English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Ted Hofmann

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. BARONE, Giuseppe.

    IA-Z Pam, le baton du muet, (traduit du chinois)... extrait du muséon.

    Louvain, Ch. Peeters, 1882.

    First separate edition, rare (apparently one other copy known), almost certainly printed for presentation, of this transliteration of a Chinese play with parallel French translation, which first appeared in the French journal Muséon. Barone’s article seeks to introduce a French audience to the great...

    £250

  2. BARON, Robert.

    Mirza. A Tragedie, really acted in Persia, in the last Age. Illustrated with historicall Annotations.

    London: Printed for Humphrey Moseley … [1655?].

    First edition of Baron’s last literary endeavour, a violent revenge tragedy influenced by Jonson’s Catiline, mostly in verse, packed with political intrigue, murders ‘and Seraglio’s too’, all fitting subjects for its exotic setting. Not intended for performance, which been impossible...

    £850

  3. BARTOLI, Adolfo.

    Scenari inediti della Commedia dell’arte. Contributo alla storia del teatro popolare italiano.

    Florence, Sansoni, 1880.

    Rare first edition, one of only 350 copies, of a foundational source for the study of Commedia dell’Arte. The exceptionally well-loved and widely-performed form of drama is the subject of the author’s pioneering study: he examines tropes, characters, plots, structures and lines of ‘scenarios’...

    £500

  4. BEARCROFT, Philip.

    An historical Account of Thomas Sutton Esq; and of his Foundation in Charter-House …

    London: Printed by E. Owen, and sold by F. Gyles … W. Hinchliffe … J. and P. Knapton … J. Stagg … and S. Birt … 1737.

    First edition. Thomas Sutton (1532-1611) was an Elizabethan civil servant who made an enormous fortune from leases of land rich in coal in Durham. In 1611 he bought Howard House for £13,000 from the Earl of Suffolk; the building acquired its more familiar name, ‘Charterhouse’, after the order of...

    £250

  5. ‘BEAUHARNOIS, Félicité’ [pseudonym for Joseph FIÉVÉE?].

    Zoraïm, ou les aventures d’un musulman; traduit de l’Anglois,...

    Paris, ‘chez la cit. Dhotel, libraire, an VIIme’ [1799].

    Very rare (only one copy traced) cautionary tale against ambition and vengeance, set in the Ottoman world and penned during the French Revolution, possibly by the gay writer and secret agent Joseph Fiévée.

    £2500

  6. BEAUMONT, Joseph.

    Psyche: or Loves Mysterie in XX. Canto’s: displaying the Intercourse between Christ and the Soule …

    London, Printed by John Dawson for George Boddington … 1648.

    First edition. Beaumont was one of the royalist fellows ejected from Cambridge in 1644, and he devoted his enforced retirement to the composition of this poem, a ‘religious epic’ representing ‘a Soule led by divine Grace, and her Guardian Angel ... through the difficult Temptations and Assaults...

    £1250

  7. [BECKFORD, William].

    Vathek, conte Arabe.

    A Paris, Chez Poinçot ... 1787.

    First Paris edition of Beckford’s gothic masterpiece in the original French, so considerably revised from the Lausanne edition (also 1787) as to amount to ‘almost a new version’ (Chapman & Hodgkin, p. 127). Beckford also took the opportunity to expand the notes from one to twenty-four pages.

    £3250

  8. [BEER, Johann Christoph.]

    Kurtzer Entwurff dess Lebens der Könige in Engelland von der Zeit an als die Sachsen und Angeln sich...

    Nuremberg, Johann Hoffmann, 1676.

    Second, corrected and improved, edition (first 1671) of this attractive German survey of English kings and queens. After describing the rulers in the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England (Wessex, Sussex, Essex, Kent, East Anglia, Northumbria, and Mercia), Beer discusses the kings from Egbert to Harold...

    £400

  9. BELVIDERE (The):

    a Poem. Inscrib’d to Joseph Grove, Esq. of Richmond, in the County of Surrey …

    London: Printed in the Year 1749.

    First edition, rare (British Library and Yale only) of a very attractive description in verse of a country estate in Richmond. The first pages offer a prospect of the garden with its flowers and shrubs, shaded walks and arbours, a bower with the escutcheon over the door of the late Sir William Humble,...

    £2750

  10. BENTHAM, Jeremy.

    Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the Form of a Catechism, with Reasons for each Article. With an Introduction,...

    London: Printed in the Year 1817. Re-printed and Re-published, with Notes and Alterations, by Permission of the Author, by T. J. Wooler … 1818.

