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. [PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich (contributor).]

    Сѣверные цвѣты на 1825 годъ [Severnye tsvety na 1825...

    St Petersburg, Department of Public Education, 1825 [Moscow, Universitetskaia tip., 1881].

    Rare nineteenth-century Moscow reprint of the exceptionally rare first issue of Northern flowers, one of the most celebrated Russian literary anthologies, edited by Pushkin’s great friend Delvig. The 1825 issue included the first appearance of four passages from part ii of Eugene...

    £1750

  2. [BUNBURY, Henry William.] ‘GAMBADO, Geoffrey’.

    An Academy for grown Horsemen, containing the completest Instructions for Walking,...

    London, W. Dickinson, S. Hooper, and Messrs Robinsons, 1787 [colophon: Mount Vernon (NY), William Edwin Rudge, 1929].

    Limited edition, reprinted from the first, numbered 142 of 400 copies. A humorous parody of the manuals on horsemanship so fashionable in the late eighteenth century, Bunbury’s text was published pseudonymously as Geoffrey Gambado but the plates credited to his own name, with reference to the...

    £85

  3. BURNEY, Charles.

    An Account of the musical Performances in Westminster-Abbey, and the Pantheon, May 26th, 27th, 29th; and June...

    London, Printed for the Benefit of the musical Fund; and sold by T. Payne and Son ... 1785.

    First edition. The Handel Commemoration Concerts of 1784, conceived the previous year by Viscount Fitzwilliam, Sir Watkins Williams Wynn and Joah Bates to celebrate the centenary of the birth of George Frederick Handel, were performances on a scale then unprecedented in England. On the morning of Wednesday...

    £1250

  4. JONES, Sir John Thomas.

    Account of the war in Spain and Portugal, and in the south of France, from 1808, to 1814, inclusive.

    London, T. Egerton, 1818.

    First edition. In July 1808 John Jones (1783–1843) was selected to serve as one of the two assistant commissioners under General Leith, appointed military and semi-diplomatic agent to the juntas of northern Spain, returning to England after the battle of Corunna in January 1809. In 1810 he was again...

    £250

  5. GAY, John.

    Achilles. An Opera. As it is perform’d at the Theatre-Royal in Covent Garden ... with the Musick prefix’d to each Song.

    London: Printed for J. Watts ... 1733.

    First edition of Gay’s last ballad opera; he was arranging for its production at the time of his death. The work is a farcical burlesque of classical myth, in which Achilles, dressed as a woman, is admitted to the court of Lycomedes, who falls in love with him while he in turn is trying to woo...

    £400

  6. ESSAY UPON MODERN GALLANTRY (AN).

    Address’d to Men of Honour, Men of Pleasure, and Men of Sense. With a seasonable Admonition...

    London: Printed for A. More … 1726.

    Second edition, unrecorded, published in the same year as the first – apparently from the same setting of type with the title-page altered to add the edition statement.

    £1000

  7. HALL, Major Herbert Byng.

    The Adventures of a Bric-a-Brac Hunter …

    London: Tinsley Brothers … 1868.

    First edition of a charming travel guide to Europe for the dilletante porcelain collector; some of the sketches that make up the book first appeared in the Belgravia magazine.

    £275

  8. [FIELDING, Sarah.]

    The Adventures of David Simple: containing an Account of his Travels through the Cities of London and Westminster,...

    London: Printed for A. Millar … 1744.

    First edition, very fine. The first and most popular novel of Sarah, the sister of Henry Fielding, who was to provide a preface and a few revisions to the second edition. A Quixotic satire, it follows the fortunes of its hero, disillusioned by the discovery that his younger brother has attempted...

    £1500

  9. [SMOLLETT, Tobias].

    The Adventures of Roderick Random … in two Volumes … The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Osborn … 1748.

    Second edition, with ‘major imaginative changes’, and frontispieces which appear here for the first time. Even though there were only a few weeks between the first and second editions, Smollett found time to make a number of significant corrections in the text, on average about one substantive change...

    £500

  10. BROUGHAM, Henry Lord.

    Albert Lunel. A Novel ... In three Volumes ...

    London: Charles H. Clarke ... [1872].

    First edition, Sadleir’s ‘really scarce’ fourth state, with (instead of the half-titles) the following notice: ‘“Albert Lunel” was written by the late Lord Brougham in the years Eighteen Hundred and Forty-four, but for private reasons of his Lordship’s, was not published. London, March...

