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. SUETONIUS et al.

    In hoc volumine haec continentur. C. Suetonii Tranquilli XII caesares. Sexti Aurelii Victoris a D. Caesare...

    Venice, in aedibus Aldi et Andreae Soceri, May 1521.

    Second Aldine edition (first August 1516) of Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars and Eutropius’ Abridgement of Roman History, with Paul the Deacon’s continuation, this copy formerly in the possession of Petrus Paganus (1532–1576), German neo-Latin poet, humanist, and notorious drinker,...

    £2250

  2. SULIVAN, Richard Joseph.

    Philosophical Rhapsodies. Fragments of Akbur of Betlis. Containing Reflections on the Laws, Manners, Customs...

    London: Printed for T. Becket … Bookseller to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and their Royal Highnesses the Princes. 1784-5.

    First edition of this eccentric travel-inspired treatise drawing upon the author’s experience in India and his travels in Europe. The prefatory ‘advertisement’ establishes the fiction that ‘the following fragments were written by a native of Assyria [Akbur], who … was removed to the continent...

    £950

  3. [SURTEES, Robert Smith,] and John LEECH (illustrator).

    Handley Cross series.

    London, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., 1899-1900.

    Limited ‘Master of Foxhounds’ edition, finely printed at the Whitefriars Press. Having published the first editions of several of Surtees’s sporting novels, Bradbury, Agnew, & Co. gathered and reprinted the six most successful as the ‘Handley Cross series’ as luxury sets. Publisher’s...

    £1200

  4. [SWEDENBORG, Emanuel].

    De nova Hierosolyma et ejus Doctrina Coelesti: ex Auditis e Coelo. Quibus praemittitur aliquid de Novo Coelo...

    Londoni: [Printed by John Lewis,] 1758.

    First edition of Swedenborg’s ‘New Jerusalem’, in which he describes a new church based on faith, charity and the unification of existing protestant churches.

    £975

  5. [SWIFT, Jonathan].

    Miscellanies in Prose and Verse.

    London: Printed for John Morphew ... 1711.

    First edition, ordinary paper issue, the very rare first state, with G6-7 preserved (though slashed for cancellation); the cancellans was printed on A8, not here present.

    £1250

  6. SWIFT, Jonathan.

    The Works of J. S, D. D, D. S. P. D. in four Volumes … In this Edition are great Alterations and Additions;...

    Dublin: Printed by and for George Faulkner, Printer and Bookseller … 1735.

    First 12mo. edition of the first collected Works of Swift, preceded by octavo edition earlier in the year. Here the chronological arrangement in volumes I and II has been altered and one piece, ‘Prometheus’ (a later insertion), moved from volume IV to its correct place in volume II.

    £1250

  7. [SWIFT, Jonathan.]

    On Poetry: a Rapsody.

    Printed at Dublin, and Re-printed at London: and sold by J. Huggonson ... and at the Booksellers and Pamphlet-shops ... 1733.

    First edition. On Poetry, one of Swift’s most important productions in verse, was early recognized as a masterpiece and would have achieved considerable favour for Swift at court had not Lord Hervey ‘undeceived Q[ueen] C[aroline] and taken some pains to teach her the use and power of...

    £750

  8. SWIFT, Jonathan (attr.).

    The Life and genuine Character of Doctor Swift. Written by Himself.

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … and sold at the Pamphlet Shops … 1733.

    First edition. Authorship of this fine poem has long been debated. It was explicitly repudiated by Swift himself, though it has much in common with Verses on the Death of Doctor Swift and Faulkner printed it as genuine in 1746.

    £1000

  9. SWINBURNE, Algernon Charles.

    Ode on the Proclamation of the French Republic, September 4th, 1870 ...

    London: F. S. Ellis ... 1870.

    First edition. On 4 Septemeber 1879, two days after the final capitulation of the French army at Sedan and the surrender of Napoleon III to the King of Prussia, the republican deputies at Paris proclaimed the end of the imperial dynasty and the foundation of the provisional government that was to become...

    £100

  10. TACITUS, C. Cornelius; Justus LIPSIUS and Hugo GROTIUS (editors).

    [Opera] C. Corn. Tacitus ex I. Lipsii editione...

    Leiden, Elzevir, 1640.

    First edition with Grotius’s notes, elegantly bound in early nineteenth-century English morocco. Elzevir had published an edition of Lipsius’s Tacitus in 1634; Dibdin notes ‘Of these elegant little editions [of 1634 and 1640], that of 1640 is preferred, on account of its having the notes...

    £500

  11. [TALFOURD, Thomas Noon].

    Ion; a Tragedy, in five Acts. To which are added a few Sonnets. Second Edition.

    London: Printed by A. J. Valpy ... for private Circulation. Not published. [1835]

    Second private edition of Talfourd’s blank verse tragedy, adding a small group of eight sonnets not in the first edition (also privately printed, 1835), and with a new preface: ‘Having exhausted the small impression which was originally printed of Ion, and finding that there are yet friends in whose...

    £250

  12. TASSO, Torquato.

    Il Goffredo overo Gierusalemme liberata del sig. Torquato Tasso. Con le figure intagliate in rame dal Tempesta.

    Rome, Filippo de Rossi, 1657.

    Attractive copy of the 1657 illustrated pocket Gerusalemme Liberata, reprinting the successful Rome edition of 1607. It includes Tasso’s Allegoria del poema, printed as introduction to the poem, and is enlivened throughout by one of the famous cycles of engravings produced by Tempesta.

    £400

  13. TEMPLE, Sir William.

    An Introduction to the History of England …

    London, Printed for Richard Simpson … and Ralph Simpson … 1695

    First edition. Newly arrived in England from Trinity College, Dublin, Swift in 1689 entered upon a ten-year period as secretary to Sir William Temple at Moor Park near Farnham in Surrey. ‘Partly thanks to Swift’s support several of Temple’s important works were published in the 1690s, notably the...

    £450

  14. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Maud, and other Poems …

    London: Edward Moxon … 1855.

    First edition, containing the first appearance in book form of ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. The poem was originally printed in The Examiner in December 1854.

    £150

  15. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Maud, and other Poems …

    London: Edward Moxon … 1855.

    First edition, containing the first appearance in book form of ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. The poem was originally printed in The Examiner in December 1854.

    £150

  16. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Ballads and other Poems.

    London: C. Kegan Paul & Co. … 1880.

    First edition. Wise, Tennyson 138; Tinker 2093.

    £75

  17. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    The Cup and the Falcon.

    London: Macmillan and Co. 1884.

    First published edition, preceded by a ‘trial’ edition of 1882 recorded by Wise as surviving in one known copy – in his own collection. The Cup was first performed in 1881 with Sir Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. Wise, Tennyson 146; Tinker 2096.

    £75

  18. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    Locksley Hall Sixty Years after etc.

    London: Macmillan and Co. … 1886.

    First edition. Wise, Tennyson 156; Tinker 2098.

    £60

  19. TENNYSON, Alfred Lord.

    The Princess: a Medley … Fourth edition.

    London: Edward Moxon … 1851.

    Fourth edition, with ‘changes of very considerable importance’ (Wise), written when Tennyson was honeymooning with the Marshalls in 1850. The Princess (first 1847) is the only volume of poetry that Tennyson was to publish in the later 1840s, while finishing In Memoriam (1850). The poem...

    £275

  20. TENNYSON, Arthur, Lord.

    Enoch Arden, etc.

    London: Edward Moxon & Co. … 1864.

    First edition, the issue with the earliest (August) state of Moxon’s inserted 8-page catalogue. Wise, Tennyson 107; Tinker 2083.

    £100