English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Ted Hofmann

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. DOZY, Reinhart Pieter Anne (Francis Griffin STOKES, translator).

    Spanish Islam: a history of the Moslems in Spain . . . translated...

    London, Chatto & Windus, 1913.

    First edition in English of Dozy’s comprehensive history of Islamic Spain from AD 711 to 1110, first published in 1861 as Histoire des Musulmans d’Espagne.


  2. [DRYDEN, John].

    The Medall. A Satyre against Sedition. By the Authour of Absalom and Achitophel …

    London, Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1682.

    First edition, second issue (adding two Latin lines at the end). The medal of Dryden’s satire was that struck to celebrate Shaftesbury’s acquittal from charges of high treason. According to Spence, Charles II gave Dryden ‘the hint for writing his poem’, and rewarded him for it. In reply, Shadwell...


  3. DRYDEN, John.

    Eleonora: a Panegyrical Poem: dedicated to the Memory of the late Countess of Abingdon …

    London: Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1692.

    First edition. The countess had died in May 1691, but ‘betwixt ill health, some business, and many troubles’, publication of this eulogy was delayed until March 1692 (as the Lutrell copy is dated). The poem, commissioned by the Earl of Abingdon, praises the piety and charity of its subject, its somewhat...


  4. DRYDEN, John.

    Religio Laici or a Layman’s Faith. A Poem …

    London, Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1683.

    First edition, second issue (with a few minor corrections; Macdonald located only two copies of the first): ‘a defence of the Anglican position, which shows his singular power of arguing in verse’ (Leslie Stephen, DNB). The inspiration for the poem was the translation of Richard Simon’s Histoire...


  5. [DUCRAY-DUMINIL, François Guillaume].

    Ambrose and Eleanor; or, the Adventures of two Children deserted on an uninhabited Island....

    London: Printed for R. and L. Peacock, at the Juvenile Library … and sold by Hookham and Carpenter … and C. Law … 1797

    Second English edition (first 1796), a translation of Lolotte et Fanfan (1788). Lucy Peacock kept a shop on Oxford Street which stocked her own and other juvenile tales. Lolotte et Fanfan (1788) evidently appealed for its didactic potential, but required significant editing: ‘many characters...


  6. DUNCAN, Francis.

    The English in Spain; or, the story of the War of Succession between 1834 and 1840. Compiled from the letters,...

    London, John Murray, 1877.

    First edition. ‘The author in the course of his researches into the history of the Royal Artillery during the years subsequent to 1815 . . . found many interesting letters and journals written by some of the most distinguished of his brother officers, who had been employed under the English Foreign...


  7. DUNLOP, John Colin.

    Memoirs of Spain during the reigns of Philip IV. and Charles II. from 1621 to 1700.

    Edinburgh, Thomas Clark, 1834.

    First edition. The Glaswegian John Dunlop (d. 1842) was well read in the Greek and Latin classics, and in the literatures of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. He saw his Memoirs of Spain as filling a gap between, on the one hand, his fellow Scot Robert Watson’s The history of the reign of...


  8. [DUPONT DE NEMOURS, Pierre-Samuel and Konrad Engelbert OELSNER].

    Notice sur la vie et les écrits de M. Joël Barlow, Ministre...

    [Paris]: Smith [?for the author], 1813.

    First edition, limited to 500 copies; an association copy of this eulogy to America's National poet, Joel Barlow, gifted by his widow to Count Rumford. American businessman, diplomat, and poet Joel Barlow (1754–1812) studied at Yale, where he developed interests in poetry, moral and political...


  9. D’URFEY, Thomas.

    Wit and Mirth: or Pills to purge Melancholy; being a Collection of the best merry Ballads and Songs, old and...

    London: Printed by W. Pearson, for J. Tonson ... 1719 [-20].

    The first complete edition, second issue of volumes I-V with titles altered to the familiar Wit and Mirth from Songs Compleat, 1719 (a change at the time of the publication in 1720 of volume VI, which is always entitled Wit and Mirth).


  10. D’URFEY, Thomas.

    The Progress of Honesty: or, a View of a Court and City. A Pindarique Poem …

    London: Printed for Joseph Hindmarsh … 1681.

