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. BUQUOY, Georg Franz August de Longueval, Freiherr von Vaux, Graf von.

    Anregungen für philosophisch-wissenschaftliche Forschung...

    Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1825.

    First edition, rare, of a comprehensive discussion by the author of his personal philosophy, with c. 50 pages of his poetry thrown in at the end for good measure. Samuel Hahnemann refers to the work in Die chronischen Krankheiten (1828–30), calling Buquoy a ‘deep-thinking, many-sided scholar and...

    £950

  2. BURNEY, Charles.

    An Account of the musical Performances in Westminster-Abbey, and the Pantheon, May 26th, 27th, 29th; and June...

    London, Printed for the Benefit of the musical Fund; and sold by T. Payne and Son ... 1785.

    First edition. The Handel Commemoration Concerts of 1784, conceived the previous year by Viscount Fitzwilliam, Sir Watkins Williams Wynn and Joah Bates to celebrate the centenary of the birth of George Frederick Handel, were performances on a scale then unprecedented in England. On the morning of Wednesday...

    £1250

  3. [BURY, Lady Charlotte].

    The Exclusives. In three Volumes ...

    London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley ... 1830.

    First edition of a society novel written after the enormous success of Marianne Spencer Stanhope’s Almack’s (1826), a roman à clef centred on the fashionable assembly rooms in St. James’s. In The Exclusives Lady Tilney plans a new coterie as Almack’s is in decline (‘that...

    £950

  4. [BUTLER, John].

    Some Account of the Character of the late Right Honourable Henry Bilson Legge.

    London: Printed for J. Almon … 1764.

    First edition. Henry Bilson Legge (1708-1764), three times chancellor of the exchequer between 1754 and 1761, attracted both respect and censure. To Pitt, he was ‘the child, and deservedly the favourite child, of the Whigs’. Horace Walpole, on the other hand, thought him a man ‘of a creeping, underhand...

    £200

  5. BYRON, George Gordon, Lord.

    Poems original and translated … Second Edition.

    Newark: Printed and sold by S. and J. Ridge; sold also by B. Crosby and Co … Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme … F. & C. Rivington … and...

    Unacknowledged reprint of the ‘second’ [i.e. first] edition of Poems original and translated, printed by Ridge without Byron’s permission. As the first printing ran out Ridge told Byron that he had reprinted some sheets to make up a few more copies; in fact he was to continue to reprint...

    £550

  6. [BYRON, George Gordon, Lord].

    Lara, a Tale. [and] Jacqueline, a Tale [by Samuel Rogers].

    London: Printed for John Murray … 1814.

    First edition, Randolph’s fourth variant (with the crooked roman numeral on p. 82 and the fallen period on p. 20). By 1814 Byron was heavily pressed by debts, having previously refused payment for his poems. For Lara, the fourth of Byron’s Levantine poems, published on the back of The Corsair...

    £400

  7. CADOGAN, William Bromley.

    The Felicity of God’s Children, considered in a Sermon, preached upon the Death of a Lady, in the parish...

    Reading: Printed and Sold by Smart and Cowslade; and sold by J. Rusher, Reading; Messrs. Robinsons, V. Griffiths ... & J. Matthews ... London;...

    First edition, a funeral sermon by the popular preacher William Bromley Cadogan, a friend of John Newton, for the local widow Maria Littlehales, printed at the request of her children. A younger son of the third Earl of Cadogan, the well-connected churchman was vicar of St. Giles, Reading, and rector...

    £75

  8. CAESAR, Caius Julius.

    Rerum gestarum commentarii XIV … omnia collatis antiquis manuscriptis exemplaribus, quae passim in Italia,...

    Frankfurt, Georg Rab for Jacopo Strada, 1575.

    First Strada edition of Caesar’s Commentaries, with woodcut illustrations, annotated by the Feuillants against François Hotman. Prepared by the humanist scholar Jacopo Strada (1507 – 1588), Rab’s edition prints Caesar’s Commentaries with Aulus Hirtius’s additions, Eutropius’s epitome of...

    £1650

  9. CAMPBELL, Thomas.

    Autograph letter, signed, to the novelist and socialite Lady Morgan, explaining why he cannot join her party.

    ‘Wednesday Morning’, no date, but late 1840.

    ‘I have been dying also several times during the last six months – I hope however to survive a few weeks when I shall be nearer to you when, in my new house in Victoria Square, I shall hope to see you frequently.’ Campbell suffered increasing ill health towards the end of his life, but continued...

