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. [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

  2. GIBBON, Edward.

    The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire.

    London, printed for W. Strahan & T. Cadell, 1776–88.

    First editions of all six volumes of Gibbon’s ‘masterpiece of historical penetration and literary style’ (PMM). The first volume here is of the second variant (of two), with the errata corrected as far as p. 183 and X4 and a4 so signed.

    £14000

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. [MARLBOROUGH, John Churchill, Duke of.]

    Tract volume of five rare works (three not in the British Library) relating...

    London, 1695–1706.

    Five works, 4to, bound together in nineteenth-century half calf with marbled sides; first and last pages of all works dusty; inscription of the sixth Duke of Marlborough dated 1847, bookplate with the Marlborough arms.

    £3850

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  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. CLARENDON, Edward Hyde, Earl of

    The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, begun in the Year 1641.  With...

    Oxford, Printed at the Theater, 1702[–4]. 

    First edition of Clarendon’s monumental History of the Civil War, with a presentation inscription by his son Henry Hyde, the second Earl (1638–1709). 

    £3250

  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. 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

  13. 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

  14. ELIOT, George.

    The Writings …

    Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1908.

    The Large-Paper edition of Eliot’s complete works, no. 184 of 750 sets.

    £2500

  15. 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

  16. LANCINA, Juan Alfonso Rodríguez de.

    Historia de las reboluciones del Senado de Messina, que ofrece al sacro, Catolico, real nombre...

    Madrid, Por Julian de Paredes, impressor de libros, en la Plaçuela del Angel, 1692.

    First and only edition of this rare account of the anti-Spanish revolt of Messina, in Sicily, which broke out in 1674 and lasted until 1678, by Juan Alfonso Rodríguez de Lancina (c. 1649–1703). Lancina, a judge of the Grand Court of the Vicaria, the highest criminal court of the Kingdom of...

    £2500

  17. DILWORTH, W. H.

    The History of the Conquest of Mexico, by the celebrated Hernan Cortes. Containing a faithful and entertaining...

    London: Printed for William Anderson … 1759.

    First edition, very scarce, of a history of the conquistadores for young readers, loosely derived from Antonio Solís de Ribadeneyra’s Historia de la Conquista de México.

    £1850

  18. [CARTOUCHE.]

    The Life and Actions of Lewis Dominique Cartouche: who was broke alive upon the Wheel at Paris, Nov. 28. 1721. N.S....

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1722.

    First edition in English, published in the same year as the French original. Louis Dominique Bourguignon, alias ‘Cartouche’ (1693-1721), began his life of crime stealing fruit from women at the gates of his Jesuit school and books from his wealthy classmates. To avoid punishment for theft he fled...

    £1750

  19. R., N.

    Proverbs English, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish. All Englished and alphabetically digested …

    London, Printed for Simon Miller … 1659.

    First and only edition of a scarce collection of idiomatic phrases and proverbs, many translated from other languages, with a selection of 114 ‘Golden sentences’ at the end.

    £1750

  20. [TREATIES.]

    Volume of tracts on European treaties of peace and alliance.

    Vienna and Amsterdam, 1725-1731.

    A collection of scarce texts relating to the Peace of Vienna (1725) and subsequent treaties of Hanover (1725), Paris (1727), Seville (1729), and Vienna (1731), with contemporary manuscript additions in Italian and French clearly composed by someone in diplomatic service. The collection eloquently...

    £1750