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. 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

  2. WALKER, John.

    An economical History of the Hebrides and Highlands of Scotland ... in two Volumes ... Edinburgh: Printed at the...

    Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press; 1808

    First edition. The eminent naturalist John Walker (1731-1803), professor of natural history in the University of Edinburgh (Smollett was one of his students) and keeper of the university museum, made six long journeys into the Highlands and Islands from 1760 to 1786. He was commissioned by the General...

    £450

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. [WARD, Edward, and VOLTAIRE.] 

    The Humourous and Diverting Story of Two Sailors, Who, in order to recruit their Stock of...

    6, Punderson’s-Place, Bethnal-Green-Road’, [c. 1800?]. 

    Seemingly unrecorded edition of this humorous chapbook tale of two penniless sailors who turn to piracy in an attempt to pay their rent, printed with a translation of Voltaire’s Memnon and the anonymous poem ‘Clara’. 

    £450

  8. [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

  9. [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

  10. [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

  11. [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

  12. WHITEHEAD, William.

    Plays and Poems … in two Volumes …

    London, Printed for J. Dodsley … 1774.

    First and only edition of the collected works of William Whitehead, a protégé of Alexander Pope and poet laureate from 1757-85.

    £350

  13. WHITMAN, Walt, and Antonio FRASCONI (illustrator).

    A Whitman Portrait.

    [New York, Spiral Press, 1960.]

    First edition, comprising extracts from Leaves of Grass, facsimile letters and a selection of woodcut ‘portraits’ by Frasconi. Numbered 149 of 525 copies signed by Frasconi, printed on Japanese Goyu paper.

    £250

  14. [WILLIAMS, John.]

    The History of the Gunpowder-Treason, collected from approved Authors, as well popish as protestant.

    London, Richard Chiswel, 1678.

    First edition of an anti-popish history of the Gunpowder Plot. A well informed account drawing on both Anglican and Catholic sources, The History of the Gunpowder-Treason was published anonymously by John Williams (1633/6–1709), later Bishop of Chichester, amid renewed interest in the subject during...

    £750

  15. WILLICH, Anthony Florian Madinger.

    Lectures on Diet and Regimen: being a systematic Inquiry into the most rational Means of preserving...

    London: Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … 1799.

    Second edition, much revised and expanded, printed in the same year as the first: ‘Many important and useful articles have been added, especially in the fifth Chapter, “Of Food and Drink.”’ Willich’s very popular manual was based on a series of lecture given by the eminent physician at Bath...

    £375

  16. WISE, Francis.

    A Letter to Dr Mead concerning some Antiquities in Berkshire, particularly shewing that the White Horse, which gives...

    Oxford, Printed for Thomas Wood … 1738

    First editions. A Letter to Dr Mead was the first serious archaeological study of the Uffington White Horse. Francis Wise, Keeper of the Archives at Oxford University and later a friend of Samuel Johnson, contends that the horse, which he eulogises as a work of art, had Saxon origins, because...

    £350

  17. [WISHART, George.]

    I. G. de rebus auspiciis serenssimi, & potentissimi Caroli Dei gratia Magnae Brittanniae, Franciae & Hiberniae...

    [Amsterdam or The Hague,] 1647.

    First edition, rare, a fine paper copy in a handsome binding, of an account of the campaign of James Graham, Marquess of Montrose, against the Covenanters in 1644−46.

    £1750

  18. WITHER, George.

    The Psalmes of David translated into Lyrick-Verse, according to the Scope, of the Original, and illustrated, with...

    [Amsterdam:] Imprinted in the Netherlands by Cornelis Gerrits van Breughel, 1632.

    First edition, dedicated to Princess Elizabeth, the ‘Winter Queen’, daughter of James I. The translation, a companion to Wither’s Hymnes and Songs of the Church, was written at the request of James, and finished shortly before his death in 1625: ‘I was commanded to perfect a Translation...

    £3200

  19. WITHER, George.

    Speculum Speculativum: or, a Considering-Glasse; being an Inspection into the present and late sad Condition of...

    London, Written June XIII. MDCLX. and there Imprinted the same year [1660].

    The third of three editions in the same year, from an entirely new setting of type, with ‘Glasse’ rather than ‘Glass’ on the title-page, the errata formerly printed on L8 corrected, and the errors corrected in the caption title on p. 1

    £525

  20. WOOLLEY, C. Leonard and Thomas Edward LAWRENCE.

    The Wilderness of Zin ... With a Chapter on the Greek Inscriptions by M.N. Tod....

    London: The Alden Press for Jonathan Cape, 1936.

    Second English edition. The Wilderness of Zin originally appeared as the Palestine Exploration Fund Annual for 1914-1915, and was the first work by Lawrence to appear in book form. However, it was included in the P.E.F. series on somewhat disingenuous grounds: ‘During January and February 1914,...

    £150