English Literature

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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. LACTANTIUS.

    Opera.

    [Venice,] Vindelinus de Spira, 1472.

    Magnificent incunable edition of the works of Lactantius, a fine product of the first Venetian press, established in 1469 by Johannes de Spira and continued by his brother Vindelinus from 1470 until 1473. This was the fifth impression of the works of Lactantius, the hugely successful North African...

    £25000

  2. URCEO, Antonio [or Codro]. 

    Hoc Codri volumine haec continentur.  Orationes, seu sermones ut ipse appellabat.  Epistolae. ...

    Bologna, Giovanni Antonio Benedetti, 7 March 1502. 

    First edition of a quintessential piece of Italian humanism, annotated by a sixteenth-century reader particularly interested in the philology of the texts. 

    £3000

  3. VIRGIL; Sebastian BRANT, editor. 

    Publii Virgilii Maro[n]is opera. 

    Strasbourg, Johann Grüninger, 28 August 1502. 

    First illustrated edition of the works of Virgil, one of the great German woodcut books of the Renaissance, with over 200 illustrations by the artist known as the Late Master of the Grüninger Workshop.

    £20000

  4. JUSTINUS, Marcus Junianius, and Lucius FLORUS. 

    [Epitome historiarum:] Justini historici clarissimi in Trogi Pompei historias...

    [Venice, Bartolomeo Zani, 3 February 1503]. 

    A thoroughly annotated copy of a greatly influential compendium of Trogus’s monumental forty-four-book Historia of the world from Babylon to the Augustan era. 

    £3800

  5. BONET, Nicolas.

    Habes Nicholai Bonetti viri p[er]spicacissimi quattuor volumina: Metaphysicam videl[icet] naturale[m] phylosophia[m]...

    Venice, Boneto Locatello for the heirs of Ottaviano Scoto, 1505.

    First collected edition of the works of the French Franciscan Friar Nicolas Bonet (c. 1280–1343), owned and annotated by the Italian historian, biographer, and physician Paolo Giovio (1486–1552).

    £4000

  6. LUCIAN, of Samosata.

    Deorum dialogi... una cum interpretatione e regione latina nusquam antea impressi...

    Strassbourg, Johannes Schott, 1515.

    First edition edited and translated by the German humanist (and musician) Ottmar Nachtgall.

    £2100

  7. SENECA, Lucius Anneus. 

    Tragoediae pristinae integritati restitutae, per exactissimi judicii viros post Avantium & Philologum … 

    Paris, Badius Ascensius, 1514. 

    First edition edited by Erasmus and Badius Ascensius, a landmark in the history of Seneca’s textual tradition.  This key work, the product of a collaboration between two wholly committed humanists, cannot have been accomplished without some friction: Erasmus had allowed Badius to make use of...

    £1750

  8. FLORUS, Lucius. 

    Lucii Flori rerum ab urbe condita liber primus [– quartus]. 

    [Venice, in aedibus Aldi et Andreae Soceri, March 1521.] 

    Florus’s epitome of Roman history, extracted from the Aldine edition of March 1521 which comprised an epitome of Livy, Florus, and Niccolò Perotti’s translation of Polybius. 

    £750

  9. PEROTTI, Niccolò.

    In hoc volumine habentur haec. Cornucopiae, sive linguae latinae co[m]mentarii diligentissime recogniti, atq[ue]...

    Toscolano, Alessandro Paganini, April 1522.

    Handsome edition of the masterful Cornucopiae of the Italian humanist and grammarian Niccolò Perotti (1429–1480), printed in Alessandro Paganini’s distinctive small italic type.

    £950

  10. [ROZIER.] 

    Le rozier historial de France contenant deux roziers.  Le p[re]mier rozier contient plusieurs belles rozes et boutons...

    Paris, [Gilles Couteau for François Regnault,] 26 February 1522 [i.e. 1523]. 

