Le Parnasse des dames.

    Paris, Janet, [1814].

    An attractive copy of Janet’s Parnasse des dames, a pocket-book alamanac on art and literature aimed at a female readership. The little volume contains a broad miscellany of verse, some by female authors, prefaced by engraved copies of works by seventeenth-century French and Dutch painters...

    £325

  7. ALMEIDA, Theodoro de.

    Lisboa destruida poema, author o P. Theodoro de Almeida, da Congregaçaõ do Oratorio de Lisboa.

    Lisbon, Antonio Rodrigues Galhardo, 1803.

    First edition of this poem in six cantos, with extensive notes, on the disastrous 1755 Lisbon earthquake, by the Oratorian priest and philosopher Almeida (1722-1804). One of the deadliest in history, the earthquake almost totally destroyed the Portuguese capital and accentuated political tensions within...

    £400

  8. [ARIZZI, Francesco.]

    Il buffone di nuova invenzione in Italia. O sia i viaggi del vagabondo Salsiccia Salisburgese […] con un...

    Venice, Antonio Bortoli, 1740.

    First and only edition of Arizzi’s adaptation of Gottfried Prehauser’s Wienerische Hannswurst nebst lustige Reyss-Beschreibung aus Salzburg in verschiedene Länder, published anonymously and for a long time wrongly attributed to Benedetto Marcello.

    £350

  9. A[RNOLD, Matthew].

    The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems. By A.

    London: B. Fellowes …1849

    First edition of Arnold’s first book, apart from the Rugby and Oxford prize poems Alaric at Rome and Cromwell. To conceal his authorship as ‘A.’ suggests a certain reticence about the volume, even though it contains a number of his finest early poems, including ‘The Forsaken Merman’. Only 500...

    £600

  10. ASTLEY, Philip.

    Astley’s System of equestrian Education, exhibiting the Beauties and Defects of the Horse, with serious and important...

    London, T. Burton for S. Creed, [c. 1801].

    Fifth edition of a work on horse-training by the ‘father of the modern circus’ (Chambers). Noted during military service in the Seven Years’ War not only for his daring in battle but also for his skills as a rider and breaker of horses, Philip Astley (1742-1814) established on his return...

    £350

  11. AUDEN, W.H. Collected poems.

    Edited by Edward Mendelson.

    London, Faber and Faber, 1976.

    First edition. Denis Healey’s copy, with his signature dated 1976 to front free endpaper, his occasional marginal pencil marks, and a few notes to rear pastedown. Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey (1917-2015) served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970, Chancellor of the Exchequer from...

    £75

  12. [AUGUSTINE, Saint, attributed author.]

    The Meditations of Saint Augustine, from the Latin Original. By the Rev. J. Martin, O.S.A. …

    Dublin: Printed for the Author, by H. Fitzpatrick … 1798

    First edition of this rare translation of the pseudo-Augustinian Meditationum Liber, an eleventh-century devotional text very popular in the Middle Ages.

    £1250

  13. AUSTEN, Jane.

    Mansfield Park: a Novel. In three Volumes … Second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Murray … 1816.

    Second edition, revised. This is the only one of Jane Austen’s novels with textual revisions of any significance. She ‘seems in general to have prepared the text for the first editions of her novels with the greatest care, so that they contain few misprints, and the alterations made in the later...

    £3750

  14. [BAGE, Robert].

    Hermsprong; or, Man as he is not. A Novel … By the Author of Man as he is.

    London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press … 1796.

    First edition of Bage’s last and finest novel.

    £2400

  15. [BALLANTINE, E.]

    Natural History of Quadrupeds, for Children, combined with an Attempt to engraft on the youthful Mind the Principles...

    London, Harvey & Darton, 1824.

    A scarce work, second edition, the first edition to be attributed to ‘a lady’. An attractive natural history for children, the work was first published in 1813 ‘by the Author of The Decoy’, an educational work on English grammar; this second edition is the first to credit ‘a lady’...

    £400

  16. BARDUZZI, Bernardino.

    A Letter in Praise of Verona [1489]. In the original Latin Text with an English Translation by Betty Radice.

    Verona, [Officina Bodoni,] 1974.

    First edition, No. 34 of 150 copies: an elegant facsimile reprint of one of Verona’s rarest incunables. Barduzzi’s eulogistic letter to Giovanni Nesi was first printed in 1489 by Paulus Fridenperger. The Latin text is followed here by an English translation and a biographical postscript by Giovanni...

    £375

  17. BARONE, Giuseppe.

    IA-Z Pam, le baton du muet, (traduit du chinois)... extrait du muséon.

    Louvain, Ch. Peeters, 1882.

    First separate edition, rare (apparently one other copy known), almost certainly printed for presentation, of this transliteration of a Chinese play with parallel French translation, which first appeared in the French journal Muséon. Barone’s article seeks to introduce a French audience to the great...

    £250

  18. BARON, Robert.

    Mirza. A Tragedie, really acted in Persia, in the last Age. Illustrated with historicall Annotations.

    London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley … [1655?].

    First edition of Baron’s last literary endeavour, a violent revenge tragedy influenced by Jonson’s Catiline, mostly in verse, packed with political intrigue, murders ‘and Seraglio’s too’, all fitting subjects for its exotic setting. Not intended for performance, which been impossible...

    £850

  19. BEARCROFT, Philip.

    An historical Account of Thomas Sutton Esq; and of his Foundation in Charter-House …

    London: Printed by E. Owen, and sold by F. Gyles … W. Hinchliffe … J. and P. Knapton … J. Stagg … and S. Birt … 1737.

    First edition. Thomas Sutton (1532-1611) was an Elizabethan civil servant who made an enormous fortune from leases of land rich in coal in Durham. In 1611 he bought Howard House for £13,000 from the Earl of Suffolk; the building acquired its more familiar name, ‘Charterhouse’, after the order of...

    £250