English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees

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. JUSTINUS, Marcus Junianius, and Lucius FLORUS. 

    [Epitome historiarum:] Justini historici clarissimi in Trogi Pompei historias...

    [Venice, Bartolomeo Zani, 3 February 1503]. 

    A thoroughly annotated copy of a greatly influential compendium of Trogus’s monumental forty-four-book Historia of the world from Babylon to the Augustan era. 

    £3800

  2. BONET, Nicolas.

    Habes Nicholai Bonetti viri p[er]spicacissimi quattuor volumina: Metaphysicam videl[icet] naturale[m] phylosophia[m]...

    Venice, Boneto Locatello for the heirs of Ottaviano Scoto, 1505.

    First collected edition of the works of the French Franciscan Friar Nicolas Bonet (c. 1280–1343), owned and annotated by the Italian historian, biographer, and physician Paolo Giovio (1486–1552).

    £4000

  3. FLORUS, Lucius. 

    Lucii Flori rerum ab urbe condita liber primus [– quartus]. 

    [Venice, in aedibus Aldi et Andreae Soceri, March 1521.] 

    Florus’s epitome of Roman history, extracted from the Aldine edition of March 1521 which comprised an epitome of Livy, Florus, and Niccolò Perotti’s translation of Polybius. 

    £750

  4. [ROZIER.] 

    Le rozier historial de France contenant deux roziers.  Le p[re]mier rozier contient plusieurs belles rozes et boutons...

    Paris, [Gilles Couteau for François Regnault], 26 February 1522 [i.e. 1523]. 


    First edition, the very handsome Fairfax-Murray copy, of the Rozier historial de France

    £25000

  5. PLUTARCH.

    ...

    Venice, Nicolao di Aristotile detto Zoppino, March 1525. 

    An attractive illustrated edition of twenty-seven of Plutarch’s lives, extensively annotated by a Papal tax-collector, in a striking contemporary binding.

    £2750

  6. DIO CASSIUS.

    Dione historico delle guerre et fatti de Romani. Tradotto di Greco in lingua vulgare per M. Nicolo Leoniceno. Con...

    Venice, Niccolò Zoppino, March 1533.

    First edition of Dio’s Roman History in any language, translated into Italian from the original Greek by Niccolò Leoniceno and preceding the Greek editio princeps, printed by Robert Estienne in 1548, by some fifteen years.

    £2750

  7. LIVY, Titus. 

    T. Livii Patauini […] ex XIIII Decadibus Historiae Romanae ab Urbe condita, Decades, prima, tertia, quarta,...

    Paris, [Michel Vascosan for] Oudin Petit, 1543 [– Michel Vascosan for himself and Oudin Petit, 1542]. 

    A much-praised edition of Livy’s History, reprinting Vascosan’s 1535 edition and including the philological corpus on Livy by the most established humanists of the time: Rhenanus, Gelenius, Grynaeus, Glareanus, Badius Ascensius, Valla, and Sabellico. 

    £3800

  8. GIOVIO, Paolo. 

    Elogia veris clarorum virorum imaginibus apposita.  Quae in musaeo Ioviano Comi spectantur.  Addita in calce...

    Venice, Michele Tramezzino, 1546. 

    First edition of Giovio’s biographies of illustrious men, with several marginal corrections, remarks, and comments by a contemporary reader, whose knowledge of biographies of the past encompassed several authors, including Erasmus. 

    £3000

  9. GUAZZO, Marco.

    Historie di M. Marco Guazzo di tutti i fatti degni di memoria nel mondo successi dal 1524 sino a l’anno 1549....

    Venice, Giolito, 1549.

    First edition thus, this copy owned by the future Pope Clement XII, of a remarkable history of recent and contemporary events, first published in 1540 and here updated by almost ten years, resuming the account of world event and Italian politics and including references to American history from 1522.

    £3600

  10. [GELENIUS, Sigismund (editor).] 

    Notitia utraque, dignitatum, cum orientis, tum occidentis, ultra arcadii honoriique tempora,...

    Lyons, [Jacques du Creux for] Jean de Gabiano, 1608. 