    First edition, the very handsome Fairfax-Murray copy, of the Rozier historial de France

    £25000

  11. 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

  12. EURIPIDES.

    Τραγωδιαι οκτωκαίδεκα … Tragœdiæ octodecim, Hecuba, Orestes, Phœnissæ, Medea, Hippolytus,...

    Basel, apud Ioan. Hervagium ,1537.

    Second edition of the complete extant tragedies of Euripides, following the Aldine editio princeps of 1503.

    £3750

  13. STRABO.

    Strabonis geographicorum lib. XVII ... iam denuo a Conrado Heresbachio … ad fidem Graeci exemplaris, authorumque …...

    Basel, Johann Walder, 1539.

    Second edition of Strabo’s masterful Geographica in the Latin translation of the German Humanist and friend of Erasmus, Konrad Heresbach (1496–1576), here found with the first Latin translation of an epitome of Strabo’s work by the Basel professor of physic and logic, Hieronymus Gemusaeus...

    £2500

  14. ARISTOPHANES.

    Aristophanis comicorum principis Comoediae undecim, e graeco in latinum ad verbu[m] translatae Andreae Divo Iustinopolitano...

    Venice, 1542 [colophon: apud D. Jacob a Burgofrancho papiensem, 1538].

    First collected Latin edition of Aristophanes, translated from the Greek by Andrea Divo.

    £1200

  15. LIVY, Titus. 

    T. Livii Patauini […] ex XIIII Decadibus Historiae Romanae ab Urbe condita, Decades, prima, tertia, quarta,...

    Paris, [Michel Vascosan for] Oudin Petit, 1543 [– Michel Vascosan for himself and Oudin Petit, 1542]. 

    A much-praised edition of Livy’s History, reprinting Vascosan’s 1535 edition and including the philological corpus on Livy by the most established humanists of the time: Rhenanus, Gelenius, Grynaeus, Glareanus, Badius Ascensius, Valla, and Sabellico. 

    £3800

  16. [COLONNA, Francesco.] 

    Poliphili hypnerotomachia, ubi humana omnia non nisi somnium esse ostendit, atque obiter plurima scitu...

    Venice, [heirs of Aldus], 1545. 

    Second edition, scarcer than the first (also an Aldine, published in 1499), of the most beautiful illustrated books printed in Italy in the fifteenth century.  Known for its fine woodcut illustrations, mysterious meanings, and the cryptic inclusion of Colonna’s name, the Hypnerotomachia...

    £18500

  17. GIOVIO, Paolo. 

    Elogia veris clarorum virorum imaginibus apposita.  Quae in musaeo Ioviano Comi spectantur.  Addita in calce...

    Venice, Michele Tramezzino, 1546. 

    First edition of Giovio’s biographies of illustrious men, with several marginal corrections, remarks, and comments by a contemporary reader, whose knowledge of biographies of the past encompassed several authors, including Erasmus. 

    £3000

  18. GIRALDI, Lilio Gregorio. 

    De Deis gentium varia et multiplex historia, in qua simul de eorum imaginibus et cognominibus agitur,...

    Basel, Oporinus, 1548. 

    First edition of the most important mythography to be published after Boccaccio’s Genealogiae deorum gentilium and before Conti’s Mythologiae, with extensive marginalia in the first part. 

    £2500

  19. GUAZZO, Marco.

    Historie di M. Marco Guazzo di tutti i fatti degni di memoria nel mondo successi dal 1524 sino a l’anno 1549....

    Venice, Giolito, 1549.

    First edition thus, this copy owned by the future Pope Clement XII, of a remarkable history of recent and contemporary events, first published in 1540 and here updated by almost ten years, resuming the account of world event and Italian politics and including references to American history from 1522.

    £3600

  20. [GELENIUS, Sigismund (editor).] 

    Notitia utraque, dignitatum, cum orientis, tum occidentis, ultra arcadii honoriique tempora,...

    Lyons, [Jacques du Creux for] Jean de Gabiano, 1608. 

    An expanded edition, illustrated on almost every leaf, of an anonymous fifth-century description of the Roman Empire. 

    £875