English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees

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. RE-REPRESENTATION (THE)

    : 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...

    £350

  2. REXROTH, Kenneth.

    An Autobiographical Novel …

    Garden City, NY, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966.

    First edition, inscribed ‘In friendship / for Geoffrey Bridson / Kenneth Rexroth SF June 66’.

    £300

  3. [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.

    £950

  4. RICCOBONI, Marie-Jeanne.

    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.

    £950

  5. [RICHARDSON, Jonathan].

    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...

    £1600

  6. RICHARDSON, Joseph.

    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.

    £100

  7. [RICHMOND.]

    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...

    £2750

  8. [RIVERS, David].

    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:

    £1500

  9. R., N.

    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.

    £1750

  10. ROBINSON, Mrs. Mary (Darby).

    Lyrical Tales …

    London, Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … by Biggs and Co. Bristol, 1800.

    First edition, a revisionary response to Lyrical Ballads (1798) by the actress turned royal mistress turned author, Mary ‘Perdita’ Robinson, published only eight days before her death.

    £1250

  11. ROGERS, Samuel.

    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...

    £150

  12. 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...

    £400

  13. 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...

    £450

  14. ROTH, Henry.

    Call it Sleep.

    London: Michael Joseph, 1963.

    First English edition, first published in New York by Robert O. Ballou in 1934.

    £250

  15. [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...

    £575

  16. [ROZIER.] 

    Le rozier historial de France contenant deux roziers.  Le p[re]mier rozier contient plusieurs belles rozes et boutons...

    Paris, [Gilles Couteau for François Regnault], 26 February 1522 [i.e. 1523]. 


    First edition, the very handsome Fairfax-Murray copy, of the Rozier historial de France

    £25000

  17. RUFIANDER, Fabius Jocosus, pseud. [Friedrich Julius ROTTMANN]. 

    Curiöse Inaugural Disputation von dem Recht / Natur /...

    ‘Teutschland, Gedruckt in denen Hundes-Tagen, 1716.’ 

    First edition, very rare, of this satirical academic disputation on melancholy, dedicated to the author’s ‘unpleasant and universally despised’ peers in the hope of cheering them up (p. [4] trans.). 

    £675

  18. SANCROFT, William.

    Familiar Letters of Dr. William Sancroft, late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, to Mr. North, afterwards Sir Henry...

    London, Printed for M. Cooper … and sold by Mr. Chreigton [sic] at Ipswich. 1757.

    First edition: ‘pleasant, chatty, and jocose’ letters from 1652-93 (original DNB), and useful source material for the life of the nonjuring Archbishop of Canterbury.

    £350

  19. SANDYS, George.

    A Paraphrase upon the divine Poems …

    London, At the Bell in St. Pauls Churchyard. 1638. [Colophon: London, Printed by John Legatt 1637.]

    First edition, the issue with the Dedication to Charles I on the title-verso.

    £900

  20. [SANDYS, John].

    The Salopian Zealot: or, the good Vicar in a bad Mood. By John the Dipper …

    Sold by G. Keith, and J. Buckland, in London;— T. Evans, Bristol; and by the Booksellers in Salop, Liverpool, &c. [1778].

    First edition of a lively verse contribution to an increasingly acrimonious pamphlet war between Baptists. When Samuel Medley preached on the necessity of adult baptism, Richard De Courcy replied with his Letter to a Baptist-Minister (Shrewsbury, 1776) insisting on infant baptism. More pamphlets...

    £575