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. LACTANTIUS.

    Opera.

    [Venice], Vindelinus de Spira, 1472.

    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 early Christian writer.

    £30000

  2. URCEO, Antonio [or Codro].

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

    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. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. PLUTARCH [and Jodocus BADIUS Ascensius (editor)].

    Vitae … novissime … longe diligentius repositae, majoreque...

    Venice, Melchiorre Sessa [the elder] & Pietro Ravani, 26 November 1516.

    First substantially illustrated edition of Plutarch’s Lives, with signs of early reading. First published in this popular translation in Paris in 1514 by French scholar-printer Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462–1535) in collaboration with Jean Petit, the text is here accompanied by seventy-eight...

    £4250

  7. FLORUS.

    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

  8. [ROZIER.]

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

    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. The first part, the Rozier des guerres, is a speculum principis for rulers in peace and war, and was originally published on its own in Lyons circa 1489 (only two copies known). The second...

    £25000

  9. PLUTARCH.

    ...

    Venice, Nicolao di Aristotile detto Zoppino, March 1525. 

    An attractive illustrated edition of twenty-seven of Plutarch’s lives, extensively annotated by a Papal tax-collector, in a striking contemporary binding.

    £2750

  10. SOPHOCLES. 

    Aiax flagellifer.  Callimachi Cyrenaei Hymni in Iovem & Apollinem.  Ioanne Lonicero interprete.  Genetliacon divo...

    Basel, [Johann] Herwagen, August 1533. 

    First separate edition of Sophocles’s Ajax, with a facing Latin version by humanist philologist and theologian Johann Lonitzer (c. 1499–1569), printed with his translation of Callimachus’s hymns to Apollo and Zeus and his ode celebrating the birth of the future Wilhelm IV of Hesse-Kassel...

    £2750

  11. DIO CASSIUS.

    Dione historico delle guerre et fatti de Romani. Tradotto di Greco in lingua vulgare per M. Nicolo Leoniceno. Con...

    Venice, Niccolò Zoppino, March 1533.

    First edition of Dio’s Roman History in any language, translated into Italian from the original Greek by Niccolò Leoniceno and preceding the Greek editio princeps, printed by Robert Estienne in 1548, by some fifteen years.

    £2750

  12. SANNAZARO, Jacopo. 

    Iacobi Sannazarii Opera omnia latine scripta, nuper edita. 

    Venice, heirs of Aldus Manutius and Andreas Asulanus, September 1535. 

    Enlarged posthumous Aldine edition of the collected Latin works of the Neapolitan poet Jacopo Sannazaro. 

    £550

  13. BEDE, the Venerable, Saint

    Bedae presbyteri Anglosaxonis, monachi benedicti, viri literatissimi opuscula cumplura...

    Cologne, Johannes Prael for Peter Quentel, May 1537. 

    First illustrated edition (second overall) of Bede’s two principal scientific and computistical works De natura rerum and De temporum ratione, with commentary by the Dutch scholar Joannes Noviomagus (1494-1570), a very good copy in an attractive French binding. 

    £3750

  14. 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

  15. TERENCE Afer, Publius. 

    Comoediae: Andria, Eunuchus, Heautontimorumenos, Adelphi, Hecyra, Phormio, ex emendatissimis ac fide dignissimis...

    Venice, Girolamo Scoto, 1545. 

    A profusely annotated copy of an excellent illustrated edition of Terence’s comedies.  The early owner and annotator clearly took issue with this edition’s association with Protestant thinkers: Melanchthon’s and Erasmus’s names are struck through in ink in the preliminaries, which contain,...

    £1850

  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 book 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...

    £24000

  17. GABRIELE, Giacomo. 

    Dialogo di M. Iacomo Cabriele, nelquale de la sphera, et gli orti et occasi de le stelle, minutamente si...

    [Colophon:] Venice, Giovanni de Farri et fratelli, 1545. 

    First editions of the two principal works of Giacomo Gabriele (1510–1550), nephew and pupil of the Italian humanist Trifone Gabriele, the first with numerous contemporary annotations. 

    £3500

  18. LUCAN, Marcus Annaeus. 

    De bello civili libri X. 

    Cologne, Marcus Gymnicus, 1546. 

    An exceptionally attractive volume of two German editions of Lucan and Livy issued in the same year, joined in a strictly contemporary tacketed binding with a medieval vellum manuscript reused as endleaves, densely annotated in parts and with a fascinating sequence of later provenance. 

    £3750

  19. 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

  20. 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