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. SHERBURNE, Sir Edward. 

    Salmacis, Lyrian & Sylvia, Forsaken Lydia, the Rape of Helen, a Comment thereon, with severall other Poems...

    London, W. Hunt, for Thomas Dring, 1651. 

    First edition of a charming book of Caroline poetry, original and translated, in a most sympathetic and well-preserved collector’s binding. This is the first issue; it was reissued in the same year under the title Poems and Translations, amorous, lusory, morall, divine, reflecting the divisional...


  2. SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley.

    The Speech … in the House of Commons, (8th December 1802) on the Motion for the Army Establ shment...

    London: Printed for John Stockdale … 1802

    First edition of Sheridan’s impressive speech on the army estimates, in support of funding precautions against Buonaparte’s aggression – ‘the crisis in which we are placed … so big with tremendous importance, so pregnant with mighty difficulties, so full of apprehensions and dangers ….’...


  3. [SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley].

    The School for Scandal. A Comedy. As it is acted at the Theatre, Smoke-Alley, Dublin. [Dublin], Printed...

    [Dublin], Printed for the Booksellers. 1793

    First separate illustrated edition. The plates, newly engraved, are based on plates in A Volume of Plays [by Sheridan and others] performed at the Theatre, Smoke-Alley, Dublin, 1785 and following. They illustrate Act IV, Scene 1 (the Surface family portraits) and Act IV, Scene 2 (the screen scene). The...


  4. SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley. 

    The School for Scandal, a Comedy [– The Critic …; – The Rivals …; – A Trip to Scarborough...

    Dublin, William Porter for William Jones, 1792 [– 1793]. 

    The first attempt to publish a collected edition of Sheridan’s dramatic works, forming the fifth volume of The British Theatre, an assembly of pirated plays by the Dublin bookseller William Jones. 


  5. [SHIPLEY, William].

    Comparative Observations on two of the Poems which were honoured with Prizes in a late Certamen at Ch. Ch....

    York: Printed in theYear 1767

    First edition of an undergraduate prank in which the future Dean of St. Asaph ridicules the awarding of prizes by the Dean of Christ Church and his fellow judges to two Latin poems written in honour of a visit by the Prince of Brunswick. An ironic dedication to the Dean is followed by the text of the...


  6. SMITH, Albert.

    Marguerite de Bourgogne. A Tradition of ancient Paris …

    London: Richard Bentley … 1845.

    First separate edition, printed for private circulation and very rare, comprising a portion (though complete in itself) of Smith’s three-decker The Adventures [or Fortunes] of the Scattergood Family (1845), with a new half-title and title-page.


  7. SMITH, Albert.

    A large archive of printed and manuscript material, including drafts of shows and lectures, including portions of...

    [1820s to 1860s.]

    Albert Richard Smith (1816–1860) trained as a surgeon but shortly afterwards turned to the world of letters, becoming a regular contributor to Bentley’s Miscellany and Punch; he adapted works by his friend Dickens for the theatre and edited The Man in the Moon (1847–9). ‘During...


  8. SMITH, Arthur Henderson.

    Chinese characteristics …

    Shanghai, printed and published at the “North-China Herald” office, 1890.

    First edition of this important and influential work on China by the American missionary Arthur Henderson Smith (1845–1932), for many decades the most widely read American book on the Chinese.


  9. SMITH, William.

    The Speeches of Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, in...

    Philadelphia printed, London reprinted for John Stockdale, 1794.

    First London edition, a rebuff to the punitive anti-British tariffs proposed by the future President James Madison, first printed in Philadelphia in the same year and also reprinted in Edinburgh.


  10. [SMOLLETT, Tobias].

    The Adventures of Roderick Random … in two Volumes … The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Osborn … 1748.

    Second edition, with ‘major imaginative changes’, and frontispieces which appear here for the first time. Even though there were only a few weeks between the first and second editions, Smollett found time to make a number of significant corrections in the text, on average about one substantive change...


  11. SMOLLETT, Tobias.

    The Expedition of Humphry Clinker … The second Edition …

    London, Printed for W. Johnston … and B. Collins … 1771.

    Second edition of Smollett’s acknowledged masterpiece, printed in the same year as the first. The story describes, in epistolary form, the journey of the Matthew Bramble, a hypochondriac Scot, and his family round Britain in search of a cure for his various ailments. The titular Humphry Clinker...


  12. SOPHOCLES. POUND, Ezra, translator.

    Women of Trachis. A Version by Ezra Pound.

    London, Neville Spearman, [1956].

    First edition, inscribed by the editor Denis Goacher ‘For Geoffrey [Bridson]: Nov. ’56 / This milestone / Just missed witnessing / The total collapse of / D. G.’ – Bridson had co-produced the play for BBC radio in April 1954.


  13. [SORKOČEVIĆ, Antun, also known as Antoine de SORGO.] 

    Fragments sur l’histoire politique et littéraire de l’ancienne...

    Paris, Imprimerie de Madame Porthmann, 1839. 

    First edition, very scarce, of this collection of short pieces on Dubrovnik by the Croatian writer and composer Antun Sorkočević (1775–1841). 


  14. SOUTHEY, Robert.

    The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale …

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

    First trade edition of Southey’s laureate ode on the occasion of the marriage of Princess Charlotte to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, dedicated to her. There was also a private edition in octavo on large paper. Tinker 1962.


  15. SPENSER, Edmund. 

    The Works of Edmund Spenser. 

    Oxford, The Shakespeare Head Press, 1930 [– 1932]. 

    Limited edition, numbered 123 of 375 copies, of the handsome Shakespeare Head Spenser, one of the most significant works of the press. 


  16. SPRAT, Thomas.

    Observations on Monsieur de Sorbier’s Voyage into England. Written to Dr. Wren ...

    London, Printed for John Martyn, and James Allestry, Printers to the Royal Society. 1665.

    First edition. When Samuel de Sorbière published his polemical Relation d’un Voyage en Angleterre (1664), touching on defects in the English nation and character, Thomas Sprat, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, composed an angry reply in the form of a letter to Christopher Wren (both were stalwarts...


  17. STEVENSON, Robert Louis.

    Poems …

    London, [Florence Press for] Chatto & Windus, 1913.


  18. STILLINGFLEET, Edward.

    Sermons preached on several Occasions to which a Discourse is annexed concerning the true Reason of the...

    London, Printed by Robert White, for Henry Mortlock … 1673.

    First edition thus, comprising twelve sermons preached 1666-72 and ‘A Discourse concerning the Suffering of Christ’ (pp. 239-384); six of the sermons and the ‘Discourse’ were first published in 1669.


  19. STRABO.

    Strabonis geographicorum lib. XVII ... iam denuo a Conrado Heresbachio … ad fidem Graeci exemplaris, authorumque …...

    Basel, Johann Walder, 1539.

    Second edition of Strabo’s masterful Geographica in the Latin translation of the German Humanist and friend of Erasmus, Konrad Heresbach (1496–1576), here found with the first Latin translation of an epitome of Strabo’s work by the Basel professor of physic and logic, Hieronymus Gemusaeus...


  20. STRAPAROLA, Giovanfrancesco.

    Le piacevoli notti di messer Giovanfrancesco Straparola da Caravaggio.

    Venice, Domenico Giglio, 1558.

    An early edition of both volumes of Straparola’s Facetious nights, first published in 1550–53.