    £450

  11. DUBOURGDIEU, Carolus Valesius (Charles de VALOIS).

    Alexandro VII Divinitatis nutu delecto Sacrosancta in terris Christi sceptra...

    Rome, Cortellini, 1655.

    Only edition, unrecorded outside Italy, of a symposium of laudatory verses published on the occasion of Fabio Chigi’s accession to the Papacy as Alexander VII, with descriptions of the accompanying ritual and pomp. The equestrian triumph and procession, the solemn conferment of papal regalia...

    £300

  12. LINDSETH, Jon A., and Alan TANNENBAUM, eds.

    Alice in a World of Wonderlands: the Translations of Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece.

    Newcastle, DE, Oak Knoll Press, 2015.

    This is the most extensive analysis ever done of translations of any single English language novel. On 4 October 1866 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson/Lewis Carroll wrote to his publisher Macmillan stating "Friends here [in Oxford] seem to think that the book is untranslatable." But his friends were wrong, as...

    £199

  13. [NAPOLEONIC ITALY.] 

    Alla società delle gentilissime signore di Moncalieri dilettanti del giuoco del tavolazzo. Sonetto bernesco-morale...

    Turin, Giacomo Fea, 1799.

    An unrecorded sonnet addressed to the Society of the Gentlewomen of Moncalieri, a town just south of Turin whose castle is one of the Savoy Residences, and in particular to the ‘Abbess’ of the society, by the corps of soldiers stationed in the town shortly after the Battle of Marengo.

    £575

  14. POCKLINGTON, John.

    Altare Christianum: or, the dead Vicar’s Plea. Wherein the Vicar of Gr. being dead, yet speaketh, and pleadeth...

    London, Printed by Richard Badger. 1637.

    First edition, from the library of Robert Southey, with an ownership inscription an eleven-line note in his distinctive diminutive hand.

    £3750

  15. [DUCRAY-DUMINIL, François Guillaume].

    Ambrose and Eleanor; or, the Adventures of two Children deserted on an uninhabited Island....

    London: Printed for R. and L. Peacock, at the Juvenile Library … and sold by Hookham and Carpenter … and C. Law … 1797

    Second English edition (first 1796), a translation of Lolotte et Fanfan (1788). Lucy Peacock kept a shop on Oxford Street which stocked her own and other juvenile tales. Lolotte et Fanfan (1788) evidently appealed for its didactic potential, but required significant editing: ‘many characters...

    £425

  16. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    America, I Presume.

    New York, Howell, Soskins & Co., [1940].

    First edition, Lewis’s first impressions of America after his abrupt departure thence in September 1939. He was to remain in North America for the duration of World War WII.

    £75

  17. [CASTILLO Y SORIANO, José del.]

    Amor á la creacion. Poesia dedicada á la Sociedad Madrileña Protectora de los Animales y de...

    Madrid, Sociedad de Tipógrafos, 1879.

    Very rare survival: a poem in twenty-four stanzas each of five lines devoted to the celebration of animals and plants, dedicated to the Madrid Society for the protection of nature, and publicly read by the actress Carolina Civili on the occasion of the May 1879 exhibition of plants and birds....

    £500

  18. CELALEDDIN, Mahmud (calligrapher). 

    [A muraqqa or calligraphic album.]

    Cairo, Ministry of Public Education, 1309 AH [i.e. 1891/2]. 

    Unrecorded album of lithographed examples of calligraphy, mixing prayers and pen exercises, reproducing the calligraphy of a Daghestani émigré to Istanbul, Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi (d. 1829), and published in Cairo by Egypt’s Ministry of Public Education. 

    £2200

  19. JACOMB, Charles Ernest.

    And a new earth. A romance.

    London, George Routledge & Sons, 1926.

    First edition. A post-apocalyptic fantasy novel relating the history of a utopian island that survived a ‘second flood’ in 1958, which destroyed the world’s civilization and reduced the human population to just 10,000. The island was re-discovered by the New World Fleet in 2832, 872 years after...

    £75

  20. [BUNBURY, Henry William.] ‘GAMBADO, Geoffrey’.

    Annals of Horsemanship, containing Accounts of accidental Experiments and experimental...

    London, W. Nicholson for W. Baynes, 1808.

    Third edition of Bunbury’s satirical work with humorous etchings. First published in 1791 and often presented as a continuation of Bunbury’s Academy for grown Horsemen (published in 1784 also under the name Gambado), the Annals of Horsemanship is a parody of Arthur Young’s...

    £475