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.
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.
‘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.  trans.).
Povesti. Nad propast’iu vo rzhi [Catcher in the Rye]… Rasskazyi.
Moscow, Molodaya Gvardiya, 1965.
First printing in Russia and first Russian translation of Catcher in the Rye (1951), together with other works by Salinger which also appear here for the first time. The translation of Salinger’s classic novel was approved by the censor, as they considered Holden Caulfield’s dissolute coming-of-age...
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.
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.
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. .
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...
Iacobi Sannazarii Opera omnia latine scripta, nuper edita.
Venice, heirs of Aldus Manutius and Andreas Asulanus, September 1535.
Enlarged posthumous Aldine edition of the collected Latin works of the Neapolitan poet Jacopo Sannazaro.
The Mine: a dramatic Poem.
London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand. 1785
First edition of Sargent’s poem on quicksilver mines, replete with subterranean gnomes. The poem was inspired by a fantastical story of misbehaving Austrian aristocrats who are forced to labour in the mines as punishment, told in letters quoted in the introduction. In the footnotes Sargent explores...
[SARPI, Paolo (pseud.).] ‘Pietro Soave POLANO’.
Historia del Concilio Tridentino di Pietro Soave Polano. Seconda...
Geneva, Pierre Aubert, 1629.
Second edition, the first to omit the extraneous additions of the 1619 edition introduced by Marco Antonio de Dominis, of the influential and groundbreaking history of the Council of Trent by Paolo Sarpi (1552–1623), described by Milton as ‘the great unmasker’.
SAUSSURE, Ferdinand de.
Cours de Linguistique générale.
Lausanne & Paris, Payot, 1916.
First edition. In general the study of language in the 19th century concerns philology. While great steps were made at the beginning of that century to put the study of language on a scientific basis, the vital distinction was not made between philology and non-historical linguistics. Saussure made...
Le Marquis ridicule, ou la comtesse faite à la haste. Comedie … Suivant la copie imprimée a Paris.
[Leiden, Elzevier], 1656.
First Elzevier editions, very rare, of these two plays by Scarron, pirated after the text of the first editions printed in Paris. A finely bound volume with excellent Elzevierian provenance.
SCHÜBLER, Johann Jakob.
Amor, vehementer quidem flagrans; artificiose tamen celatus, de Pantalonis custodiaque triumphans, intentato...
Augsburg, Johann Michael Probst, [c. 1770?].
Rare series of twelve engravings inspired by the Italian commedia dell’arte, one of the most beautiful books of the German Rococo, engraved by Johann Balthasar Probst after original illustrations by the architectural painter, sculptor, and mathematician Johann Jakob Schübler.
SCOTT, Sir Walter.
The Vision of Don Roderick; a Poem ... Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for John Ballantyne ...
Edinburgh; and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, London. 1811
First trade edition, third impression (correcting the pagination), preceded by a private edition described as ‘Author’s Copy’ on the title-page.
SCOTT, Sir Walter.
The Lady of the Lake … with all his Introductions and Notes, various Readings, and the Editor’s Notes.
Edinburgh, Robert Cadell, 1851.
An attractive Scottish 'Mauchline ware' tartan binding. Mauchline ware bindings – the name comes from Smith’s boxware factory at Mauchline in Ayrshire – were made from thin wooden boards (often sycamore) decorated with tartan or pictorial designs, heavily varnished, and attached to the text...
Autograph letter, signed, to an unnamed recipient.
Paris, 21 January, [1840, 1845, or 1851].
The dramatist Augustin-Eugène Scribe (1791–1861) thanks the unnamed recipient for his invitation but politely regrets that he is unable to attend. He explains that he had fully intended to come and had already arranged with ‘Monsieur Pichot’ to go together with him. However, Scribe’s wife had...
SENECA, Lucius Anneus.
Tragoediae pristinae integritati restitutae, per exactissimi judicii viros post Avantium & Philologum …
Paris, Badius Ascensius, 1514.
First edition edited by Erasmus and Badius Ascensius, a landmark in the history of Seneca’s textual tradition. This key work, the product of a collaboration between two wholly committed humanists, cannot have been accomplished without some friction: Erasmus had allowed Badius to make use of...
[SHAFTESBURY, Anthony Ashley [Cooper], third Earl of].
Several Letters written by a noble Lord to a young Man at the University …
London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1716.
First edition, posthumously published. The ten letters here were written by Shaftesbury to a protégé, Michael Ainsworth, whilst at Oxford (1707-1710). Shaftesbury’s own teacher, John Locke, features in a number of them, receiving from his erstwhile pupil both praise (‘No one has done more towards...
[SHAKESPEARE]; ‘HAMILTON, N.E.S.A.’ [i.e. COLLIER, John Payne].
An inquiry into the genuineness of the manuscript corrections...
London, Richard Bentley, 1860.
First edition, the result of research by the Keeper and Assistant Keeper of manuscripts at the British Library, Frederic Madden and Nicholas Hamilton.
The Works of Shakespeare, the text of the First Folio with Quarto variants and a selection of modern...
[Cambridge, University Press for] The Nonesuch Press, and New York, Random House, 1929 [– 1933].
First Nonesuch edition, number 220 of 1600 copies, not only handsomely printed and bound but also an important scholarly edition, collating the texts of the First Folio against variants in preceding quarto editions.
SHAW, Eyre Massey, Capt.
Report … to the Right Hon. the Secretary of State of the Home Department concerning the Fire which occurred...
London: Printed for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode … 1888.
First edition of Shaw’s account of the disastrous fire at the Theatre Royal, Exeter, in 1887.