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. 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

  2. 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

  3. [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

  4. [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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. [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

  8. 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

  9. [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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. [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

  13. 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

  14. [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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. BROWNE, Sir Thomas.

    Posthumous Works ... printed from his original Manuscripts. Viz. I. Repertorium: or, the Antiquities of the...

    London: Printed for E. Curll ... and R. Gosling ... 1712.

    First edition of a collection of miscellaneous pieces previously unpublished (apart from A Letter to a Friend), including Browne’s valuable account of the antiquities of Norwich cathedral, letters, ‘An Account of Island aliàs Ice-land’ (a paper for the Royal Society), and the account of the Brompton...

    £1250

  19. BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett.

    Poems before Congress …

    London: Chapman and Hall … 1860.

    First edition of a slender collection of seven poems on the cause of Italian independence, and one attacking slavery in the United States (‘A Curse for a Nation’). The Congress of the title had been planned for Paris in January 1860, but Austria withdrew on learning that Napoleon III meant to use...

    £200

  20. [BROWN or BROWNE, Nicholas].

    The North-Country-Wedding, and the Fire, two Poems in blank Verse …

    Dublin: Printed by A. Rhames, for J. Hyde, Bookseller … 1722.

    First and only edition, rare, of the only published work by the Fermanagh-born poet and clergyman Nicholas Brown (1699-1734), misattributed by ESTC to his father. Both pieces are burlesques in the manner of Philips’s The Splendid Shilling, but have their own merit, and were reprinted by Matthew...

    £1250