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. 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

  2. [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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. [TOPSELL, Edward, and PLINY the Elder.] BYRNE, M. St Clare (editor).

    The Elizabethan Zoo: A Book of Beasts, both...

    Cambridge, W. Lewis at the University Press, for London, Frederick Etchells & Hugh MacDonald, 1926.

    Limited edition, numbered 304 of 525 copies. ‘This is not a “child’s book of bad beasts”: it is composed of selections from the most serious and substantial books of zoology that were available for educated Englishmen in Shakespeare’s day. Designed originally to edify, to lead men to...

    £75

  9. [TREATIES.]

    Volume of tracts on European treaties of peace and alliance.

    Vienna and Amsterdam, 1725-1731.

    A collection of scarce texts relating to the Peace of Vienna (1725) and subsequent treaties of Hanover (1725), Paris (1727), Seville (1729), and Vienna (1731), with contemporary manuscript additions in Italian and French clearly composed by someone in diplomatic service. The collection eloquently...

    £1750

  10. 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

  11. TURNER, Sharon.

    The sacred history of the world, as displayed in the creation and subsequent events to the deluge. Attempted to...

    London, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman, 1832 [– 1834; – 1837].

    First edition, each volume with a presentation letter from the author (dated 1 March 1832, 12 December 1834, and 27 March 1837 respectively) to the classical scholar Thomas Gaisford.

    £500

  12. [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

  13. [UNGER, Salomo Gottlob.]

    Geschichte des Oesterreich-Russischen und Türkischen Krieges, in den Jahren von 1787. bis 1792. Nebst...

    Leipzig, Wilhelm Gottlob Sommer, 1792.

    First and only edition, extremely rare, of this account of the Austro-Turkish War of 1788-1791, and of the concurrent Russo-Turkish war of 1787-92. It includes the full texts of the Treaty of Sistova of 4 August 1791 and of a separate convention attached to it, in both French and German. While...

    £1250

  14. VERLAINE, Paul, and Léon LEBÈGUE (illustrator).

    Fêtes gallantes.

    Paris, F. Ferroud for the Librairie des Amateurs, 30 July 1913.

    Limited edition on vélin teinté d’Arches, numbered 430 of 500 copies, with etchings by Lebègue. First published in 1869, Verlaine’s Fêtes gallantes are here exquisitely printed and illustrated by Léon Lebègue (1863 – 1944) and finely bound by Flammarion.

    £750

  15. [VETTORI, Antonio].

    Sferza poetica contro i costumi d’oggidi. Del D.A.V. mantovano frà gli Arcadi di Roma Oribaste Didimense....

    [Colophon]: Si vende in Fierra di Venezia da Domenico Pompeati, 1777.

    Uncommon collection of sonnets musing on contemporary vices, seemingly the only published work by the Mantua poet, and member of the Roman Arcadi, Antonio Vettori. Divided into two parts, the collection contains 28 sonnets, each with accompanying notes, on subjects including the theatre, games, women,...

    £350

  16. 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

  17. WALKER, George.

    Don Raphael, a Romance …

    London: Printed for G. Walker; and T. Hurst; by Exton ... 1803.

    First edition. ‘In order to satisfy the omnipresent needs of the Gothic industry, Walker apparently felt obliged to turn out a Gothic’s Gothic made up of fragments of Walpole, Beckford, Lewis, Radcliffe, and the cheap and tawdry Gothic chapbooks flooding the bookstalls. The dubious product...

    £3250

  18. WALKER, John.

    Hints for Improvement in the Art of Reading ...

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by T. Cadell ... G. Robinson ... and T. Becket ... 1783

    First edition. The future lexicographer John Walker (1732-1807) left grammar school and then absconded from an apprenticeship to join a succession of provincial theatre companies. Garrick hired him in 1754 and for the next four years he performed a number of mainly minor parts at Drury Lane. In 1758...

    £650

  19. WALLER, Edmund.

    Poems, &c. written upon several Occasions, and to several Persons ... Never till now corrected and published with...

    London, Printed for Henry Herringman ... 1664.

    The first authorised edition, which repudiates in its preface all of the 1645 printings (‘When the Author of these verses ... returned from abroad some years since, He was troubled to find his name in print, but somewhat satisfied to see his lines so ill rendred that he might justly disown them, and...

    £500

  20. WALLER, Edmund.

    Poems, &c. written by Mr. Ed. Waller … and printed by a Copy of his own Hand-Writing. All the lyrick Poems in...

    London, Printed by I. N. for Hu. Mosley … 1645.


    Second, first licensed, edition of Waller’s first and most important collection, published while he was in exile, and shortly preceded by an unlicensed volume, Workes (London, Thomas Walkley, 1645) (Wing W 495) – ‘an adulterate Copy, surreptitiously and illegally imprinted, to the derogation...

    £850