English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees, Ted Hofmann or Alexander Laar

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. AEMYLIUS, Paulus (Paolo EMILIO).

    Historici clarissimi de rebus gestis Francorum…

    Paris, Michel Vascosan, 1550.

    Early editions of the three classical complementary chronicles of France from the fifth to the mid-sixteenth century, often issued and bound together.

    £750

  2. AMOS, William.

    Minutes in Agriculture and Planting … Illustrated with Specimens of eight Sorts of the best, and two Sorts of...

    Boston [Lincolnshire], Printed by J. Hellaby, 1804.

    First edition, rare. William Amos was the steward of the Brothertoft estate of the ‘father of reform’ John Cartwright, and author of an earlier work on The Theory and Practice of Drill Husbandry (1794). Here he provides descriptions, and samples, of both ‘artificial’ and ‘natural’...

    £2250

  3. AUGUSTINE, Saint.

    St. Augustine, of the Citie of God: with the learned Comments of Io. Lod. Vives. Englished by J. H.

    [London,] Printed by George Eld. 1610.

    First edition in English of Augustine’s City of God, translated by the traveller and gentleman’s steward John Healey. ‘Our earliest treatise on the philosophy of history’, as Voltaire called it, City of God is a cornerstone of Western thought, pervading the whole of the Middle Ages,...

    £12000

  4. [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.

    £1250

  5. BACON, Francis.

    The Essayes or Counsels, civill and morall … Newly enlarged.

    London, Printed by John Haviland … 1632.

    Third edition of the definitive text of Bacon’s Essayes, first published in 1625. The first edition appeared in 1597 comprising only ten short essays; in 1612 these were revised and a further twenty-eight essays added. The 1625 edition contained fifty-eight essays, twenty of them new, and the rest...

    £650

  6. BARDUZZI, Bernardino.

    A Letter in Praise of Verona [1489]. In the original Latin Text with an English Translation by Betty Radice.

    Verona, [Officina Bodoni,] 1974.

    First edition, No. 34 of 150 copies: an elegant facsimile reprint of one of Verona’s rarest incunables. Barduzzi’s eulogistic letter to Giovanni Nesi was first printed in 1489 by Paulus Fridenperger. The Latin text is followed here by an English translation and a biographical postscript by Giovanni...

    £375

  7. BEARCROFT, Philip.

    An historical Account of Thomas Sutton Esq; and of his Foundation in Charter-House …

    London: Printed by E. Owen, and sold by F. Gyles … W. Hinchliffe … J. and P. Knapton … J. Stagg … and S. Birt … 1737.

    First edition. Thomas Sutton (1532-1611) was an Elizabethan civil servant who made an enormous fortune from leases of land rich in coal in Durham. In 1611 he bought Howard House for £13,000 from the Earl of Suffolk; the building acquired its more familiar name, ‘Charterhouse’, after the order of...

    £250

  8. [BEER, Johann Christoph.]

    Kurtzer Entwurff dess Lebens der Könige in Engelland von der Zeit an als die Sachsen und Angeln sich...

    Nuremberg, Johann Hoffmann, 1676.

    Second, corrected and improved, edition (first 1671) of this attractive German survey of English kings and queens. After describing the rulers in the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England (Wessex, Sussex, Essex, Kent, East Anglia, Northumbria, and Mercia), Beer discusses the kings from Egbert to Harold...

    £500

  9. BENTHAM, Jeremy.

    Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the Form of a Catechism, with Reasons for each Article. With an Introduction,...

    London: Printed in the Year 1817. Re-printed and Re-published, with Notes and Alterations, by Permission of the Author, by T. J. Wooler … 1818.

    First edition thus of an inexpensive reprint of Bentham’s Plan of Parliamentary Reform (1817), the style adapted by Thomas Wooler, with Bentham’s permission, to ‘render it more easy of comprehension to the popular reader’. In this form it first appeared in instalments in Wooler’s radical...

    £225

  10. [BLACKMORE, Richard, and John HUGHES.]

    The Lay-Monastery. Consisting of Essays, Discourses, &c. Published singly under the Title...

    London: Printed by Sam. Keimer, for Ferdinand Burleigh ... 1714.

    First collected edition of a little-known periodical that appeared as The Lay Monk in 40 numbers thrice weekly from 16 November 1713 to 15 February 1713/14. Produced in imitation of The Spectator (to which Hughes had contributed), The Lay-Monastery features a fraternity of gentlemen...