    An expanded edition, illustrated on almost every leaf, of an anonymous fifth-century description of the Roman Empire. 

    £875

  11. BEUTER, Pere Antoni (or Pedro Antonio); Alfonso de ULLOA, translator.

    Cronica generale d’Hispagna, et del regno...

    Venice, Gabriel Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1556.

    First and only Italian edition of the first part of Beuter’s history of Spain and Valencia from the Great Flood to James I the Conqueror, handsomely bound for Don Pedro Antonio de Aragon.

    £3200

  12. RAMUS, Petrus.

    P. Rami ... Oratio de legatione.

    Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.

    First (?) edition: a fascinating pamphlet marking a critical epoch in the history of the University of Paris and the first occasion on which Ramus came into prominence as champion of his University and of higher education in general.

    £800

  13. RAMUS, Petrus.

    Harangue ... touchant ce qu'ont faict les deputez de l’Université de Paris envers le Roy. Mise de Latin en Francois.

    Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.

    First French-language edition of the above, issued simultaneously with the Latin text and presumably translated by Ramus himself. Apart from La Dialectique, this is one of Ramus’ very few works in the vernacular. Very rare.

    £950

  14. DIODORUS Siculus.

    Bibliothecae historicae libri XV. Hoc est, quotquot Graece extant de quadraginta quorum quinque nunc primum Latine...

    Basel, Heinrich Petri, August 1559.

    Important edition, the first to be overseen by Sébastien Castellion, of Diodorus’s influential ‘Historical library’.

    £2500

  15. TYRE, William, Archbishop of, and Giuseppe OROLOGGI (translator).

    Historia della guerra sacra di Gierusalemme,...

    Venice, Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1562.

    First Italian edition of William of Tyre’s (1130–1186) important account of the first two crusades and of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, with the addition of a seventeenth-century manuscript detailing a uniquely Italian rendition of the tale of the Wandering Jew.

    £2800

  16. BUONACCORSI, Biagio, and Niccolò VALORI. 

    Diario de’ successi piu importanti seguiti in Italia, & particolarmente in...

    Florence, Filippo & Jacopo Giunta, 1568. 

    First edition of an insider account of Medici politics by Biagio Buonaccorsi (1472–1522), colleague and confidant of Machiavelli, bound with the first edition of Malespini’s history of Florence and owned by Claude-Enoch Virey, secretary to Henri II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé. 

    £1000

  17. XENOPHON.

    De Cyri regis Persarum vita atque disciplina, libri VIII.

    Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1572.

    First edition of Joachim Camerarius’ Latin translation of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, a partly fictional work on the life and education of Cyrus the Great which served as a model for medieval and renaissance mirrors of princes, including Machiavelli’s Il Principe. A beautiful...

    £875

  18. CHALMERS [CHAMBERS], David, Lord Ormond.

    Histoire abbregée de toutes les Roys de France, Angletaire, et Escosse … [with:]...

    Paris, Robert Coulombel ‘at the sign of Aldus’, 1579.

    First edition of the three principal works of David Chalmers (c. 1530–1592), a faithful follower of Mary, Queen of Scots, who appointed him Lord of Session and Privy Counsellor.

    £2500

  19. FULBECKE, William.

    An Historicall Collection of the continuall Factions, Tumults, and Massacres of the Romans and Italians during...

    London, Printed for William Ponsonby. 1601.

    First edition. Fulbecke’s Historicall Collection ‘was a narrative history of the last years of the Roman republic and it is significant as one of the very few attempts by a Renaissance Englishman to write such a work … An interesting attempt to weave together such often-contradictory...

    £5250

  20. LE MIRE, Aubert (editor). 

    Rerum toto orbe gestarum chronica a Christo nato ad nostra usque tempora.  Auctoribus Eusebio...

    Antwerp, apud Hieronymum Verdussium, 1608. 

    First edition of this collection of chronicles, covering sixteen hundred years of world history from the birth of Christ to its publication, composed by the ecclesiastical historian Aubert le Mire of Brussels, this copy from the library of Jacques Auguste de Thou. 

    £3750