English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees

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. AIKEN, Conrad.

    Thee.

    New York, George Braziller, 1967.

    First trade edition, inscribed ‘For Geoffrey and Joyce [Bridson] / this little hymn of love / from Conrad / 1968’.

    £250

  3. AIKEN, Conrad.

    Selected Poems.

    New York, Oxford University Press, 1964.

    Second printing (first 1961), inscribed: ‘For Geoffrey from Conrad and Savannah with a Hosanna 1968’. Born in Savannah, Georgia, Aiken spent winters there later in his life. It was in Savannah in April 1968 that Bridson recorded the unbroadcast interviews which provide a valuable insight into...

    £150

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. ALDINGTON, Richard.

    All Men are Enemies, a Romance.

    London, Chatto & Windus, 1933.

    First trade edition, inscribed ‘For D. G. Bridson from Richard Aldington / March. 1933’. Bridson’s review in The New English Weekly, 23 March 1933, was uncharacteristically without reservation in its enthusiasm: ‘one of the finest novels written lately … In actual reading [rather...

    £200

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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...

    £175

  10. [ANON.]

    Quia Amore Langueo.

    [Colophon:] Chiswick, Caradoc Press, 1902.

    One of 250 copies on paper (there were also 20 on vellum), printed from a fifteenth-century manuscript at Lambeth Palace Library.

    £75

  11. [ANON.] 

    Le moine galant, ou la vie de Don F… Bernardin, ecrite par lui-même. 

    [S.l., s.n.,] 1756. 

    Scarce first edition of this satirical ‘autobiography’ of a pleasure-driven law student turned monk, replete with amorous adventures. 

    £450

  12. [ANON].

    Elogio del corno. Dell‘ autore della felice produzione italiana intitolata Della Necessità ed Utilità dei Debiti.

    Venice, Stamperia Graziosi, 1796.

    Only edition, as far as we can tell unrecorded, of this anonymously published poem in praise of the horn. Although ostensibly a chaste work extolling the virtues of the instrument, there is enough to suggest that the poet may have been thinking along less musical lines; the horn, we are repeatedly told,...

    £275

  13. ANSELMI, Giorgio, the younger

    Georgii Anselmi nepotis Epigrammaton libri septem. Sosthyrides. Peplum Palladis. Aeglogae...

    Venice, Maffeo Pasini, September 1528. 

    The definitive edition of the epigrams of Giorgio Anselmi, grandson of the astrologer and music theorist of the same name, with several epigrams on his grandfather’s lost works on magic and the occult. 

    £875

  14. ARISTOPHANES.

    The Birds … Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary … With Notes.

    London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey … 1824.

    First edition. ‘Given how much there is in Aristophanes to outrage and violate nineteenth-century manners and sensibilities, it may seem surprising how popular he was. The popularity came at the price of bowdlerizing much of the “grossness”, but there was admiration and even a certain yearning...

    £350

  15. [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.

    £275

  16. ARNOLD, Edwin.

    Enfin: A Poem, hitherto unpublished, by Sir Edwin Arnold.

    New York, printed by Thomas Perry Stricker for Julian Buddolph Arnold, 1936.

    First edition, one of only fifty copies hand-printed by T. Perry Sticker, presentation copy from the editor (the author’s son) and accompanied by his autograph note regarding the printing and planned circulation of the poem.

    £350

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. AUDEN, Wystan Hugh.

    Louis MacNeice, a memorial Address, delivered at All Souls, Langham Place on 17 October, 1963.

    Privately printed for Faber & Faber, [1963].

    First edition, one of 250 copies.

    £150