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. POSTEL, Guillaume.

    De originibus, seu, de varia et potissimum orbi Latino ad hanc diem incognita, aut inconsyderata historia, quorum...

    Basle, Johannes Oporinus, [1553].

    First edition of Postel’s investigations into the original language as a means to regain the primordial unity of mankind.


  2. [POTE, Joseph].

    Les Delices de Windsore; or a Description of Windsor Castle, and the Country adjacent, treating, I. Of the Castle....

    Eton: Printed by Joseph, and Thomas Pote, 1755.

    First edition of a much-reprinted pocket companion to Windsor ‘for the use of Strangers, and other Persons, who visit this our Royal Castle’. It is ‘for the most part an Extract from a larger Work publish’d in Quarto a few Years since’ (Pote’s own work The History and Antiquities of Windsor...


  3. [POUND.] 

    Ezra Pound at Seventy.

    [New York, New Directions, 1955.] 

    A small celebratory booklet printing tributes by Auden, Cummings, Eliot, Hemingway (‘Will gladly pay tribute to Ezra but what I would like to do is get him the hell out of St. Elizabeth’s’), Archibald Macleish, Jose de Pina Martins, Marianne Moore, Norman Pearson, Spender, and Edith Sitwell.


  4. POUND, Ezra.

    How to Read …

    London, Desmond Harmsworth, [1931].

    First edition, a fine association copy. Agnes Bedford (1892-1969) was a lifelong friend of Pound (they first met in 1919 and corresponded until 1963 when he unexpectedly severed contact) and through him of Wyndham Lewis, with whom she had an affair in the 1920s. A vocal coach and accompanist,...


  5. POUND, Ezra.

    The Letters … 1907-1941. Edited by D. D. Paige

    … London, Faber & Faber, [1951].

    First English edition, an association copy.


  6. POUND, Ezra.

    The Translations … with an Introduction by Hugh Kenner.

    London, Faber & Faber, 1953.

    First edition. Gallup A66.


  7. POUND, Ezra.

    The Classic Anthology defined by Confucius.

    London, Faber & Faber, 1955.

    First English edition, first printing, comprising sheets of the Harvard University Press edition (1954) with a cancel Faber title-page.


  8. POUND, Ezra.

    Section: Rock-Drill. 85-95 de los Cantares.

    Milan, All’insegna del pesce d’oro [Scheiwiller], 1955.

    First edition, No. 347 of 500 copies, inscribed on the front free endpaper ‘To Geoffrey, “in alta stima” from D. / 6. 7. 56.’, with Bridson’s note identifying this as the actor and producer Denis Goacher.


  9. POUND, Ezra.

    H. S. Mauberley, tradotto di Giovanni Giudici con tre disegni inedita di Jean Cocteau.

    Milan, all’insegna del pesce d’oro [Scheiwiller], 1959.

    First edition, no. 141 of 1000 copies, a parallel-text Italian translation of Pound’s modernist masterpiece Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920).


  10. POUND, Ezra.

    Thrones. 96-109 de los cantares.

    Milan, All’insegna del pesce d’oro [Scheiwiller], 1959.

    First edition, no. 10 of 300 copies, one of the early copies with a misprint in l.9 on p. 85, cancelled in manuscript by the publisher.


  11. POUND, Ezra.

    Quia Pauper amavi.

    London, The Egoist Ltd, [1919].

    First edition, one of 500 ordinary copies (there were also 100 signed copies on handmade paper’, inscribed ‘Bridson / 11 April ’59 / Ezra Pound’. This work contained the first English publication of Cantos I-III, not printed in that order.


  12. POUND, Ezra.

    Selected Poems.

    The New Classics Series. [New York, New Directions, 1949.]

    First edition, inscribed in a characteristic mix of the formal and the faux-Cockney ‘Geoffrey Bridson certified + worthy owner hereof. / To which mi ’and [i.e. my hand]/ Ezra Pound / 9 A[ugust?] ’56’. The book was given to the BBC Broadcater D.G. Bridson on the occasion of his visit...


  13. POUND, Ezra, and Ernest FENELLOSA.

    Introduzione ai Nô, con un drama in un atto di Motokiyo: Kagekiyo.

    Milan, All’insegna del pesce d’oro [Scheiwiller], [1958].

    Third edition, translations of Pound’s ‘Introduction’ and one play from Certain Noble Plays of Japan by his daughter Mary de Rachewiltz. This third edition added ‘Un intervallo di 40 anni’ by Pound, dated November 1958.



    London: Printed for The Religious Tract Society … and sold at their Depository … also by J. Nisbet...

    [c. 1827]

    First edition. A finely illustrated anthology of religious verse, contemplations, and prayers for children. Pieces include poems on the seasons and stories about a Welsh Shepherd, and ‘The Hill and the Valley’, all with heavily metaphorical content.


  15. [PRIMER.] 

    Abbecedario per imparar facilmente a sillabicare, coll’aggiunta di varie orazioni ad uso delle scuole. 

    Turin, Giacinto Marietti, [c. 1840?]. 

    A seemingly unrecorded Torino-printed primer, with a series of syllabised phrases on devotion and morality. 


  16. PRIOR, Matthew.

    Poems on several Occasions.

    London: Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1709.

    First authorised edition, preceded by Curll’s pirated collection of 1707. In the preface Prior complains that in Curll’s edition poems by other authors have been misattributed to him and that some of his own poems are ‘transcribed … so imperfectly, that I hardly knew them to be mine’....


  17. [PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich (contributor).]

    Сѣверные цвѣты на 1825 годъ [Severnye tsvety na 1825...

    St Petersburg, Department of Public Education, 1825 [Moscow, Universitetskaia tip., 1881].

    Rare nineteenth-century Moscow reprint of the exceptionally rare first issue of Northern flowers, one of the most celebrated Russian literary anthologies, edited by Pushkin’s great friend Delvig. The 1825 issue included the first appearance of four passages from part ii of Eugene...


  18. PYNCHON, Thomas.

    Gravity’s Rainbow.

    New York: The Viking Press, [1973].

    First edition. ‘Gravity’s Rainbow is literally indescribable, a tortured cadenza of lurid imaginings and total recall that goes on longer than you can quite believe’, wrote critic Michael Wood on first publication of this, Pynchon’s magnum opus:


  19. RADCLIFFE, Ann.

    The Mysteries of Udolpho, a Romance; interspersed with some Pieces of Poetry ... in four Volumes ...

    London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson ... 1794.

    First edition of a cornerstone of gothic fiction, ‘a book so rich in Gothic ideas and techniques that its far-reaching influence can scarcely be overstated … Its wild and lush landscapes became ubiquitous too, in the imagination of contemporaries, and it is no surprise to find Keats, in 1818, writing...


  20. RAMSAY, Allan.

    The Gentle Shepherd, a Scotch Pastoral … attempted in English by Margaret Turner.

    London: Printed for the Author, by T. Bensley; and sold by G. Nicol … and by Mrs. Turner … 1790.

    First edition of this parallel-text translation of Ramsay’s Scots verse drama, a subscriber’s copy from the library of Mary, Lady Vincent, née Chiswell, wife of Sir Francis Vincent (1747–1793), resident consul at Venice.