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. 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

  2. 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

  3. [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

  4. 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

  5. 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

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

    The Statesman’s Manual; or the Bible the best guide to political Skill and Foresight: a Lay Sermon,...

    London: Printed for Gale and Fenner … J. M. Richardson … and Hatchard … 1816.

    First edition of the first of Coleridge’s ‘Lay Sermons’, written in Highgate at the house of James Gillman, to whom Coleridge had come as an in-patient for his opium addiction.

    £200

  7. 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

  8. [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

  9. [COLONNA, Francesco.] 

    Poliphili hypnerotomachia, ubi humana omnia non nisi somnium esse ostendit, atque obiter plurima scitu...

    Venice, [heirs of Aldus], 1545. 

    Second edition, scarcer than the first (also an Aldine, published in 1499), of the most beautiful illustrated books printed in Italy in the fifteenth century.  Known for its fine woodcut illustrations, mysterious meanings, and the cryptic inclusion of Colonna’s name, the Hypnerotomachia...

    £24000

  10. [CONGREGATION OF THE ORATORY OF ST PHILIP NERI.]

    A collection of seven componimenti sacri per musica for the Oratory of...

    Venice, 1746-1787.

    A collection of seven libretti for sacred oratorios, to be performed in the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Venice.

    £375

  11. CORBOULD, Henry (illustrator). 

    [Cover title:] Illustrations to Theodric, by Thomas Campbell, from designs by Henry...

    London, Edward Lacey, 1829. 

    Unrecorded, a suite of five engravings for Thomas Campbell’s Theodric (1824), though seemingly not intended for inclusion in any particular edition. 

    £650

  12. [COTTLE, Joseph].

    Poems, containing John the Baptist. Sir Malcolm and Alla, a Tale, shewing to all the World what Woman’s Love...

    Bristol: Printed by Bulgin and Rosser, for J. Cottle, Bookseller … and G. G. and J. Robinson … London. 1795

    First edition. The Bristol bookseller Joseph Cottle (1770-1853) had been introduced to Coleridge and Southey by Robert Lovell in 1794 when the two poets ‘were in Bristol courting the Fricker sisters and preparing for Pantisocracy (as they called their scheme to marry and set up a community on the Susquehanna...

    £6000

  13. [COURTILZ DE SANDRAS, Gatien de.]

    Les dames dans leur naturel, ou la galanterie sans façon. Sous le regne du Grand Alcandre.

    ‘A Cologne’ [but Netherlands], ‘chez Pierre Marteau’ [Elzevier?], 1686.

    First edition, uncommon, of this story, ‘found in a cabinet, long after it had been written’ by the French novelist and pamphleteer Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras (1644–1712), nowadays best known for his semi-fictionalised Mémoires de Mr. d’Artagnan, which heavily influenced Dumas’...

    £685

  14. [COVENTRY, Francis].

    La Vie et les aventures du petit Pompée. Histoire critique traduite de l’anglois par M. Toussaint …

    A Londres [i.e. Paris?]. 1752.

    First edition? in French of Coventry’s most famous work, The History of Pompey the Little, or, The Life and Adventures of a Lap-Dog (1751), a lively satire of fashionable London life, told through the eyes of a favoured pet.

    £500

  15. [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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. [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

  19. [CURLL, Edmund, editor].

    Impartial Memorials of the Life and Writings of Thomas Hearne, M.A. by several Hands.

    London: Printed in the Year 1736.

    First separate edition (based on John Bilstone’s hostile preface to Hearne’s Vindication of those who take the Oath of Allegiance, 1731, and first printed in this form as part of volume III of Curll’s edition of Mr. Pope’s Literary Correspondence, 1735).

    £450

  20. CURTIUS Rufus, Quintus. 

    De rebus Alexandri Magni, cum commentario perpetuo & indice absolutissimo Samuelis Pitisci, quibus accedunt...

    Utrecht, Franciscus Halma, 1685. 

    First Halma edition of Curtius’s history of Alexander the Great, with a series of accomplished etched illustrations by Jan van den Aveelen. 

    £375