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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.
All Men are Enemies, a Romance.
London, Chatto & Windus, 1933.
First trade edition, inscribed ‘For D. G. Bridson from Richard Aldington / March. 1933’. Bridson’s review in The New English Weekly, 23 March 1933, was uncharacteristically without reservation in its enthusiasm: ‘one of the finest novels written lately … In actual reading [rather...
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.
Vathek, conte Arabe.
A Paris, Chez Poinçot ... 1787.
First Paris edition of Beckford’s gothic masterpiece in the original French, so considerably revised from the Lausanne edition (also 1787) as to amount to ‘almost a new version’ (Chapman & Hodgkin, p. 127). Beckford also took the opportunity to expand the notes from one to twenty-four pages.
[BERINGTON, Simon, adapted by Jean-Baptiste DUPUY-DEMPORTES.]
Memoires de Gaudence de Luques, prisonnier de l’Inquisition...
Amsterdam and Leipzig, Arkstée & Merkus, 1754.
Second edition of this much expanded and altered translation of Berington’s celebrated utopian novel, Memoirs of Sigr Gaudentio di Lucca (1737). The Memoirs enjoyed immense popularity, undergoing at least twelve eighteenth-century editions in English and contemporary translations...
BINGFIELD, William, pseud.
The Travels and Adventures of William Bingfield, Esq; containing, as surprizing a Fluctuation...
London: Printed for E. Withers ... and R. Baldwin ... 1753.
First edition of one of the most entertaining imaginary voyages of the eighteenth century.
BLANCHARD, Edward Litt Leman.
A Pipe of Tobacco: with Whiffs and Clouds … With Illustrations.
London: H. Beal … [1840s?].
First edition, by the editor and play- and pantomime-writer E.L. Blanchard, comprising three ‘whiffs’ and two ‘clouds’ on the subject of tobacco, aimed ‘at a niche in the waistcoast pocket, rather than a more presuming station on the library shelf’. Blanchard knew Dickens and was in...
BRANTÔME, Pierre de Bourdeilles, Seigneur de.
Spanish Rhodomontades. As also historical and ocular proofs of a true heroism and...
London, J. Chrichley (i.e. Critchley), 1741.
First edition in English, with the Rhodomontades printed in the original Spanish. This collection of braggadocio boastings, drawn from the dramatic dialogue of Spanish practitioners of the Commedia dell'Arte, was first published in French in 1740.
BROUGHAM, Henry Lord.
Albert Lunel. A Novel ... In three Volumes ...
London: Charles H. Clarke ... .
First edition, Sadleir’s ‘really scarce’ fourth state, with (instead of the half-titles) the following notice: ‘“Albert Lunel” was written by the late Lord Brougham in the years Eighteen Hundred and Forty-four, but for private reasons of his Lordship’s, was not published. London, March...
[BURY, Lady Charlotte].
The Exclusives. In three Volumes ...
London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley ... 1830.
First edition of a society novel written after the enormous success of Marianne Spencer Stanhope’s Almack’s (1826), a roman à clef centred on the fashionable assembly rooms in St. James’s. In The Exclusives Lady Tilney plans a new coterie as Almack’s is in decline (‘that...
Meteor … Translated by M. and R. Weatherall.
London, George Allen & Unwin, .
First edition in English of Povětroň [Meteor] (1934), with a signed presentation inscription from Čapek to Václav Palivec on half-title, dated 1936. In 1935, Palivec, the brother of Čapek’s sister’s husband, gave Čapek and his new wife as a wedding present the use of a house in...
Judith Gwynne …
Henry S. King & Co. … London, 1873
First edition, a scarce romance-cum-society novel.
‘CARROLL, Lewis’ [i.e. Charles Lutwidge DODGSON].
Feeding the Mind ... With a Prefatory Note by William H. Draper.
London, Billing and Sons, Ltd for Chatto and Windus, 1907.
First edition in book form, wrappers issue. ‘A short paper or lecture delivered in Oct. 1884 in the Derbyshire vicarage of Alfreton before a public audience. It is a comparison of feeding the mind with feeding the body in such points as proper food at proper intervals (a “fat mind”), mastication...
CARROLL, Lewis [i.e. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson].
The hunting of the Snark. An agony in eight fits ... with nine illustrations by...
London, Macmillan and Co., 1876.
First edition of this characteristically dark nonsense poem, dedicated to Gertrude Chataway, Carroll’s dearest child friend after Alice. The Easter greeting was inserted into every copy of the first edition after printing at Carroll’s own expense.
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 book 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...
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),...
DE BEAUVOIR, Simone.
The Mandarins. A Novel …
Cleveland and New York, The World Publishing Company, .
First edition in English, signed by De Beauvoir on the limitation leaf, one of 500 unnumbered copies, of which only 275 were for sale.
DESENFANS, Noel Joseph.
Les deux Hermites, dédié a mylord Lyttelton …
A Londres; chez R. Davis … J Ridley … W Owen … 1773.
First and only edition, uncommon, of an epistolary novel by the future art dealer Noel Joseph Desenfans. The scene is Paris in the 1680s, the theme is Enlightenment, and the author’s aim was to inspire ‘l’horreur de l’oppression, sentiment nécessaire à l’harmonie de la Société, & vertu...
DESFORGES, Pierre Choudard.
Tom Jones a Londres, Comédie en cinq actes et en vers, tirée du roman de Fielding … Réprésentée,...
Paris, Chez Prault, Imprimeur du Roi … 1789.
Later edition, first published 1782. Desforges’s dramatic adaptation of Fielding’s novel was followed in 1788 by an apparently inferior sequel, Tom Jones et Fellamar.
Mäster Humphreys Klocka … Förra [–Sednare] Delen.
Stockholm, Hos. L. J. Hjerta, 1842.
First edition in Swedish, very rare, of Master Humphrey’s Clock (1840-1), comprising the framing narrative of short stories, followed by The Old Curiosity Shop (‘Den Gamla Antiqvitets-boden’). Barnaby Rudge, omitted here, was published separately in 1845.
The Nonesuch Dickens. The Complete Works of Charles Dickens.
London, The Nonesuch Press, 1937-38.
Limited edition of 877, of which 66 sets were destroyed when a bomb hit the bindery in September 1940, so at most 811 complete sets survive (Dreyfus, Nonesuch Press, 108). The steel plate included with this set is number 605, “Solemn reference is made to Mr. Bunsby” from Dombey and...