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. KIPLING, Rudyard.

    Under the Deodars …

    Published by Messrs. A. H. Wheeler & Co., Allahabad, [1888].

    First edition, ‘reprinted in chief from the Week’s News’. Under the Deodars, No. 4 in Wheeler’s Indian Railway Library, contains six stories from Kipling’s time as a journalist, dealing with ‘things that are not pretty and uglinesses that hurt’. Adultery is a common theme, though...

    £450

  2. [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

  3. LEIGH, Sir Samuel Egerton.

    Munster Abbey, a Romance; interspersed with Reflections on Virtue and Morality … in three Volumes...

    1797.

    First edition. Despite its ‘gothic’ title this is a novel of contemporary high life in England and on the Grand Tour, avoiding ‘extravagant descriptions of supernatural scenes and events’. Munster Abbey in Devon is the seat of the hero, Mr. Belford, a bachelor ‘happily possessed of a fortune,...

    £1250

  4. 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

  5. LE SAGE, Alain René.

    The History of Vanillo Gonzales, surnamed the merry Batchelor. In two Volumes. From the French …

    London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson … 1797

    First complete translation of Le Sage’s Histoire d’Estevanille Gonzalez, surnommé le garcon de bonne humeur (1734), itself a loose French adaptation of Vida y hechos de Estebanillo Gonzalez (1646), preserving only a few episodes of the Spanish original. Authorship of Vida y hechos...

    £1250

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. MARIVAUX, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de.

    Le Paysan parvenu: or, the fortunate Peasant. Being Memoirs of the Life of Mr. ––––....

    London: Printed for John Brindley … Charles Corbett … and Richard Wellington … 1735

    First edition in English, originally published in French in the Hague in 1734-5. This is the second of the two important novels by Marivaux, which broke new ground in the art of writing fiction. ‘Where La Vie de Marianne belongs to the moralizing and sentimental romance tradition, Le Paysan...

    £650

  10. MARSHALL, W.

    Monsell Digby. A Novel, in three Volumes ...

    London: Remington and Co. ... 1880.

    First edition. Set in industrial and rural Lancashire against the background of the economic unrest of 1815, Monsell Digby follows the fortunes of a number of young men caught up in a murderous Luddite riot and its aftermath. Not in NUC and Supplement; UCLA and Texas only on OCLC. Wolff 4582.

    £400

  11. MEDINA POMAR, Duke de.

    Fashion and Passion or, Life in Mayfair … by the Duke de Pomar… Author of “The Honeymoon” and “Through...

    London: Chapman & Hall … 1877.

    Second edition (first published in 1876) of this wildly-popular novel of London society, published after the first edition sold out in two months. It follows the fortunes of the beautiful Señorita Consuelo and her lover Alfredo, who meet on a small-trader passage from Bilbao to London. Consuelo’s...

    £125

  12. MEREDITH, George.

    One of our Conquerors ... In three Volumes ...

    London: Chapman and Hall ... 1891.

    First edition of a ‘striking study of marital misery’ (Sutherland). Sadleir 1700.

    £400

  13. MEREDITH, George.

    One of our Conquerors ... In three Volumes ...

    London: Chapman and Hall ... 1891.

    First edition of a ‘striking study of marital misery’ (Sutherland). Sadleir 1700.

    £300

  14. MIRANDA, Giovanni.

    Historia del valoroso cavallier Polisman, nella quale, oltre alla sua origine, vita, & imprese, si contengono...

    Venice, Lucio Spineda, 1612.

    Second edition (in fact a reissue of the first edition published in 1573) of a rare pseudo-Hispanic Italian chivalric romance, with a curious printing history.

    £1750

  15. 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

  16. MORRISON, Arthur.

    Tales of Mean Streets. Lizerunt, Squire Napper, Without Visible Means, Three Rounds and Others …

    Methuen & Co. … London, 1894.

    First edition of Morrison’s second book. Born into a working-class family in Poplar, Morrison was first employed at the People’s Palace in Mile End, and then as a journalist for the evening Globe. His first book, The Shadows around Us (1891), comprised supernatural tales first printed...

    £250

  17. NICOLAI, [Christoph] Friedrich.

    The Life and Opinions of Sebaldus Nothanker. Translated from the German … by Thomas Dutton, A. M. …

    London: Printed by C. Lowndes … and sold by H. D. Symonds … 1798.

    First edition in English, very scarce, of Nicolai’s Das Leben und die Meinungen des Herrn Magister Sebaldus Nothanker (1773-6), ‘probably the literary bestseller of the German Enlightenment’ (Selwyn), translated into many languages and much re-printed. It is sometimes considered the...

    £2750

  18. [O’BRIEN.] NA GOPALEEN, Myles. [Pseud.] Brian O’Nolan.

    The Hard Life … An Exegesis of Squalor.

    London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1961.

    First edition. A short comic novel described by O’Brien’s biographer Anthony Cronin as ‘a small masterpiece’, The Hard Life recounts the turn-of-the-century doings of a nameless narrator and the characters around him, with a remote, disdainful calmness and clarity. Set in the same turn-of-the-century...

    £250

  19. 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

  20. [PEACOCK, Thomas Love].

    Gryll Grange. By the Author of ‘Headlong Hall’ …

    London: Parker, Son, and Bourn … 1861

    First edition in book form, following serialisation in Fraser’s, of Peacock’s final novel, perhaps his most witty and urbane. At a convivial house party at Gryll Grange the eccentric guests debate a whole range of mid-Victorian issues from the pretensions of science and the zeal of the reformers...

    £400