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. AINSWORTH, William Harrison.

    The Combat of the Thirty. From a Breton Lay of the fourteenth Century. With an Introduction, comprising...

    London: Chapman and Hall … 1859

    First edition of the first English translations of these two texts, inscribed to ‘James Crossley from his old friend William Harrison Ainsworth’. The two men had been friends since 1817 when Crossley, a solicitor, was articled to Ainsworth’s father and later became a partner in the firm. He was...

    £550

  2. ALMEIDA, Theodoro de.

    Lisboa destruida poema, author o P. Theodoro de Almeida, da Congregaçaõ do Oratorio de Lisboa.

    Lisbon, Antonio Rodrigues Galhardo, 1803.

    First edition of this poem in six cantos, with extensive notes, on the disastrous 1755 Lisbon earthquake, by the Oratorian priest and philosopher Almeida (1722-1804). One of the deadliest in history, the earthquake almost totally destroyed the Portuguese capital and accentuated political tensions within...

    £175

  3. [AUGUSTINE, Saint, attributed author.]

    The Meditations of Saint Augustine, from the Latin Original. By the Rev. J. Martin,...

    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

  4. 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

  5. BAUR, Fidelis. 

    Geschichte der Hohenzollernschen Staaten Hechingen und Sigmaringen von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf unsere Tage,...

    Sigmaringen, Bucher & Liener, 1834-6.

    First edition.  Perched on the Zollenberg, just south of Hechingen, is the castle of Hohenzollern, which gave its name to the ruling house of Brandenburg–Prussia from 1415 to 1918, arguably the most powerful family in German history.  The ancestral lands were divided in 1575 by Count Karl...

    £350

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. [BEWICK, Thomas?]

    Twenty-six rubbings from engraved woodblocks of the heads of Kings and Queens and England, apparently never published...

    [1790-1805?]

    Twenty-six apparently unrecorded wood-engravings – heads of the monarchs of England from William the Conqueror to George III – these images taken by rubbing from the blocks rather than printing. The engravings bear strong similarity to the 26 which appear in An Abridgement of the History...

    £750

  10. 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

  11. [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

  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. 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

  14. [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

  15. BOSWELL, James.

    A Letter to the People of Scotland, on the alarming Attempt to infringe the Articles of Union, and introduce a...

    London: Printed for Charles Dilly … 1785.

    First edition of Boswell’s second Letter to the People of Scotland, written to oppose a bill in Parliament for reducing the number of the Lords of Session from fifteen to ten. Boswell, who believed that this attack on the highest court in Scotland for civil causes was a direct infringement of the Articles...

    £1500

  16. BRITISH MUSEUM.

    List of Missing English Theological and Devotional Books.

    [London, 1940s.]

    Mimeographed typescript of books missing after the losses suffered by the British Museum Library during the Second World War. This is one of several lists of books destroyed, produced both as a record and as a tool for acquiring replacement copies – this copy appears to have been used for that...

    £275

  17. 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

  18. [BUTLER, John].

    Some Account of the Character of the late Right Honourable Henry Bilson Legge.

    London: Printed for J. Almon … 1764.

    First edition. Henry Bilson Legge (1708-1764), three times chancellor of the exchequer between 1754 and 1761, attracted both respect and censure. To Pitt, he was ‘the child, and deservedly the favourite child, of the Whigs’. Horace Walpole, on the other hand, thought him a man ‘of a creeping, underhand...

    £200

  19. CADOGAN, William Bromley.

    The Felicity of God’s Children, considered in a Sermon, preached upon the Death of a Lady, in the parish...

    Reading: Printed and Sold by Smart and Cowslade; and sold by J. Rusher, Reading; Messrs. Robinsons, V. Griffiths ... & J. Matthews ... London;...

    First edition, a funeral sermon by the popular preacher William Bromley Cadogan, a friend of John Newton, for the local widow Maria Littlehales, printed at the request of her children. A younger son of the third Earl of Cadogan, the well-connected churchman was vicar of St. Giles, Reading, and rector...

    £75

  20. CAMPBELL, Thomas.

    Autograph letter, signed, to the novelist and socialite Lady Morgan, explaining why he cannot join her party.

    ‘Wednesday Morning’, no date, but late 1840.

    ‘I have been dying also several times during the last six months – I hope however to survive a few weeks when I shall be nearer to you when, in my new house in Victoria Square, I shall hope to see you frequently.’ Campbell suffered increasing ill health towards the end of his life, but continued...

    £175