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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. BEAWES, Wyndham.

    A civil, commercial, political, and literary history of Spain and Portugal.

    London, R. Faulder (and others), 1793.

    First edition of a substantial compendium of short dissertations on the history and contemporary state of Spain and Portugal. Summaries of geography, mythic history, numismatics, military orders and the legislature are accompanied by such essays as ‘Of the original and modern languages’, ‘Of the...

    £1200

  5. [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

  6. BECQUE, Henry.

    Les Corbeaux, pièce en quatre actes.

    Paris, Tresse, [1882].

    First and second editions of Becque’s innovative realist drama, inscribed by the author on the first half-title to ‘mon cher [Jules-Charles] Truffier’, with authorial marks and annotations on thirty-three pages in the second edition showing changes made for performance.

    £2000

  7. [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

  8. 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

  9. [BERINGTON, Simon, adapted by Jean-Baptiste DUPUY-DEMPORTES.]

    Memoires de Gaudence de Luques, prisonnier de l’Inquisition...

    Amsterdam and Leipzig, Arkstée & Merkus, 1754.

    Second edition of this much expanded and altered translation of Berington’s celebrated utopian novel, Memoirs of Sigr Gaudentio di Lucca (1737). The Memoirs enjoyed immense popularity, undergoing at least twelve eighteenth-century editions in English and contemporary translations...

    £650

  10. [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

  11. [BERLAIMONT, Noël de.] 

    Colloquia et dictionariolum septem linguarum, Belgicae, Anglicae, Teutonicae, Latinicae, Italicae, Hispanicae,...

    Liège, Henricus Hovius, 1610.

    Scarce edition of an immensely popular multilingual phrasebook containing several amusing scenarios – from dinner parties gone awry to squabbles over the price of fabric – in seven languages, so that the reader might ‘not neede ony interpretour, but shal be able to speake them your self’.

    £1750

  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. [BLADEN, Martin.]

    An impartial enquiry into the management of the war in Spain, by the ministry at home, and into the conduct of...

    London, John Morphew, 1712.

    First edition of this examination of the British participation in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) down to 1710, with particular emphasis on the years 1703–7. The author, Martin Bladen (1680–1746), ‘matriculated at St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1697 and in the same year was...

    £425

  14. BLANCHARD, Edward Litt Leman.

    A Pipe of Tobacco: with Whiffs and Clouds … With Illustrations.

    London: H. Beal … [1840s?].

    First edition, by the editor and play- and pantomime-writer E.L. Blanchard, comprising three ‘whiffs’ and two ‘clouds’ on the subject of tobacco, aimed ‘at a niche in the waistcoast pocket, rather than a more presuming station on the library shelf’. Blanchard knew Dickens and was in...

    £125

  15. [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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. [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

  19. 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

  20. BRATHWAITE, Richard.

    Natures Embassie: or, the Wilde-mans Measures: danced naked by twelve Satyres, with sundry others continued...

    [London,] Printed for Richard Whittaker. 1621.

    First edition of a substantial collection of satires, elegies and eclogues. The structure is somewhat chaotic, as is common with Braithwaite, and different sections are dedicated variously to Thomas Huett, Lady Philadelphia Wharton (daughter of Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth), and Thomas Ogle.

    £13500