English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees, Ted Hofmann or Alexander Laar

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. BROUGHAM, Henry Lord.

    Albert Lunel. A Novel ... In three Volumes ...

    London: Charles H. Clarke ... [1872].

    First edition, Sadleir’s ‘really scarce’ fourth state, with (instead of the half-titles) the following notice: ‘“Albert Lunel” was written by the late Lord Brougham in the years Eighteen Hundred and Forty-four, but for private reasons of his Lordship’s, was not published. London, March...

    £450

  2. [BROWNE, Sir Thomas.]

    A true and full Coppy of that which was most imperfectly and surreptitiously printed before under the Name...

    [London,] Printed for Andrew Crooke: 1645.

    Third authorized edition, correcting some of the errata. Religio Medici, written in the 1630s, was originally circulated in manuscript among Browne’s friends. He was surprised to see it put into print without his consent in 1642, ‘in a most depraved copy’. An authorized edition, revised to remove...

    £600

  3. BROWNE, Sir Thomas.

    Pseudodoxia Epidemica: or, Enquiries into very many received Tenents, and commonly presumed Truths ... The...

    London, Printed by A. Miller, for Edw. Dod and Nath. Ekins ... 1650.

    Second edition revised. ‘The publisher’s claim ... “corrected and much enlarged by the Author” was fully justified. New chapters and paragraphs were freely inserted and some excisions were made. Many technical terms and quotations in the original languages were dropped, rhetorical questions were...

    £950

  4. BROWNE, Sir Thomas.

    Posthumous Works ... printed from his original Manuscripts. Viz. I. Repertorium: or, the Antiquities of the...

    London: Printed for E. Curll ... and R. Gosling ... 1712.

    First edition of a collection of miscellaneous pieces previously unpublished (apart from A Letter to a Friend), including Browne’s valuable account of the antiquities of Norwich cathedral, letters, ‘An Account of Island aliàs Ice-land’ (a paper for the Royal Society), and the account of the Brompton...

    £1250

  5. BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett.

    Poems before Congress …

    London: Chapman and Hall … 1860.

    First edition of a slender collection of seven poems on the cause of Italian independence, and one attacking slavery in the United States (‘A Curse for a Nation’). The Congress of the title had been planned for Paris in January 1860, but Austria withdrew on learning that Napoleon III meant to use...

    £200

  6. BROWNING, Robert.

    Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day. A Poem …

    London: Chapman & Hall … 1850.

    First edition of the first poem to appear after Browning’s marriage to Elizabeth Barrett. Ashley, I, 118; Wise, Browning, pp.17-18; Tinker 418.

    £175

  7. [BROWN or BROWNE, Nicholas].

    The North-Country-Wedding, and the Fire, two Poems in blank Verse …

    Dublin: Printed by A. Rhames, for J. Hyde, Bookseller … 1722.

    First and only edition, rare, of the only published work by the Fermanagh-born poet and clergyman Nicholas Brown (1699-1734), misattributed by ESTC to his father. Both pieces are burlesques in the manner of Philips’s The Splendid Shilling, but have their own merit, and were reprinted by Matthew...

    £1250

  8. [BUDWORTH (later PALMER), Joseph].

    A Fortnight’s Ramble to the Lakes in Westmoreland, Lancashire, and Cumberland. By a Rambler …

    London: Printed for Hookham and Carpenter … 1792.

    First edition, scarce, of ‘the first published account of a Lake District walking tour’ (Bicknell).

    £1600

  9. 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

  10. [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

  11. [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

  12. 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

  13. [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

  14. 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

  15. CALBRIS, B.

    The Rational Guide to the French Tongue. Containing Tables, calculated to teach the Order of the French Syntax. Together...

    London: Sold by Messrs. Debrett … Hockham, Miller, and Clarke … Lindsell … Dulau … De Boffe … [and seven others.] 1797.

    First and only edition, rare, of an advanced guide to idiomatic French for those who already have a strong grasp of the language. For his examples of idiomatic elegance, Calbris draws on Racine and Corneille; there are ten short fables at the end of the first part.

    £650

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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