    First edition thus of an inexpensive reprint of Bentham’s Plan of Parliamentary Reform (1817), the style adapted by Thomas Wooler, with Bentham’s permission, to ‘render it more easy of comprehension to the popular reader’. In this form it first appeared in instalments in Wooler’s radical...

    £225

  11. [BERKENHOUT, John].

    Clavis anglica Linguæ botanicæ; or, a botanical Lexicon; in which the Terms of Botany, particularly those...

    London: Printed for the Author. Sold by T. Becket, and A. de Hondt … and Mess. Hawes, Clarke, and Collins … 1764.

    First edition, dedicated to John Hope of the University of Edinburgh, and written with the assistance of Arthur Lee of Virginia, winner of the Hope Medal in 1763.

    £325

  12. BINGFIELD, William, pseud.

    The Travels and Adventures of William Bingfield, Esq; containing, as surprizing a Fluctuation...

    London: Printed for E. Withers ... and R. Baldwin ... 1753.

    First edition of one of the most entertaining imaginary voyages of the eighteenth century.

    £2100

  13. [BLOCQUEL, Simon-François].

    MANUEL CONSOLATEUR DES COCUS. Code pacifique des ménages, ouvrage éminemment uBle; suivi 1. D’un...

    A Cornopolis, chez tous les marchands de nouveautés. Imprimerie de l’Encorné. [c. 1837].

    First edition, very rare, of this satirical defence and exploration of cuckoldry in European and global culture, written by the Lille printer and bookseller Simon-François Blocquel (1780–1863) under one of his many pseudonyms.

    Obviously not a translation from the English, the Manuel is designed...

    £850

  14. BLOUNT, Sir Thomas Pope.

    Essays on several Subjects …

    London, Printed for Richard Bently … 1692.

    Second edition of seven essays of ‘considerable merit [that] display the easy scepticism and solid good sense and learning of the author to good advantage’ (Pforzheimer). They deal with self-interest; the mischief of learning; education; respect for antiquity; the virtues of modern men; passion;...

    £500

  15. BOLTON, Robert.

    Letters and Tracts on the Choice of Company and other Subjects. The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Whiston and B. White … and R. and J. Dodsley … 1762.

    Second edition; a reissue of the sheets of the first edition with a cancel title-page and advertisement replacing the original title leaf A1. As well as the title tract, the volume includes essays ‘On Intemperance in Eating’, ‘On Intemperance in Drinking’, ‘On Pleasure’ and ‘On Public Worship’,...

    £325

  16. [BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.]

    La Liturgie. C’est a dire, le formulaire des Prieres publiques, de l’Administrations des Sacreman;...

    A Londres, pour Jean Dunmore & Octavien Pulleyn le Jeune … 1667.

    First edition of this translation, printed for the use of ‘toutes les Eglisses Paroissiales & dans les Chapelles de Isles de Jersey, Guernsey, & autres Isles adjacentes’, as well as for the French congregation at the Savoy in London.

    £750

  17. BRANTÔME, Pierre de Bourdeilles, Seigneur de.

    Spanish Rhodomontades. As also historical and ocular proofs of a true heroism and...

    London, J. Chrichley (i.e. Critchley), 1741.

    First edition in English, with the Rhodomontades printed in the original Spanish. This collection of braggadocio boastings, drawn from the dramatic dialogue of Spanish practitioners of the Commedia dell'Arte, was first published in French in 1740.

    £750

  18. [Brewer, George].

    The Siamese tales: being a collection of stories told to the son of the Mandarin Sam-Sib, for the purpose of...

    London, Vernor & Hood and Champante & Whitrow, 1796.

    First edition of an anonymously published collection of ‘Siamese tales’, written as fables to increase their appeal to children. In the Introduction, the author states that the purpose of these supposedly translated tales is to ‘promote the love of virtue through the medium of fiction’ (p. 1)....

    £950

  19. BRIEF ACCOUNT (A)

    of the Earthquake, the solemn Event which occurred near Axmouth, Devonshire, on the 25th December, 1839 …

    London: James Nisbett and Co. … 1840.

    First edition, very rare. The landslip at Bindon near Axmouth on the Jurassic Coast of Devon, which took place over the Christmas of 1839, was perhaps the most dramatic geological event in nineteenth-century England. Months of heavy rain weakened the clay foundations of the coastal landscape, sending...

    £750

  20. BROME, Alexander.

    Songs and other Poems … The second Edition corrected and enlarged.

    London, Printed for Henry Brome … 1664.

    Second edition, adding much new material including the poems ‘To his friend Thomas Stanley Esq. on his Odes’, ‘Cromwell’s Panegyrick’, and the salacious ‘Record in Rhyme’; eight songs; and some new commendatory verses in addition to the one by Isaak Walton. Also new is a commendatory letter...

    £500