    £175

  10. ČAPEK, Karel.

    Meteor … Translated by M. and R. Weatherall.

    London, George Allen & Unwin, [1935].

    First edition in English of Povětroň [Meteor] (1934), with a signed presentation inscription from Čapek to Václav Palivec on half-title, dated 1936. In 1935, Palivec, the brother of Čapek’s sister’s husband, gave Čapek and his new wife as a wedding present the use of a house in...

    £1500

  11. CARDONNEL, Adam de.

    Picturesque Antiquities of Scotland [I–II] …

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by Edwards … also by Edwards’s, in Halifax. 1788.

    First edition, the very rare issue with the plates in sepia, printed directly onto thick wove paper.

    £975

  12. CAREL DE SAINTE GARDE, Jacques.

    Les sarrazins chassez de France. Poëme heroïque ...

    Paris, chez Claude Barbin, 1667.

    Rare first edition of this poetic account of the expulsion of the Saracens from France by Childebrand I (c. 678 – 751), written by Jacques Carel de Sainte Garde (1620 – 1684), almoner and counsellor to Louis XIV. Prefaced by a short treatise on versification in heroic poetry, the poem runs...

    £350

  13. CAREY, Henry.

    The Dramatick Works …

    London: Printed by S. Gilbert, 1743.

    First collected edition, published in the year of Carey’s death, with his final revisions, ‘not only free from the errors of false and spurious editions, published without my knowledge and consent, but (upon this occasion) revised and improv’d, even from my own original copies’.

    £650

  14. CAREY, Henry.

    Poems on several Occasions … Third Edition, much enlarged.

    London: Printed by E. Say, 1729.

    ‘Third edition’, in fact a substantially different work from the two rare (and much less substantial) pamphlet collections of 1713 and 1720. This copy has a single-leaf ‘Additional List of Subscribers’ bound before the main text and not recorded in ESTC.

    £650

  15. CARR, Lisle.

    Judith Gwynne …

    Henry S. King & Co. … London, 1873

    First edition, a scarce romance-cum-society novel.

    £200

  16. CARROLL, Lewis [i.e. Charles Lutwidge DODGSON].

    Useful and Instructive Poetry. With an Introduction by Derek Hudson.

    London, Butler & Tanner Ltd for Geffrey Bles, 1954.

    First edition. Useful and Instructive Poetry was Lewis Carroll’s first book, composed in 1845 (when its author was thirteen) and written out for his siblings Wilfred Longley Dodgson and Louisa Fletcher Dodgson. It was the first in a series of family magazines and was inspired in part by W.M....

    £100

  17. ‘CARROLL, Lewis’ [i.e. Charles Lutwidge DODGSON].

    Feeding the Mind ... With a Prefatory Note by William H. Draper.

    London, Billing and Sons, Ltd for Chatto and Windus, 1907.

    First edition in book form, wrappers issue. ‘A short paper or lecture delivered in Oct. 1884 in the Derbyshire vicarage of Alfreton before a public audience. It is a comparison of feeding the mind with feeding the body in such points as proper food at proper intervals (a “fat mind”), mastication...

    £100

  18. CARROLL, Lewis [i.e. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson].

    The hunting of the Snark. An agony in eight fits ... with nine illustrations by...

    London, Macmillan and Co., 1876.

    First edition of this characteristically dark nonsense poem, dedicated to Gertrude Chataway, Carroll’s dearest child friend after Alice. The Easter greeting was inserted into every copy of the first edition after printing at Carroll’s own expense.

    £650

  19. ‘CARROLL, Lewis’ [i.e. Charles Lutwidge DODGSON].

    Sylvie and Bruno …

    London, Macmillan and Co. 1889.

    First editions, presentation copies inscribed ‘Lizzie Wilcox from her affte Cousin the Author / Dec. 12. 1889’ and ‘Lizzie Wilcox, from her affectionate Cousin the Author / Dec. 27, 1893’ (two days before publication), a fine association:

    £2750

  20. [CARTOUCHE.]

    The Life and Actions of Lewis Dominique Cartouche: who was broke alive upon the Wheel at Paris, Nov. 28. 1721. N.S....

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1722.

    First edition in English, published in the same year as the French original. Louis Dominique Bourguignon, alias ‘Cartouche’ (1693-1721), began his life of crime stealing fruit from women at the gates of his Jesuit school and books from his wealthy classmates. To avoid punishment for theft he fled...

    £1750