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. [HILL, ‘Sir’ John].

    The Adventures of Mr. George Edwards, a Creole.

    London: Printed for T. Osborne ... 1751.

    First edition of a novel written in the year that the self-styled ‘Sir’ John Hill, apothecary and quack, began writing the ‘Inspector’ essays that turned into the contrived and then real ‘paper war’ with Fielding and Smart.

    £1500

  2. LE SAGE, Alain René.

    The Adventures of Robert Chevalier, call’d de Beauchene. Captain of a Privateer in New-France ... In two...

    London: Printed and Sold by T. Gardner ... R. Dodsley ... and M. Cooper ... 1745.

    First edition in English of Les avantures de monsieur Robert Chevalier (1732), a rousing tale by the master of the picaresque, the author of Gil Blas.

    £2400

  3. [SMOLLETT, Tobias].

    The Adventures of Roderick Random … in two Volumes … The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Osborn … 1748.

    Second edition, with ‘major imaginative changes’, and frontispieces which appear here for the first time. Even though there were only a few weeks between the first and second editions, Smollett found time to make a number of significant corrections in the text, on average about one substantive change...

    £500

  4. 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

  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...

    £425

  6. JACOMB, Charles Ernest.

    And a new earth. A romance.

    London, George Routledge & Sons, 1926.

    First edition. A post-apocalyptic fantasy novel relating the history of a utopian island that survived a ‘second flood’ in 1958, which destroyed the world’s civilization and reduced the human population to just 10,000. The island was re-discovered by the New World Fleet in 2832, 872 years after...

    £75

  7. [LAWRENCE, George Alfred].

    Barren Honour. A Tale. By the Author of ‘Guy Livingstone.’ In two Volumes ...

    London: Parker, Son, and Bourn ... 1862.

    First edition. Lawrence has been grouped with Kingsley and Hughes in the ‘muscular’ school of Victorian fiction with its sturdy heroes and Christian Socialism. Barren Honour is ‘a study of magnificently chivalrous self-destruction’ on the part of its hero Sir Alan Wyverne, ‘a thoroughbred’...

    £350

  8. OHNET, Georges.

    The Battles of Life. The Ironmaster. From the French of Georges Ohnet … by Lady G[eorgiana] O[sborne]. Authorized...

    London: Wyman & Sons … 1884.

    First edition in English. Le maître de forges (1882), one of a series of novels published by Ohnet under the title ‘Les batailles de la vie’, was a bestseller of French nineteenth-century sentimental fiction, and no less successful in England. Another English translation, by Ernest Vizetelly,...

    £450

  9. ISHERWOOD, Christopher.

    Berlin Stories.

    New York: New Directions, [1945].

    First American edition to combine the two Berlin novels, originally published by the Hogarth Press as Mr Norris Changes Trains and Goodbye to Berlin, in 1935 and 1939 respectively.

    £150

  10. ROTH, Henry.

    Call it Sleep.

    London: Michael Joseph, 1963.

    First English edition, first published in New York by Robert O. Ballou in 1934.

    £250

  11. HAGGARD, H. Rider.

    Colonel Quaritch, V.C. A Tale of Country Life … In three Volumes …

    London: Longmans, Green and Co. 1888.

    First edition in book form, the last of Rider Haggard’s novels to be issued as a three-decker, following its appearance in the penny numbers of England. This is a domestic and at times violent tale of a lost family treasure and the cryptic message that leads to its timely recovery just as foreclosure...

    £1000

  12. PORTER, Jane and Anna Maria.

    Coming out; and the Field of Forty Footsteps … In three Volumes …

    London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green … 1828.

    First edition; the first two volumes comprise ‘Coming Out; a Tale of the nineteenth century’ by Anna Maria Porter, the final volume is her sister’s ‘Field of Forty Footsteps; a Tale of the seventeenth century’. ‘Either would have made a three-decker all by itself’ (Wolff).

    £650

  13. MORE, Thomas.

    The Common-wealth of Utopia: containing a learned and pleasant Discourse of the best State of a publike-Weale, as...

    London, Printed by B. Alsop & T. Fawcet, and are to be sold by Wil: Sheares … 1639.

    Fifth edition of More’s Utopia in English, translated by Ralph Robinson – the last edition of his translation, first published in 1551, and revised in 1556. Alsop printed a corrected edition in 1624, with a dedication to More’s grandson, Cresacre More, which is reprinted here.

    £2500

  14. LUCIAN, of Samosata.

    Deorum dialogi... una cum interpretatione e regione latina nusquam antea impressi...

    Strassbourg, Johannes Schott, 1515.

    First edition edited and translated by the German humanist (and musician) Ottmar Nachtgall.

    £2100

  15. MARINI, Giovanni Ambrogio.

    The Desperadoes; an heroick History. Translated from the Italian of the celebrated Marini (the Original...

    London: Printed by W. R. and sold by T. Asltey … J. Isted … and T. Worrall … 1733.

    First and only edition in English of Le gare de’ disperati (1644), the second of three romances by Marini (1596-1668). Inevitably, ‘It was necessary to omit many Things that were contrary to our Morals; to Decency, and to the Purity of the English Tongue …’. But the general scheme of events...

    £1000

  16. JENKINS, Edward.

    The Devil’s Chain … Twentieth Thousand. With twelve Illustrations by Barnard and Thomson.

    William Mullan & Son … London … Belfast, 1877.

    A reissue of the illustrated edition from a different publishing house.

    £100

  17. JENKINS, Edward.

    The Devil’s Chain … Twenty-sixth Thousand. With twelve Illustrations by Barnard and Thomson.

    William Mullan & Son … London … Belfast, 1877.

    25th Thousand, according to the binding, but ‘Twenty-sixth Thousand’ on the title-page.

    £100

  18. MADDEN, Dodgson Hamilton.

    The Diary of Master William Silence: A Study of Shakespeare & of Elizabethan Sport.

    London, New York, & Bombay, Longmans, Green, & Co., 1897.

    First edition of Madden’s reimagination of Elizabethan sport, derived from passages from Shakespeare. Though a legal writer and prominent jurist, being appointed attorney-general of Ireland in 1889, the best known publication of Dodgson Hamilton Madden (1840–1928) remains the Diary of Master...

    £120

  19. PORTER, Jane.

    Duke Christian of Luneburg; or, Tradition from the Hartz … in three Volumes …

    London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green … 1824.

    First edition. One of the earliest exponents of the historical novel, Porter enjoyed enormous popularity during her lifetime. Duke Christian of Luneburg was her sixth book, which she modestly described as ‘a little traditionary [sic] sketch of an illustrious hero’. Set in sixteenth-century...

    £650

  20. 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