English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees, Ted Hofmann or Alexander Laar

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. [THEATRE].

    La locanda commedia da rappresentarsi in Firenze nel Teatro di Via del Cocomero nell’autunno dell’anno 1756.

    Florence, Pietro Gaetano Viviani, 1756.

    Sole edition, extremely rare (no other copy listed in library catalogues), of this three-act comedy, a notable example of the new Italian comedy inspired by Goldoni. This work appears to echo Goldoni’s La vedova scaltra (1748), while developing the plot and the theme along original trajectories....

    £400

  2. [THE OLD MAID.]

    Six lithograph plates with verses below: ‘When I was a girl of eighteen years old …’.

    c. 1835?

    Apparently unrecorded – an attractive illustrated edition of a popular slip-ballad, here reduced to 8 verses of the original 13.

    £750

  3. THOMAS, Dylan, and Sir Peter Blake, illustrator.

    Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices.

    London: Apple Litho (Bristol) Ltd. for Enitharmon Editions and Queen Anne Press, 2013.

    De Luxe edition, number 61 of 100 copies with a signed print by Blake. This finely-produced edition was published to mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth and celebrates the culmination of over twenty-five years of work by Peter Blake, one of the founding fathers of British Pop Art. The...

    £975

  4. [THOMPSON, Thomas].

    The genuine tryal of Dr. Nosmoth, a physician in Pekin; for the murder of the Mandarine Tonwin…

    London, Mary Cooper, 1746.

    First edition, a satire, putting Dr. Nosmoth, aka Thomas Thompson, on trial for causing the death of ‘Mandarine Tonwin’, aka Thomas Winnington, the Paymaster of the Forces. The somewhat shady circumstances surrounding the death soon attracted the attentions of Society gossip, including being discussed...

    £350

  5. THOMSON, James.

    Essays and Phantasies …

    London: Reeves and Turner … 1881.

    First edition of a volume of essays by the author of The City of Dreadful Night. Most are probably reprinted from the National Reformer, the Secularist, or Cope’s Tobacco Plant, to which ‘the laureate of pessimism’ was a regular contributor.

    £150

  6. THORNBURY, George Walter.

    Art and Nature at Home and Abroad …

    London: Hurst and Blackett, Publishers, Successors to Henry Colburn … 1856.

    First edition: an early collection of essays by Thornbury (1828-1876), a prolific (and famously cacographic) writer who is closely associated with Dickens for his work on Household Words and All the Year Round (‘one of Charles Dickens’s most valuable contributors’; Dickens, Letters,...

    £450

  7. THORNBURY, Walter and Edward WALFORD.

    Old and New London. A narrative of its history, its people, and its places. London, Cassell...

    [with] Greater London… London, Cassell and Company, Ltd. 1898.

    The definitive guide to London’s history from the Roman era to the modern day. Covering all the major localities of the Capital, the work addresses the evolution, and occasional demolition, of various areas and buildings, along with the personal touch through accounts of significant occasions, riots,...

    £300

  8. THUCYDIDES.

    ΘΟΥΚΥΔΙΔΗΣ. THVCYDIDES.

    (Colophon:) Venice, Aldus, May 1502.

    A handsome copy of the first edition of the Greek text of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, printed by the great Aldus Manutius, with an interesting provenance.

    £25000

  9. TOMKINS, John, John FIELD and John BELL.

    Piety Promoted, ou, la Pieté promuë, ou avancée: contenant un Recueil de derniéres...

    A Londres: se vend chez la Veuve Hinde … 1770.

    First edition, the first French translation of Piety Promoted, a compilation of the ‘dying words’ of notable Quakers, many from North America, originally published in three parts by John Tomkins (1701-6; ‘the first and a very influential example of an important Quaker form’, Oxford...

    £250

  10. TOMPSON, John, editor.

    English Miscellanies consisting of various Pieces of Divinity, Morals, Politicks, Philosophy and History;...

    Gottingen by Abram. Vandenhoeck, Printer and Bookseller to the University 1746.

    Second edition, revised, of John Tompson’s important English Miscellanies, expanded to almost twice the size of the first edition, including up-to-date content published since 1737.

