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. 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

  2. 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

  3. [COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor, and Robert SOUTHEY.]

    The Devil’s walk; a poem. By Professor Porson. Edited with a biographical...

    London, Marsh and Miller ... and Constable and Co. Edinburgh, [1830].

    First separate edition, first issue with pages 21 and 22 omitted in the pagination. In its earliest form the poem appeared (anonymously) in the Morning Post for 6 September 1799 as ‘The Devil’s Thoughts’. Shelley published a response and continuation in 1812, The Devil's Walk:...

    £350

  4. [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

  5. 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

  6. [COLLEGIO DEI NOBILI DI MODENA.]

    Il buon’ uso della vittoria, ossia Publio Cornelio Scipione nella nuova Cartagine: azione accademica...

    Modena, eredi di Bartolomeo Soliani, [1776].

    First edition. A scarce play with music and ballet, prepared and performed by the Collegio dei Nobili di Modena for celebrations of the birthday of Francesco III d’Este, Duke of Modena. The work comprises a play in three acts on Scipio Africanus by Alessandro Guinigi, three short ballets drawn...

    £450

  7. COLLUTHUS, of Lycopolis.

    The Rape of Helen. Translated from the Greek ... And illustrated with the Notes of Michael Nicander. To...

    London: Printed for and sold by J. Roberts … and by the Booksellers and Pamphletsellers of London, 1731.

    First and only edition, rare, of this translation of Collothus’s Rape of Helen (Αρπαγη Ελενης), ‘a short and charming miniature epic’ (Cambridge Companion to the Epic) written in the late fifth century in Egypt in 392 hexameters.

    £1200

  8. [COLOGNE CHRONICLE.]

    Die Cronica van der hilliger Stat Coellen.

    Cologne, Johann [II] Koelhoff, [23rd August 1499].

    First edition of the first history of Cologne, famous for containing one of the earliest printed accounts on the history of printing.

    £12500

  9. [COMMONPLACE BOOK.]

    A manuscript collection of poems and epitaphs.

    Yorkshire, c. 1823-6?

    An attractive but anonymous commonplace book collecting poems (some possibly original), epitaphs (mostly with a Yorkshire origin), and popular ballads, with a possibly original poem inserted on a loose leaf.

    £650

  10. COOKE, Edward.

    Memorabilia, or, the most remarkable passages and counsels collected out of the several declarations and speeches...

    London, for Nevil Simmons, Tho. Simmons, and Sam. Lee, 1481 [i.e. 1681].

    First edition, scarce on the market, of this compendium by the legal writer and lawyer Edward Cooke (fl. 1680-1682), written during the hysteria of the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis under Charles II. Cooke joined the polemical battle to exclude the openly Catholic James, duke of York, from...

    £250

  11. COOKE, George and George Rennie.

    Views of the old and new London bridges…

    London, Brown & Syrett, 1833.

    First edition of this narrative account, providing a detailed scientific and historical record of both the old and new London bridges, and making observations on the tides of the river Thames as a consequence of developments on the river, accompanied by some more general remarks on bridge construction....

    £1500

  12. [COOPER, Elizabeth, compiler].

    The Historical and Poetical Medley: or Muses Library; being a choice and faithful Collection of...

    London: Printed for T. Davies … 1738.

    First edition under this title, a reissue of The Muses Library (1737), with a cancel title-page and final leaf. After Elizabeth Cooper’s career as an actor and playwright had been brought to an end by Walpole’s Licensing Act, she set about compiling an anthology of English poetry, from Langland...

    £450

  13. COTTON, Charles.

    Poems on several Occasions …

    London, Printed for Tho. Basset … Will. Hensman and Tho. Fox … 1689.

    First edition of the principal collection of original poetry by Charles Cotton, an ‘oddly isolated and under-valued poet ... there is more and better poetry in the 1689 volume than is to be found in any other minor poet of the Restoration’ (James Sutherland, Restoration Literature). Cotton’s most...

    £600

  14. [COWPER, Ashley, editor].

    The Norfolk poetical Miscellany. To which are added some select Essays and Letters in Prose. Never printed...

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Stagg … 1744.

    First edition. This lively miscellany, containing a large number of amusing short poems (but nothing for the libertine), was assembled by William Cowper’s uncle, the father of Theodora, later Lady Hesketh, with whom the poet fell in love. The dedication to the young Lady Caroline [Cowper] is subscribed...

    £1250

  15. CRABBE, George.

    The News-Paper: a Poem ...

    London: Printed for J. Dodsley ... 1785.

    First edition of this nicely turned satire by Jane Austen’s favourite poet. Crabbe tells us in his preface that he believes this to be the first poem ever on the subject of the daily press with its ‘variety of dissociating articles ... huddled together’, advertisements, puffing, and correspondents...

    £1200

  16. [CRADOCK, Joseph].

    An Account of some of the most romantic Parts of North Wales …

    London, Printed for T. Davies … and T. Cadell … 1777.

    First edition of this travel narrative and history of Wales, dedicated to Sir Watkin Williams Wynn ‘who possesses so considerable a part of that Country’.

    £575

  17. CRAWFORD, F. Marion.

    Saracinesca ... in three Volumes ...

    William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London. 1887.

    First edition. The prolific American novelist F. Marion Crawford, born in Italy and for most of his life resident in Rome, enjoyed a phenomenal success both in England and America. Saracinesca is the first novel of his Roman tetralogy (with Sant’ Ilario, Don Orsino, and Corleone: a Sicilian Story),...

    £280

  18. CROMARTY, George Mackenzie, Earl of.

    An historical Account of the Conspiracies by the Earls of Gowry, and Robert Logan of Restalrig,...

    First edition, dedicated to Queen Anne, ‘and to all the Princes who share in her royal blood’. The Vindication of Robert III was first published in 1695.

    £150

  19. CRUSO, Timothy.

    Twenty-Four Sermons preached at the Merchant-Lecture at Pinners Hall …

    London: Printed by S. Bridge, for Thomas Parkhurst … 1699.

    First edition, published posthumously, an uncommon collection of sermons by Timothy Cruso, schoolfriend of Defoe, who memorialised his name in Robinson Crusoe.

    £450

  20. [CURLL, Edmund, and others].

    An impartial History of the Life, Character, Amours, Travels, and Transactions of Mr. John Barber,...

    London: Printed for E. Curll … 1741

    First edition. A fine specimen of the sort of obituary pamphlet issued by Edmund Curll almost immediately after the death of notable public figures.

    £650