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. 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

  2. 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

  3. [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

  4. [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

  5. URCEO, Antonio [or Codro].

    Hoc Codri volumine haec continentur. Orationes, seu sermones ut ipse appellabat. Epistolae. Silvae....

    Bologna, Giovanni Antonio Benedetti, 7 March 1502.

    First edition of a quintessential piece of Italian humanism, annotated by a sixteenth-century reader particularly interested in the philology of the texts.

    £3000

  6. 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

  7. VERTOT, Abbé de.

    The History of the Revolutions of Portugal. By M. l’Abbe de Vertot, member of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions...

    Glasgow, printed by R. Urie for D. Baxter, 1750.

    Uncommon first Glasgow edition of this English translation of the Histoire des révolutions de Portugal, a classic account of the Portuguese Restoration War against Spain (1640-1668) by the French historian René-Aubert Vertot (1655–1735).

    £150

  8. VIRGIL Maro, Publius, and Giovanni Andrea dell’ANGUILLARA (trans.). 

    Il primo libro della Eneida di Vergilio,...

    Padua, Gratioso Perchacino, 1564. 

    First edition of the first book of Anguillara’s verse translation of the Aeneid, a copy printed on strong paper and inscribed by the author.  The humanist, poet, and successful translator of Ovid Giovanni Andrea dell’Anguillara (1517–1572) undertook to translate into Italian ottava...

    £2500

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. WALLER, Edmund. 

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

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

    Second (but 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...

    £850

  13. WALTON, Izaac.

    The Lives of Dr John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr Richard Hooker, Mr George Herbert … to which are added some Letters...

    London, printed by Tho. Newcomb for Richard Marriott … 1670.

    First collected edition of Walton’s celebrated lives of poets and divines. ‘If its rarity was as great as its merit it would be one of the most coveted books of the period’ (Pforzheimer). The biography of Wotton was published as part of Reliquiae Wottonianae (1651); Walton’s life of Donne first...

    £850

  14. WALTON, Izaak.

    The Life of Dr. Sanderson, late Bishop of Lincoln ... to which is added, some short Tracts or Cases of Conscience,...

    London, Printed for Richard Marriott. 1678.

    First edition, the last of Walton’s five celebrated Lives.

    £400

  15. WAPPEROM, Jacobus Joannes. 

    Gezangen door J.J. Wapperom. 

    The Hague, 1805. 

    Very rare collection of songs by the Dutch notary and poet Wapperom (1763–1822), one of only a small number of copies produced, decorated by the author himself and distributed among his friends and family. 

    £675

  16. [WARTON, Thomas, the younger.]

    The Pleasures of Melancholy. A Poem …

    London: Printed for R. Dodsley … and sold by M. Cooper … 1747.

    First edition of Warton’s second publication, preceded by Five Pastoral Eclogues (1745), and written at that time, though Warton also contributed to his brother Joseph’s Odes on various Subjects (1746). The Pleasures of Melancholy was Warton’s first major poem, a meditative...

    £400

  17. [WEDDING POETRY.]

    Applausi alli felicissimi sponsali dell’illustrissimo Sig. Cavaliere Deifebo Perini Brancadori, con l’illustrissima...

    Siena, Stamperia del Pubblico, 1699.

    Seemingly unrecorded collection of sonnets written to mark the marriage of two Sienese nobles, Deifebo Perini Brancadori and Ottavia Orlandini. The fourteen sonnets, whose authorship remains unknown, take inspiration from the family name of the groom and aspects of the arms of both families, with...

    £350

  18. [WESTMINSTER ELECTION.]

    A True and impartial Collection of Pieces, in Prose and Verse, which have been written and published on...

    London: Printed for W. Owen … 1749.

    First edition. A compilation of open letters to the electorate of Westminster, written during the violent 1749 election campaign. Despite the brutality which characterised the election the editor hopes the letters might be impartially considered for their merits: ‘As many smart pieces were written...

    £750

  19. WETZELL, Madame.

    Les Matinées de la poupée, ou récréations d’une petite fille.

    Paris, J. Langlumé, [1844?].

    First and only edition, very rare, of a charming illustrated account of a girl’s doll. Brillantine, a doll, is given to Célénie for company while her elder sister Alméa is in Africa; the book recounts in detail their relationship over the course of a week, from Brillantine’s arrival with...

    £450

  20. [WHITEHEAD, William.]

    Variety. A tale, for married people.

    London, for J. Dodsley, 1776.

    First edition of this verse fable on married life by William Whitehead (1715-85), the son of a Cambridge baker who rose to become fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, a successful playwright, and poet laureate in succession to Colley Cibber. ‘Variety’ is the tale of a well-read rural maid who marries...

    £100