    £250

  11. BLOUNT, Sir Thomas Pope.

    Essays on several Subjects …

    London, Printed for Richard Bently … 1692.

    Second edition of seven essays of ‘considerable merit [that] display the easy scepticism and solid good sense and learning of the author to good advantage’ (Pforzheimer). They deal with self-interest; the mischief of learning; education; respect for antiquity; the virtues of modern men; passion;...

    £500

  12. BOLTON, Robert.

    Letters and Tracts on the Choice of Company and other Subjects. The second Edition.

    London: Printed for J. Whiston and B. White … and R. and J. Dodsley … 1762.

    Second edition; a reissue of the sheets of the first edition with a cancel title-page and advertisement replacing the original title leaf A1. As well as the title tract, the volume includes essays ‘On Intemperance in Eating’, ‘On Intemperance in Drinking’, ‘On Pleasure’ and ‘On Public Worship’,...

    £325

  13. [BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.]

    La Liturgie. C’est a dire, le formulaire des Prieres publiques, de l’Administrations des Sacreman;...

    A Londres, pour Jean Dunmore & Octavien Pulleyn le Jeune … 1667.

    First edition of this translation, printed for the use of ‘toutes les Eglisses Paroissiales & dans les Chapelles de Isles de Jersey, Guernsey, & autres Isles adjacentes’, as well as for the French congregation at the Savoy in London.

    £750

  14. BOTTARELLI, Ferdinando.

    Exercises upon the different Parts of Italian Speech; with References to Veneroni’s Grammar. To which...

    London, Printed for J. Nourse … 1778.

    First edition, very scarce, of a popular Italian tutor for English students, designed to teach grammar and idiomatic phrases through the use of exemplars. Increasingly difficult English phrases are laid out with the uninflected Italian stems below:

    £450

  15. [BOUCHER, Jean].

    Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus,...

    [Paris?], 1595.

    First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against...

    £250

  16. [Brewer, George].

    The Siamese tales: being a collection of stories told to the son of the Mandarin Sam-Sib, for the purpose of...

    London, Vernor & Hood and Champante & Whitrow, 1796.

    First edition of an anonymously published collection of ‘Siamese tales’, written as fables to increase their appeal to children. In the Introduction, the author states that the purpose of these supposedly translated tales is to ‘promote the love of virtue through the medium of fiction’ (p. 1)....

    £950

  17. BRIEF ACCOUNT (A)

    of the Earthquake, the solemn Event which occurred near Axmouth, Devonshire, on the 25th December, 1839 …

    London: James Nisbett and Co. … 1840.

    First edition, very rare. The landslip at Bindon near Axmouth on the Jurassic Coast of Devon, which took place over the Christmas of 1839, was perhaps the most dramatic geological event in nineteenth-century England. Months of heavy rain weakened the clay foundations of the coastal landscape, sending...

    £750

  18. [BROWNE, Sir Thomas.]

    A true and full Coppy of that which was most imperfectly and surreptitiously printed before under the Name...

    [London,] Printed for Andrew Crooke: 1645.

    Third authorized edition, correcting some of the errata. Religio Medici, written in the 1630s, was originally circulated in manuscript among Browne’s friends. He was surprised to see it put into print without his consent in 1642, ‘in a most depraved copy’. An authorized edition, revised to remove...

    £600

  19. BROWNE, Sir Thomas.

    Pseudodoxia Epidemica: or, Enquiries into very many received Tenents, and commonly presumed Truths ... The...

    London, Printed by A. Miller, for Edw. Dod and Nath. Ekins ... 1650.

    Second edition revised. ‘The publisher’s claim ... “corrected and much enlarged by the Author” was fully justified. New chapters and paragraphs were freely inserted and some excisions were made. Many technical terms and quotations in the original languages were dropped, rhetorical questions were...

    £950

  20. BROWNE, Sir Thomas.

    Posthumous Works ... printed from his original Manuscripts. Viz. I. Repertorium: or, the Antiquities of the...

    London: Printed for E. Curll ... and R. Gosling ... 1712.

    First edition of a collection of miscellaneous pieces previously unpublished (apart from A Letter to a Friend), including Browne’s valuable account of the antiquities of Norwich cathedral, letters, ‘An Account of Island aliàs Ice-land’ (a paper for the Royal Society), and the account of the Brompton...

    £1250