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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.
[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.
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...
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...
The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire.
London, printed for W. Strahan & T. Cadell, 1776–88.
First editions of all six volumes of Gibbon’s ‘masterpiece of historical penetration and literary style’ (PMM). The first volume here is of the second variant (of two), with the errata corrected as far as p. 183 and X4 and a4 so signed.
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, and severall Steps in my Sicknes ...
London, Printed for Thomas Jones … 1627.
Third (and last lifetime) edition of Donne’s most familiar prose work, composed during his convalescence in 1623–4 from the ‘spotted Feaver’ which nearly killed him. It consists of twenty-three ‘Stationes, sive Periodi in Morbo’, each comprising a meditation, expostulation, and prayer.
Cavalarice, or the English Horseman: Contayning all the Art of Horse-manship, asmuch as is necessary for any...
London, Edward Allde for Edward White, [1616–] 1617.
A beautiful copy of the second edition, ‘corrected and augmented’, of Markham’s Cavalarice, exceptionally well-preserved in a contemporary binding, from the library of the antiquary Sir John Marsham.
[RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, CHINA.]
东教宗史记 [Dongjiao Zongshi Ji; ‘Orthodox Ecclesiastical History’].
First edition of a summary of Russian Orthodox Church history for a Chinese audience, with a foreword by Archimandrite Innokenty (Ivan Figurovsky, 1863–1931), who was to be leader of the spiritual mission to Beijing from his arrival in 1897 until his death in 1931.
OVIDIUS Naso, Publius, and Pedro Sánchez de VIANA (transl. and ed.).
Las transformaciones. [issued with:]...
Valladolid, Diego Fernández de Córdoba, 1589.
First edition, a copy of notable provenance, of perhaps the most successful early Spanish translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, by Pedro Sánchez de Viana (1545–1616), published along with his substantial commentary. In the age of Cervantes (another master of literary transformations), Ovid...
Tales of passed Times by Mother Goose. With Morals. Written in French … and Englished by R. S. Gent. To...
London: [but The Hague?] Printed for S. Van den Berg … 1764.
First parallel-text edition of Perrault’s famous fairy tales, in English and French, with fine illustrations after Hendrik Immink. Perrault has long been eclipsed in fame by that of his stories – ‘Little Red Riding-Hood’, ‘Blue Beard’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Puss in Boots’, ‘Cinderilla’,...
The Nonesuch Dickens. The Complete Works of Charles Dickens.
London, The Nonesuch Press, 1937-38.
Limited edition of 877, of which 66 sets were destroyed when a bomb hit the bindery in September 1940, so at most 811 complete sets survive (Dreyfus, Nonesuch Press, 108). The steel plate included with this set is number 605, “Solemn reference is made to Mr. Bunsby” from Dombey and...
REICHARDT, Johann Friedrich. Goethe’s Lieder, Oden, Balladen und Romanzen mit Musik von J.F. Reichardt. Erste...
Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, [1809–11].
Very rare first complete edition of Reichardt’s musical settings of Goethe’s poetry, comprising 128 settings of which thirty-nine appear here for the first time.
An archive of thirty-four scrapbooks compiled by Gallico.
A lovingly and meticulously compiled archive of the writing career of the novelist Paul Gallico. The scrapbooks are arranged chronologically and by book/film with letters, telegrams, publicity materials, photographs and ephemera neatly intermingled with copies of reviews and reactions from local,...
An Historicall Collection of the continuall Factions, Tumults, and Massacres of the Romans and Italians during...
London, Printed for William Ponsonby. 1601.
First edition. Fulbecke’s Historicall Collection ‘was a narrative history of the last years of the Roman republic and it is significant as one of the very few attempts by a Renaissance Englishman to write such a work … An interesting attempt to weave together such often-contradictory...
HALLAM, Arthur Henry.
Remains, in Verse and Prose …
[London,] Printed by W. Nicol, 1834.
First edition, a presentation copy from the editor, the historian Henry Hallam, to his late son’s friend and fellow Cambridge ‘Apostle’ James Spedding. The prefatory memoir by Hallam senior includes a long letter from Spedding (‘one of his most valued friends’) (pp. xx-xxvi), here...
[Library for Youth, or Book-Case of Knowledge, 10 vols.]
London: Printed for John Wallis … by T. Gillet or J. Cundee … 1800.
A fine complete set of Wallis’s ‘Library for Youth’ also known as the ‘Book-Case of Knowledge’, with all ten volumes in the first editions, dated 1800, and with two original designs (in reverse) for the frontispieces.
Poems … with Elegies on the authors Death …
London, Printed by M. F. for John Marriot, and are to be sold at his Shop … 1635.
Second edition, adding seventeen new poems by Donne (and eleven false attributions), and three more elegies on his death. The poems have been rearranged into sections, headed ‘Songs and Sonets’, ‘Elegies’, ‘Epithalamions’. ‘Satyres’, and ‘Letters’, ‘Divine Poems’, etc. Two poems...
The Prince of Abissinia. A Tale …
London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley … and W. Johnston … 1759.
First edition of Johnson’s only novel, written in the evenings of a single week to pay for his mother’s funeral. Its rapid execution is said to have been due to the fact that he had been pondering its chief topics all his life. It soon became his most popular work. Although now inevitably...
SHERBURNE, Sir Edward.
Salmacis, Lyrian & Sylvia, Forsaken Lydia, the Rape of Helen, a Comment thereon, with severall other...
London, Printed by W. Hunt, for Thomas Dring ... 1651.
First edition of a charming book of Caroline poetry, original and translated, in a most sympathetic and well-preserved collector’s binding. This is the first issue; it was reissued in the same year under the title Poems and Translations, amorous, lusory, morall, divine, reflecting the...
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...
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?).