    £800

  11. TOOKE, John Horne.

    Two pairs of portraits, presented to all the unbiassed electors of Great-Britain, and especially the electors...

    London, J. Johnson and J. Stockdale, 1788.

    First edition of this celebrated comparison of two generations of Pitts and Foxes, by the clergyman and political radical John Horne Tooke. Although one might have thought him more naturally a Foxite, Tooke never got on with Fox, and here lays out, side by side, the ways in which Pitt father and son...

    £250

  12. [TORBUCK, John].

    A Collection of Welsh Travels and Memoirs of Wales. Containing I. The Briton Describ’d, or a Journey thro’...

    London: Printed for and sold by J. Torbuck … 1738.

    First edition of this compilation of whimsical works about Wales, reissued and published as though under the auspices of Swift.

    £1100

  13. [TOWER OF LONDON.]

    View of the awful conflagration at the Tower of London, October 31st 1841, and immense loss of national property.

    London, J. Fairburn, [1841].

    An uncommon broadside, with a striking hand-coloured woodcut, recording the devastating fire which consumed the Grand Storehouse at the Tower of London in October 1841, an event also sketched in watercolour by J.M.W. Turner.

    £600

  14. [TRADE CARD.]

    John Blundell, Engraver.

    In Honey-Suckle Court, Grubb-Street, London. 1742.

    A fine and rare trade card for the jobbing engraver John Blundell, the engraved text (in several different hands to demonstrate skill at lettering) surrounded by an ornate border of angels, putti and tools (compasses, palette, easels, busts, burins, sketches, and a map at the head).

    £600

  15. TRUBETZKOY, Nikolai Sergeevich.

    Das morphonologische System der russischen Sprache.

    Prague, Jednota československých matematiků a fysiků, 1934.

    First edition, published as the second part of Description phonologique du russe moderne; the first part, Roman Jakobson’s ‘Phonologie général du mot’, was published later.

    £350

  16. TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

    The Tunbridge Wells Guide; or an Account of the ancient and present State of the Place, to which is added a particular...

    Tunbridge Wells, Printed and sold by J. Sprange, at his Circulating Library. Sold also in London, by Rivington Booksellers … ‘1786’...

    The Tunbridge Wells Guide apparently first appeared in 1780; reissues and/or new editions, partly from standing type, with variously erratic pagination and a steady accretion of content, appeared throughout the 1780s and 1790s. ‘The hurry in putting this to the press,’ an ingenuous Preface...

    £500

  17. [TWISS, Horace].

    Posthumous Parodies and other Pieces, composed by several of our most celebrated Poets, but not published in any...

    London: Printed for John Miller. 1814.

    First edition. Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Pope and Johnson are among the poets parodied.

    £150

  18. TYRTAEUS and CALLINUS.

    Les chants...traduits en vers par Firmin Didot.

    Paris, Firmin Didot, pere et fils, 1827.

    One of only 100 copies - all hors de commerce - of this deluxe folio Didot edition of some of the oldest martial elegy verses of the Western tradition: the surviving works of the Spartan poet Tyrtaeus and the Ephesian poet Callinus (7th-6th century BC). The text is preceded by an engraved Lettre...

    £4000

  19. [WAGNER, Richard.]

    Wagner Festival. Royal Albert Hall, May 1877. Selections from the German texts of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Rienzi,...

    London: [The Elzevir Press for] Hodge and Essex, [but 1877].

    First edition, very rare, an attractive volume collecting the separately-issued programmes for the initial run of six concerts during the first Wagner Festival at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1877, with a general title-page. The texts are printed in German and English in parallel – the first...

    £2500

  20. WALFORD, L[ucy] B[ethia].

    The Mischief of Monica … in three Volumes …

    London, Longmans, Green, & Co. … 1891.

    First edition. Born in Edinburgh in 1845, Walford began writing secretly soon after her marriage, contributing stories to Blackwood’s and other periodicals. Her family voiced serious disapproval upon the publication of her first novel, Mr Smith: A Part of his Life, in 1874; it was, however,...

    £425