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.
P. Rami ... Oratio de legatione.
Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.
First (?) edition: a fascinating pamphlet marking a critical epoch in the history of the University of Paris and the first occasion on which Ramus came into prominence as champion of his University and of higher education in general.
Harangue ... touchant ce qu'ont faict les deputez de l’Université de Paris envers le Roy. Mise de Latin en Francois.
Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.
First French-language edition of the above, issued simultaneously with the Latin text and presumably translated by Ramus himself. Apart from La Dialectique, this is one of Ramus’ very few works in the vernacular. Very rare.
Poetick Miscellanies …
London, printed for Samuel Tidmarsh, 1687.
First edition. Writing from the isolation of Newcastle, then a rural parish in fell country, Rawlet developed a mode of religious and descriptive poetry distinctly out of step with his own age, as is acknowledged by the editor in a verse preface: ‘Reader, expect not here, the filth of th’...
Directions left by a Gentleman to his Sonns: for the Improvement of barren and heathy Land, in England and Wales.
London, Printed by E. T. and R. H. for R. Royston … 1670
Sole edition of one of the first books in English devoted to soil conservation. The dedication is signed Gabriel Reeve and dated from Hackney, 14 April 1670.
REMARKS ON FOG’S JOURNAL,
of February 10. 1752/3. Exciting the People to an Assassination.
London: Printed for J. Wilford …1733
First edition. In order to reduce the burden of the land tax on the country gentlemen upon whom his ministry depended, and to shift government revenues to other sources, Walpole revived the excise on salt and was considering substituting excise for customs duties on wine and tobacco. This led to alarms...
[RENNEVILLE, Sophie de (?).]
Contes a Aglaé, ou la jeune moraliste.
Paris, Caillou, c.1820.
Very uncommon edition, possibly the first, of this collection of educational contes moraux, sometimes attributed to the prolific children’s author and journalist Sophie de Renneville (1772–1822). Aimed at children of both sexes, the book contains sixteen short contes on subjects ranging...
: or, a modest Search after the great Plunderers of the Nation: being a brief Enquiry into two weighty...
London, Printed in the Year, 1711.
First edition, the issue with ‘known. I.’ (rather than ‘known, viz. I.’) on the title-page, and with ‘against’ and ‘publick’ spelled correctly on pages 11 and 25. As the half-title and title-page form a bifolium cancelling A1 (the text begins on A2, page 3), the two variants were probably...
An Autobiographical Novel …
Garden City, NY, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966.
First edition, inscribed ‘In friendship / for Geoffrey Bridson / Kenneth Rexroth SF June 66’.
[REYNOLDS, Joshua, Sir].
A Discourse, delivered at the Opening of the Royal Academy, January 2, 1769 [also: October 16,...
London: Printed in the Year 1769.
First editions of seven discourses addressed by Reynolds to the newly founded Royal Academy, of which he was the first President.
Histoire de Miss Jenny, ecrite & envoyée par elle à Milady, Comtesse de Roscomond, Ambassadrice d’Angleterre...
A Paris, Chez Brocas & Humblot, Libraires … 1764.
First edition of a scarce epistolary novel of English manners, by the anglophile French writer Madame Riccoboni, a friend and correspondent of Garrick, Hume and Adam Smith, and a publicist for the cause of English literature in France.
The general Address (in two Parts) of the Outinian Lecturer to his Auditors …. London: Printed by W....
London: Printed by W. Nicol, late Bulmer & Co. … 1822
First edition, very rare. The Address is a revised version of the valedictory lecture given on 31 December 1818 to mark the centenary of the death of William Penn. It gives an explanation of the origins of the Society and then is entirely directed to the career and particularly the principles of William...
The Fugitive: a Comedy. As it is performed at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket …
London: Printed for J. Debrett … 1792.
First edition of the first play by Sheridan’s friend, the writer and politican Joseph Richardson, proprietor of the Morning Post and later of the Drury Lane Theatre (by 1796 he had a £12,000 stake); this is the second issue, with sheets K-M reset to add extra dialogue to Act V, scene I.
The Belvidere: a Poem. Inscrib’d to Joseph Grove, Esq. of Richmond, in the County of Surrey …
London: Printed in the Year 1749.
First edition, rare (British Library and Yale only) of a very attractive description in verse of a country estate in Richmond. The first pages offer a prospect of the garden with its flowers and shrubs, shaded walks and arbours, a bower with the escutcheon over the door of the late Sir William...
Literary Memoirs of living Authors of Great Britain, arranged according to an alphabetical Catalogue of their...
London: Printed for R. Faulder … sold also by T. Egerton … and W. Richardson … 1798.
First edition of a collection of literary biographies, including perhaps the earliest brief life of Coleridge, whose first volume of Poems had appeared in 1796:
Proverbs English, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish. All Englished and alphabetically digested …
London, Printed for Simon Miller … 1659.
First and only edition of a scarce collection of idiomatic phrases and proverbs, many translated from other languages, with a selection of 114 ‘Golden sentences’ at the end.
Recollections of the Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers. To which is added Porsoniana.
London: Edward Moxon ... 1856.
First edition of this mine of contemporary literary gossip. Rogers is among that select group of poets to have declined the laureateship, and his poetry once had an ardent fan in Byron, who saw him as a much needed antidote to the Lake poets. His most durable achievement, however, has proved to be his...
ROSCOMMON, Wentworth Dillon, Earl of.
Poems … to which is added an Essay on Poetry, by the Earl of Mulgrave, now Duke of Buckingham....
London: Printed for J. Tonson … 1717.
First edition of this collection, notable for Richard Duke’s unfinished Review, a vehement satire in response to, and in the allegorical manner of, Absalom and Achitophel, and featuring Dryden as one of the figures satirised. According to Tonson in the preface, it was written ‘a little after the...
ROSCOMMON, Wentworth Dillon, Earl of.
An Essay on Translated Verse … London, Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1684.
London, Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1684
First edition. Roscommon’s influential Essay, in heroic couplets, owes much to Boileau and to the author’s own education in France after the attainder of his kinsman the Earl of Strafford. Dryden, an intimate friend and himself the translator of Boileau’s Art of Poetry in the preceding year, contributes...
Call it Sleep.
London: Michael Joseph, 1963.
First English edition, first published in New York by Robert O. Ballou in 1934.
[ROYAL PRUSSIAN SOCIETY OF SCIENCES.]
Miscellanea berolinensia ad incrementum scientiarum, ex scriptis societati regiae scientiarum...
Berlin, Johann Christoph Papen, 1723.
First continuation of Leibniz’s Miscellanea berolinensia. First appearing in 1710, the publication of the Miscellanea was revived in 1723 as the official journal of the Royal Prussian Society of Sciences after the death of Leibniz, its founding President. The Continuatio comprises...