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.
Favola di due gatti e della scimia coll’ appello de’ medesimi gatti all’ orso, divisa in due...
Florence, Bernardo Paperini, 1730.
First complete edition. A rare fable in parallel Latin and Italian verse by members of the Accademia dell’Arcadia, comprising Due gatti ed una scimia (first published in 1728) and the first appearance of the second part, Appello de’ due gatti all’ orso. Both are published only pseudonymously under...
AINSWORTH, William Harrison.
The Combat of the Thirty. From a Breton Lay of the fourteenth Century. With an Introduction, comprising...
London: Chapman and Hall … 1859
First edition of the first English translations of these two texts, inscribed to ‘James Crossley from his old friend William Harrison Ainsworth’. The two men had been friends since 1817 when Crossley, a solicitor, was articled to Ainsworth’s father and later became a partner in the firm. He was...
ALBERTI, Leon Battista.
El Momo. La moral e muy graciosa historia del Momo; compuesta en Latin por el docto varon Leon Bapista...
Alcalá de Henares, Joan Mey Flandro, 1553.
First edition in Spanish of Alberti’s Momus [or De principe], translated by Augustín de Almaçan and with an introductory 8-page Exposición by the Toledo ascetic writer and scholar Alejo Venegas (1495?–1554?).
ALBERT, Sidney P.
‘Shaw’s Advice to the Players of Major Barbara’, Reprinted from Theatre Survey, X, 1 (1969); and ‘Reflections...
Reprinted from Modern Drama, XIV, 2 (1791).
ALEKSANDROVA, Zinaida and Dmitry GORLOV.
Мишкины соседи [Little Bear’s neighbours].
Moscow, VLKSM Izdatelstvo Detskoi Literaturi, 1936.
First edition. A very nice copy of this collection of verses for young children, composed by one of the most prolific Soviet children’s poets, and illustrated by one of the most prolific of Soviet children’s artists. The tales tell of the lives of a selection of farm and wild animals, including...
ALFIERI, Vittorio. LLOYD, Charles, translator.
The Tragedies of Vittorio Alfieri; translated from the Italian … In three Volumes …
London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown … 1815.
First edition of this translation, which Lloyd undertook ‘on the suggestion of a friend whose judgement I highly respect’. This friend was likely Southey, who he addresses as his ‘sponsor’ in the ‘Dedicatory Sonnet’. He held Southey in high esteem, and benefited from his friendship through...
Le Parnasse des dames.
Paris, Janet, .
An attractive copy of Janet’s Parnasse des dames, a pocket-book alamanac on art and literature aimed at a female readership. The little volume contains a broad miscellany of verse, some by female authors, prefaced by engraved copies of works by seventeenth-century French and Dutch painters...
ALMEIDA, Theodoro de.
Lisboa destruida poema, author o P. Theodoro de Almeida, da Congregaçaõ do Oratorio de Lisboa.
Lisbon, Antonio Rodrigues Galhardo, 1803.
First edition of this poem in six cantos, with extensive notes, on the disastrous 1755 Lisbon earthquake, by the Oratorian priest and philosopher Almeida (1722-1804). One of the deadliest in history, the earthquake almost totally destroyed the Portuguese capital and accentuated political tensions within...
The History of British Journalism, from the Foundation of the Newspaper Press in England, to the Repeal of...
London, R. Clay for Richard Bentley, 1859.
First edition of a detailed study of British newspapers. The first comprehensive history of the subject, the text is derived from close study of the British Museum’s collections, from the sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth.
The History and Adventures of Ben the Soldier, with an Account of his happy Marriage, after the Fatigues and Dangers of War.
London, J. Evans & Son, F. Collins, and J. Nisbet, [c. 1815].
Scarce moral tale of a soldier returned to Christianity in the Napoleonic Wars. Printed in many undated editions and subsequently reissued by the Religious Tract Society, The History and Adventures of Ben the Soldier tells of Ben Gracious who, forced into the army, loses his Christian morals before...
The Mystic Cottager of Chamouny: a Novel …
London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press … 1794.
First edition, very rare, presumably a first novel by a young authoress – the ‘Address to the public’ calls it ‘the genuine dictates of a moment of imagination … traced by the pen of juvenility …. for the sole endeavour of raising a trivial sum for the benefit of a distressed Orphan,...
The Birds … Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary … With Notes.
London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey … 1824.
First edition. ‘Given how much there is in Aristophanes to outrage and violate nineteenth-century manners and sensibilities, it may seem surprising how popular he was. The popularity came at the price of bowdlerizing much of the “grossness”, but there was admiration and even a certain yearning...
Il buffone di nuova invenzione in Italia. O sia i viaggi del vagabondo Salsiccia Salisburgese […] con un...
Venice, Antonio Bortoli, 1740.
First and only edition of Arizzi’s adaptation of Gottfried Prehauser’s Wienerische Hannswurst nebst lustige Reyss-Beschreibung aus Salzburg in verschiedene Länder, published anonymously and for a long time wrongly attributed to Benedetto Marcello.
Enfin: A Poem, hitherto unpublished, by Sir Edwin Arnold.
New York, printed by Thomas Perry Stricker for Julian Buddolph Arnold, 1936.
First edition, one of only fifty copies hand-printed by T. Perry Sticker, presentation copy from the editor (the author’s son) and accompanied by his autograph note regarding the printing and planned circulation of the poem.
The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems. By A.
London: B. Fellowes …1849
First edition of Arnold’s first book, apart from the Rugby and Oxford prize poems Alaric at Rome and Cromwell. To conceal his authorship as ‘A.’ suggests a certain reticence about the volume, even though it contains a number of his finest early poems, including ‘The Forsaken Merman’. Only 500...
Astley’s System of equestrian Education, exhibiting the Beauties and Defects of the Horse, with serious and important...
London, T. Burton for S. Creed, [c. 1801].
Fifth edition of a work on horse-training by the ‘father of the modern circus’ (Chambers). Noted during military service in the Seven Years’ War not only for his daring in battle but also for his skills as a rider and breaker of horses, Philip Astley (1742-1814) established on his return...
AUDEN, W.H. Collected poems.
Edited by Edward Mendelson.
London, Faber and Faber, 1976.
First edition. Denis Healey’s copy, with his signature dated 1976 to front free endpaper, his occasional marginal pencil marks, and a few notes to rear pastedown. Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey (1917-2015) served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970, Chancellor of the Exchequer from...
[AUGUSTINE, Saint, attributed author.]
The Meditations of Saint Augustine, from the Latin Original. By the Rev. J. Martin, O.S.A. …
Dublin: Printed for the Author, by H. Fitzpatrick … 1798
First edition of this rare translation of the pseudo-Augustinian Meditationum Liber, an eleventh-century devotional text very popular in the Middle Ages.
Hermsprong; or, Man as he is not. A Novel … By the Author of Man as he is.
London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press … 1796.
First edition of Bage’s last and finest novel.
Natural History of Quadrupeds, for Children, combined with an Attempt to engraft on the youthful Mind the Principles...
London, Harvey & Darton, 1824.
A scarce work, second edition, the first edition to be attributed to ‘a lady’. An attractive natural history for children, the work was first published in 1813 ‘by the Author of The Decoy’, an educational work on English grammar; this second edition is the first to credit ‘a lady’...