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. [ANON.]

    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...

    £100

  2. AUSTEN, Jane.

    Mansfield Park: a Novel. In three Volumes … Second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Murray … 1816.

    Second edition, revised. This is the only one of Jane Austen’s novels with textual revisions of any significance. She ‘seems in general to have prepared the text for the first editions of her novels with the greatest care, so that they contain few misprints, and the alterations made in the later...

    £3750

  3. [BAGE, Robert].

    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.

    £2400

  4. [BECKFORD, William].

    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.

    £3250

  5. 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.

    £2100

  6. 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.

    £750

  7. BROUGHAM, Henry Lord.

    Albert Lunel. A Novel ... In three Volumes ...

    London: Charles H. Clarke ... [1872].

    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...

    £450

  8. [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...

    £950

  9. ČAPEK, Karel.

    Meteor … Translated by M. and R. Weatherall.

    London, George Allen & Unwin, [1935].

    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...

    £1500

  10. CARR, Lisle.

    Judith Gwynne …

    Henry S. King & Co. … London, 1873

    First edition, a scarce romance-cum-society novel.

    £200

  11. ‘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...

    £100

  12. 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.

    £650

  13. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. FRINK, Elizabeth, illustrator.

    Etchings illustrating Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. Introduction...

    [London,] Waddington, 1972.

    First edition of Frink’s monumental Canterbury Tales, one of 50 copies in the standard edition, numbered B 70 and signed by Frink, from an entire print run of 300 copies.

    £4250

  14. 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

  15. 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...

    £650

  16. 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.

    £95

  17. DICKENS, Charles.

    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.

    £850

  18. D’ISRAELI, Isaac.

    Romances …

    London: Printed for Cadell and Davies … Murray and Highley … J. Harding … and J. Wright. 1799.

    First edition, a collection of three prose tales by the father of the novelist and Prime Minister, with an introductory ‘Poetical Essay on Romance and Romancers’. The longest piece is ‘Mejnoun and Leila, the Arabian Petrarch and Laura’, which has echoes of Beckford and draws on the learned orientalism...

    £950

  19. [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...

    £425

  20. 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...

    £450