English Literature

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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. 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

  2. ‘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

  3. 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

  4. [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

  5. CARTWRIGHT, William.

    Comedies, Tragi-comedies, with other Poems … the Ayres and Songs set by Mr Henry Lawes, Servant to his late...

    London, Printed for Humphrey Moseley … 1651.

    First edition of the witty and elegant drama and verse of a celebrated ‘son of Ben’, who said ‘My son Cartwright writes like a man’. According to Evelyn, Charles I reckoned The Royall Slave ‘the best that was ever acted’ after he saw it as the main entertainment on the royal progress...

    £1750

  6. [CASTILLO Y SORIANO, José del.]

    Amor á la creacion. Poesia dedicada á la Sociedad Madrileña Protectora de los Animales y de...

    Madrid, Sociedad de Tipógrafos, 1879.

    Very rare survival: a poem in twenty-four stanzas each of five lines devoted to the celebration of animals and plants, dedicated to the Madrid Society for the protection of nature, and publicly read by the actress Carolina Civili on the occasion of the May 1879 exhibition of plants and birds....

    £500

  7. [CATHERINE II, Empress of Russia].

    Le Czarewitz Chlore. Conte Moral. De main impériale & de maitresse.

    Berlin, Fréderic Nicolaï, Lausanne, François Grasset, 1782.

    First edition, very rare, of a speculum principis of the Enlightenment, by one of the time’s most enlightened monarchs. Le Czarewitz Chlore is a moral tale written by Catherine II of Russia for her two grandsons, the future Alexander I and his younger brother Constantine, while their father and mother,...

    £3000

  8. CATULLUS, TIBULLUS, PROPERTIUS.

    Carmina.

    [Milan, Philippus de Lavagnia] for Johannes de Colonia and Johannes Manthen [in Venice], 1475.

    A handsome copy of the second edition of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius, a close reprint of the edition by Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. Statius’s Silvae also formed part of the edition, but it is not present here; the parts are sometimes found separately, as ISTC notes, and almost half...

    £40000

  9. CELALEDDIN, Mahmud (calligrapher). 

    [A muraqqa or calligraphic album.]

    Cairo, Ministry of Public Education, 1309 AH [i.e. 1891/2]. 

    Unrecorded album of lithographed examples of calligraphy, mixing prayers and pen exercises, reproducing the calligraphy of a Daghestani émigré to Istanbul, Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi (d. 1829), and published in Cairo by Egypt’s Ministry of Public Education. 

    £2200

  10. CHALKHILL, John.

    Thealma and Clearchus. A pastoral History in smooth and easie Verse. Written long since by John Chalkhill, Esq;...

    London: Printed for Benj. Tooke … 1683.

    First edition, with the corrected state of the title, designating Chalkhill as ‘an acquaintant and friend of Edmund [originally ‘Edward’] Spencer’.

    £1850

  11. CHAMBERLAYNE, William.

    Phraronnida: a heroick Poem …

    London, Printed for Robert Clavell … 1659.

    First edition of the physician-poet William Chamberlayne’s best-known work, a long poem (14,000 lines) in heroic couplets blending Ariosto, Tasso and Greek romances. It deals with the tale of Argalia, a sort of knight errant rescued from the Turks and threatened with execution, and his love for Pharonnida,...

    £2500

  12. CHESTERFIELD, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of.

    Lettres ecrites par le tres-honorable … Comte de Chesterfield, a son Fils, Philippe...

    A Paris, chez Panckoucke [but probably printed in London]. 1775.

    First edition in French of Chesterfield’s famous Letters to his Son (1774). Although not recognized as such by Gulick (and not listed in ESTC), this is almost certainly an English production; press figures appear throughout all five volumes, the typography and disposition is generally English...

    £950

  13. CHRISTENING (The).

    A satirical Poem. In which are contain’d the humorous Transactions, Speeches, and Behaviour of the Guests...

    London: Printed by W. James … 1732.

    First edition of an amusing verse satire on a famous court scandal. In 1732 Anne Vane, mistress of Frederick, Prince of Wales, gave birth to a son. The child, Cornwall Fitz-Frederick, was acknowledged as his, perhaps only as an assertion of his independence from his parents, and paternity was contested...

    £2000

  14. CLAVELL, John.

    A Recantation of an Ill Led Life: or, a Discoverie of the High-way Law. With ... many cautelous Admonitions and...

    London, Printed by A.M. for Richard Meighen ... 1634.

    Third and final edition, incorporating Clavell’s final revisions (it is 138 lines longer than the first edition of 1628), and a new preface by ‘his friend’ Richard Meighen.

    £3250

  15. CLEVELAND, John.

    Clievelandi Vindiciae: or, Clieveland’s Genuine Poems, Orations, Epistles, &c. purged from the many false and...

    London, Printed for Robert Harford ... 1677.

    First edition, the issue with Robert Harford’s imprint. This ‘vindicatory’ text was prepared by Cleveland’s former students John Lake and Samuel Drake from authentic manuscripts to restore true readings to poems that had degenerated through six editions of The Character of a London-Diurnall...

    £950

  16. [COCHRAN, Charles B.]

    OSTROWSKA, Wanda and Viola G. GARVIN. London’s Glory.

    London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1945.

    First edition, a poignant collection of paintings of war-torn London by the Polish artist-in-exile Wanda Ostrowska, accompanied by extracts from her own writings and narrative by Viola Garvin.

    £75

  17. COLERIDGE, S[amuel] T[aylor].

    The Watchman. No. I [III, IV]. Tuesday, March 1 [17, 25], 1796. Published by the Author …

    Bristol: and sold by the Booksellers and Newscarriers in Town and Country.

    Three (of ten) issues of The Watchman, Coleridge’s first journalistic endeavour, very rare: published in March to May 1796.

    £750

  18. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    Biographia Literaria; or biographical Sketches of my literary Life and Opinions … Vol I[-II].

    London: Rest Fenner … 1817.

    First edition. Coleridge’s estimates of contemporary German poets and philosophers are justly celebrated, and the long autobiographical passages and critical analyses of Wordsworth and of Lyrical Ballads are of primary interest. ‘Though maddeningly unsystematic in structure, the book is a touchstone...

    £450

  19. [COLETTE, Sidonie-Gabrielle - WILLY [i.e. Henri Gauthier-Villars]]. KELLER, Fernand, and André LAUTIER.

    Colette (Colette Willy),...

    Paris, Éditions de La Nouvelle Revue Critique, 1923.

    First edition of this critical work on Colette, with Willy’s manuscript annotations throughout. The copy was subsequently in the possession of Willy’s friend Pierre Varenne, who has added a pencilled note to the blank endleaf: ‘Annotations manuscrites de Willy. P.V.’, and a ms. postcard to Varenne...

    £900

  20. COLLECTION (A)

    of Poems: viz. the Temple of Death: by the Marquis of Normanby with several Original Poems, never before printed,...

    London: Printed for Daniel Brown … and Benjamin Tooke … 1701.

    Fourth edition of the important ‘Temple of Death’ miscellany of Restoration poetry, retaining most of the poems from the third edition (1693) and adding much material, including all the poems on pp. 172-282 – with contributions from Stepney, Arwaker and Congreve – and the poems at the end (pp....

    £500