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. AUDEN, W.H. Collected poems.

    Edited by Edward Mendelson.

    London, Faber and Faber, 1976.

    First edition. Denis Healey’s copy, with his signature dated 1976 to front free endpaper, his occasional marginal pencil marks, and a few notes to rear pastedown. Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey (1917-2015) served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970, Chancellor of the Exchequer from...

    £75

  2. AUDEN, Wystan Hugh.

    Louis MacNeice, a memorial Address, delivered at All Souls, Langham Place on 17 October, 1963.

    Privately printed for Faber & Faber, [1963].

    First edition, one of 250 copies.

    £150

  3. AUDEN, Wystan Hugh, and Christopher ISHERWOOD.

    The Dog beneath the Skin or where is Francis? A Play in three Acts.

    London, Faber and Faber Limited, [1954].

    Sixth impression. When Bridson had reviewed the play on its first publication in 1935 (along with two other works), he thought it ‘very good fun … as slick, symbolical and smart-Alecky as The Orators’, though the versification of the choruses was ‘on the slack side’. In 1965 Bridson...

    £100

  4. AUDEN, Wystan Hugh, and Chester KALLMAN.

    The Magic Flute.

    London, Faber & Faber, [1957].

    First UK edition. Auden composed his translation of the Magic Flute libretto in 1956, in honour of the bicentenary of Mozart’s birth, working in conjunction with his friend and erstwhile lover, the American translator and librettist Chester Kallman (1921–1975). The dialogue is written in...

    £125

  5. [AUGUSTINE, Saint, attributed author.]

    The Meditations of Saint Augustine, from the Latin Original. By the Rev. J. Martin,...

    Dublin: Printed for the Author, by H. Fitzpatrick … 1798.

    First edition of this rare translation of the pseudo-Augustinian Meditationum Liber, an eleventh-century devotional text very popular in the Middle Ages.

    £1250

  6. [BAGE, Robert].

    Hermsprong; or, Man as he is not. A Novel … By the Author of Man as he is.

    London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press … 1796.

    First edition of Bage’s last and finest novel.

    £2400

  7. [BALLANTINE, E.]

    Natural History of Quadrupeds, for Children, combined with an Attempt to engraft on the youthful Mind the Principles...

    London, Harvey & Darton, 1824.

    A scarce work, second edition, the first edition to be attributed to ‘a lady’. An attractive natural history for children, the work was first published in 1813 ‘by the Author of The Decoy’, an educational work on English grammar; this second edition is the first to credit ‘a lady’...

    £400

  8. BARDUZZI, Bernardino.

    A Letter in Praise of Verona [1489]. In the original Latin Text with an English Translation by Betty Radice.

    Verona, [Officina Bodoni,] 1974.

    First edition, No. 34 of 150 copies: an elegant facsimile reprint of one of Verona’s rarest incunables. Barduzzi’s eulogistic letter to Giovanni Nesi was first printed in 1489 by Paulus Fridenperger. The Latin text is followed here by an English translation and a biographical postscript by Giovanni...

    £375

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. BAUR, Fidelis. 

    Geschichte der Hohenzollernschen Staaten Hechingen und Sigmaringen von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf unsere Tage,...

    Sigmaringen, Bucher & Liener, 1834-6.

    First edition.  Perched on the Zollenberg, just south of Hechingen, is the castle of Hohenzollern, which gave its name to the ruling house of Brandenburg–Prussia from 1415 to 1918, arguably the most powerful family in German history.  The ancestral lands were divided in 1575 by Count Karl...

    £350

  12. 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

  13. BEATTIE, James.

    Original Poems and Translations.

    London: Printed [by F. Douglas, Aberdeen?]; and sold by A. Millar, 1760.

    First edition of Beattie’s first collection. It is always described as his first book, but it is in fact preceded by an unique Elegy on Mrs Walker (1759), discovered by us in 1991 and now in the National Library of Scotland (but still not listed by ESTC).

    £450

  14. 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

  15. [BECKFORD, William.]

    Vathek, conte Arabe.

    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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. [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). 

    £500

  19. [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

  20. BERNIER DE MALIGNY, Aristippe-Félix. 

    Art du comédien.  Principes généraux.  Recueillis et mis en ordre par Aristippe, 1819. 

    Paris, Louis Raymond, [1819]. 

    Very rare broadside encapsulating the ‘art of the actor’, by the thespian and theoretician Aristippe-Félix Bernier de Maligny, who would later develop his ideas further in his 1826 book Théorie de l’art du comédien. 

    £875