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. [WILLIAMS, David.]

    Lessons to a young prince, by an old statesman, on the present disposition in Europe to a general revolution....

    Dublin, William Jones, 1791.

    First Dublin edition of this popular introduction to practical political philosophy by the Welsh polemicist, educationalist, and philosopher David Williams (1738–1816).

    £275

  2. [WILLIAMS, John.]

    The History of the Gunpowder-Treason, collected from approved Authors, as well popish as protestant.

    London, Richard Chiswel, 1678.

    First edition of an anti-popish history of the Gunpowder Plot. A well informed account drawing on both Anglican and Catholic sources, The History of the Gunpowder-Treason was published anonymously by John Williams (1633/6–1709), later Bishop of Chichester, amid renewed interest in the subject during...

    £750

  3. WILLICH, Anthony Florian Madinger.

    Lectures on Diet and Regimen: being a systematic Inquiry into the most rational Means of preserving...

    London: Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … 1799.

    Second edition, much revised and expanded, printed in the same year as the first: ‘Many important and useful articles have been added, especially in the fifth Chapter, “Of Food and Drink.”’ Willich’s very popular manual was based on a series of lecture given by the eminent physician at Bath...

    £375

  4. WILMOT, John and Wentworth DILLON.

    The Miscellaneous Works of the Right Honourable the late Earls of Rochester and Roscommon. With...

    London Printed: and sold by B. Bragge … 1707.

    First edition, oddly scarce, of the combined works of Rochester and Roscommon, prefaced by Evremont’s lively biographical account of Rochester. This collection formed the basis of most later-eighteenth-century editions (though without the second part, the miscellany of poems by others). It is the...

    £1250

  5. WILSON, Thomas.

    The Pitman’s pay, and other poems.

    Gateshead, William Douglas, 1843.

    First collected edition of the works of the Tyneside miner turned poet Thomas Wilson (1773-1858). The Pitman’s pay – Wilson’s chief literary work – ‘is a metrical description, much of it in mining patois, of the incidents and conversations of the colliers on their fortnightly Friday...

    £75

  6. WISE, Francis.

    A Letter to Dr Mead concerning some Antiquities in Berkshire, particularly shewing that the White Horse, which gives...

    Oxford, Printed for Thomas Wood … 1738

    First editions. A Letter to Dr Mead was the first serious archaeological study of the Uffington White Horse. Francis Wise, Keeper of the Archives at Oxford University and later a friend of Samuel Johnson, contends that the horse, which he eulogises as a work of art, had Saxon origins, because...

    £350

  7. WITHER, George.

    The Psalmes of David translated into Lyrick-Verse, according to the Scope, of the Original, and illustrated, with...

    [Amsterdam:] Imprinted in the Netherlands by Cornelis Gerrits van Breughel, 1632.

    First edition, dedicated to Princess Elizabeth, the ‘Winter Queen’, daughter of James I. The translation, a companion to Wither’s Hymnes and Songs of the Church, was written at the request of James, and finished shortly before his death in 1625: ‘I was commanded to perfect a Translation...

    £3200

  8. WITHER, George.

    Speculum Speculativum: or, a Considering-Glasse; being an Inspection into the present and late sad Condition of...

    London, Written June XIII. MDCLX. and there Imprinted the same year [1660].

    The third of three editions in the same year, from an entirely new setting of type, with ‘Glasse’ rather than ‘Glass’ on the title-page, the errata formerly printed on L8 corrected, and the errors corrected in the caption title on p. 1

    £525

  9. WOLLSTONECRAFT, Mary, and William BLAKE (illustrator).

    Mary Wollstonecraft’s original Stories, with five Illustrations … with...

    London, Horace Hart for Henry Frowde, 1906.

    Later edition of Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories, illustrated by William Blake.

    £50

  10. WOOLLEY, C. Leonard and Thomas Edward LAWRENCE.

    The Wilderness of Zin ... With a Chapter on the Greek Inscriptions by M.N. Tod....

    London: The Alden Press for Jonathan Cape, 1936.

    Second English edition. The Wilderness of Zin originally appeared as the Palestine Exploration Fund Annual for 1914-1915, and was the first work by Lawrence to appear in book form. However, it was included in the P.E.F. series on somewhat disingenuous grounds: ‘During January and February 1914,...

    £150

  11. WORDSWORTH, William.

    Lyrical Ballads, with a Pastoral and other Poems, in two Volumes … Third Edition.

    London: Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … by Riggs and Cottle …. 1802.

    Second complete edition, with the Preface much enlarged and a new ‘Appendix’ on poetic diction (pp. 237-247 in volume II), one of the key theoretical texts of English Romanticism. For this edition, two poems were omitted, Coleridge’s ‘The Dungeon’ and Wordsworth’s ‘A Character’, several...

    £3000

  12. WORDSWORTH, William.

    A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns: occasioned by an intended Republication of the Account of the Life of...

    London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown …1816.

    First edition. James Currie’s Works of Burns with a life and letters was first published in 1800 and several times reprinted and enlarged.

    £1500

  13. WORDSWORTH, William [and Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE].

    Lyrical Ballads, with other Poems. In two volumes … second Edition. London:...

    by Biggs and Co. Bristol. 1800.

    Second, definitive, and first complete edition of Lyrical Ballads. To volume I (first published at Bristol in 1798, reissued in London in the same year) Wordsworth added his famous preface, the manifesto of the Romantic movement – calling for, among other things, a poetry of ‘common life’, adopting...

    £5000

  14. WYCHERLEY, William.

    The Posthumous Works … in Prose and Verse. Faithfully publish’d from his original Manuscripts, by Mr. Theobald....

    London: Printed for A. Bettesworth, J. Osborn, W. Mears, W. and J. Innys, J. Peele, T. Woodward; and F. Clay. 1728.

    First edition of an important collection, comprising 308 maxims, one short essay and a large number of previously unpublished poems (the third paginated sequence), based on manuscripts acquired from Captain Thomas Shrimpton, Wycherley’s sole executor.

    £850

  15. WYCHERLEY, William.

    Miscellany Poems: As Satyrs, Epistles, Love-Verses, Songs, Sonnets, &c ...

    London, Printed for C. Brome ... J. Taylor ... and B. Tooke ... 1704.

    First edition of a substantial collection of previously unpublished poems, edited from Wycherley’s manuscripts in a last-ditch attempt to relieve him from debt. ‘It was badly misjudged. Poems on a womans’s “Fair Back-Side” and on another’s “Fine Breasts” were entirely at odds with the...

    £875

  16. [YOUNG, John].

    A Criticism on the Elegy written in a Country Church Yard. Being a Continuation of Dr. J-----n’s Criticism on...

    London: Printed for T. Cadell … 1783.

    First edition, the rare issue with Cadell’s name in the imprint, of which ESTC lists two copies (Glasgow University and Library Company of Philadelphia); almost all copies have a G. Wilkie imprint.

    £750

  17. ZAPPI, Giambattista and Faustina.

    Rime di Giambattista Felice Zappi e di Faustina Maratti sua consorte.

    Nice, Società Tipog. 1781.

    Uncommon Nice printing of the collected poetry of one of the most prominent literary couples of early 18th century Rome, Faustina Maratti (1679–1745) and her husband Giambattista Zappi (1667–1719). First published after Zappi’s death in 1723, the collection consists of 73 poems by Zappi and 38...

    £200