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. 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

  2. BARETTI, Giuseppe.

    An Introduction to the Italian Language. Containing Specimens of both Prose and Verse ... with a literal Translation...

    London, Printed for A. Millar, in the Strand, 1755.

    First edition. Giuseppe Baretti (1719–1789) offers a fine range of examples for learning Italian selected from twenty-seven authors, including Castiglione, Machiavelli, Galileo, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Tasso, Michelangelo, Petrarch, and Milton (one of his Italian sonnets, a choice perhaps prompted...

    £650

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. BEAUHARNOIS, Félicité (pseudonym?).

    Zoraïm, ou les aventures d’un musulman; traduit de l’Anglois, par la c. Félicité Beauharnois,...

    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.

    £750

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. [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

  10. 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

  11. [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

  12. 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

  13. BENTLEY, Richard.

    A Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris, Themistocles, Socrates, Euripides, and Others; and the Fables of Aesop.

    London, Printed by J. Leake, for Peter Buck … 1697.

    First edition, the separate issue, of what is arguably the greatest and most familiar exposure of a literary forgery, demolishing the attribution of celebrated ‘ancient’ texts on linguistic and historical grounds.

    £750

  14. [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

  15. [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

  16. 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

  17. [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

  18. 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

  19. [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

  20. 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