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. 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

  2. [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

  3. 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

  4. [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

  5. CORRESPONDENTS.

    The Correspondents. An original Novel; in a Series of Letters ...

    London: Printed for T. Becket ... 1775.

    First edition. Contemporaries took this sentimental novel to be a genuine correspondence between Lord Lyttelton (d. 1773) and Mrs. Apphia Peach, the wealthy widow of Governor Peach of Bombay, and future wife of Lyttelton’s reprobate son, Thomas (the ‘wicked’ Lord Lyttelton). Horace Walpole, for...

    £650

  6. COTTON, Charles.

    The Wonders of the Peak …

    Nottingham: Printed by John Collyer, and sold by H. Cantrel and H. Allestree in Derby. J. Bradley and S. Gunter in Chesterfield, and Mr. Whitworth...

    First Nottingham edition of a poem originally printed in London in 1681, and reprinted in 1683 and 1694. The subject matter may have been suggested to Cotton by Thomas Hobbes’s Latin poem De mirabilibus Pecci (c. 1627, reprinted with an English translation in 1678). Apart from the scenery of...

    £1250

  7. 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

  8. [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

  9. COWPER, William.

    Poems … London: printed for J. Johnson … 1782. [With:]

    _________. The Task, a Poem, in six Books...

    London, 1782-5.

    First edition of each volume, with the notoriously rare suppressed preface by John Newton.

    £8000

  10. 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

  11. [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

  12. 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

  13. [CRESSWELL, Henry].

    Fair and Free. By the Author of ‘A Modern Greek Heroine’ ... in three Volumes ...

    London: Smith, Elder, & Co. ... 1882.

    First edition. By the terms of her father’s will, Marcella Cassilys is only to inherit her fortune on marriage, or the wealth reverts to his sister. Her aunt therefore determines to prevent her marrying and does all in her power to ruin her niece’s reputation, persuading her to wear scandalously...

    £450

  14. 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

  15. [CROWTHER, Thomas Burnside.]

    Anderida; or, the Briton and the Saxon, A.D. CCCXLI. In three Volumes …

    London: Bickers and Son … 1875.

    First edition of a historical novel inspired by Gibbon, (‘there are probably few readers of Gibbon’s History who have not paused for a moment over a foot-note in the thirty-eighth chapter …’)

    £450

  16. 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

  17. [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

  18. [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

  19. [DARTON, William, senior].

    Little Jack of all Trades; or, mechanical Arts described, in Prose and Verse, suited to the Capacities...

    London: Printed for Harvey and Darton … 1823.

    First collected edition, first published in two separate parts 1804 and 1805 and several times reprinted. The engraved vignettes are different from those in the separate printings, and the contents are slightly rearranged.

    £250

  20. DAVENANT, Sir William.

    Gondibert: an Heroick Poem ...

    London, Printed for John Holden ... 1651.

    Second (first octavo) edition, first issue, preserving the cancelland V8.

    £450