    First edition of an allegorical poem inspired, like Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel, by the Exclusion Crisis of 1681. ‘Honesty’ describes to ‘Error’, ‘Faction’ and ‘Beauty’ the court of Charles II (‘Titus the Second … the joy of human kind’), and the malign effects of Treason...


  11. DUTENS, Louis.

    An Inquiry into the Origin of the Discoveries attributed to the Moderns: wherein it is demonstrated, that our most...

    London: Printed for W. Griffin … 1769.

    First edition in English of Recherches sur l’origine des découvertes attribuées aux modernes (Paris, 1766), an illuminating and voluminous study of how ‘in almost all truths of the greatest importance, the ancients preceded the moderns; or at least pointed out, or prepared the way, for their...


  12. [EATON, Daniel Isaac.]

    The Philanthropist. [Two issues, Monday 12 October 1795 (No. 29) and Monday 25 January 1796 (No. 43).]

    London, Daniel Isaac Eaton, 1795-1796.

    Two issues of Daniel Isaac Eaton’s weekly journal, which ran for a period of several months over two years. No. 43, which contains an index as pp. 7-8, was the last issue, and consists entirely of verse praising the French Revolution and apparently mocking with irony the British constitution.


  13. EDE.

    A Story. Three Volumes ...

    London: Remington & Co. Publishers ... 1889.

    First edition. Stifled by her boring life as the pampered daughter of a rich Midlands banker, Edith runs away to the neighbouring Potteries. She uses skills acquired as an accomplished young lady of leisure to get a job in the local porcelain factory as painter on china. She soon finds herself promoted...


  14. ERLENBACH, Jean Jacques.

    Compliment de Congé en rimes francaises, a monsieur Ziegert, sur son depart pour Halle à l’université...

    Breslau, Charles Guillaume Grass, [1754].

    Charming and apparently unrecorded poem written on the occasion of the departure for the University of Halle of an unidentified Mr Ziegert by his disgruntled friend Johan Jakob Erlenbach (who, according to a footnote, did not expect his poem to be printed).



    Address’d to Men of Honour, Men of Pleasure, and Men of Sense. With a seasonable Admonition...

    London: Printed for A. More … 1726.

    Second edition, unrecorded, published in the same year as the first – apparently from the same setting of type with the title-page altered to add the edition statement.


  16. ETHEREGE, George.

    The comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub. Acted at his Highness the Duke of York’s Theatre in Lincolns-Inn-Fields ...

    London, Printed for Henry Herringman ... 1669.

    Fourth edition of Etherege’s first play, preceded by two editions of 1664 and one of 1667; this is the scarcer of two printings for Herringman in 1669, with ‘fields’ rather than ‘Fields’ in the title, and the catchword ‘hope’ not ‘the’ on A2r.


  17. EYRE, Henry.

    A Brief Account of the Holt Waters, containing one Hundred and Twelve eminent Cures, perform’d by the Use of the...

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1731.

    First edition. The waters from Bath, Bristol and Holt, in Wiltshire, were the most popular English mineral waters of the eighteenth century, in no small part due to the activity of Henry Eyre, ‘Sworn Purveyor to Her Majesty [Queen Caroline, wife of George II] for all Mineral Waters’. Eyre ran a distribution...


  18. FEDORCHENKO, Sophia and Afanasy KULIKOV.

    На Крылышах [On little wings].

    Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo ‘Krasnyi Proletarni’, 1927.

    First edition of this collection of verses for children on birds and butterflies, deftly illustrated by Kulikov.


  19. FIDDES, Richard.

    A General Treatise of Morality, form’d upon the Principles of natural Reason only. With a Preface in Answer...

    London: Printed for S. Billingsley … 1724.

    First edition, the variant with the misprint ‘FIDDFS’ in the author’s name on the title. ‘Written against Shaftesbury’s Inquiry Concerning Virtue and Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, and displaying marked sympathy with the works of Malebranche and [John] Norris of Bemerton, this book was a...


  20. FIELDING, Henry.

    The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling …

    Paris: Printed by Fr. Amb. Didot the eldest, and sold by J. N. Pissot, and Barrois Junior … Booksellers. 1780.

    The first French edition in English of Fielding’s masterpiece, only the second English edition to be printed abroad (after Dresden, 1774). Here the text benefits from critical attention by Didot, who collated Murphy’s edition of Fielding’s Works with the last separate English edition.