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. [GRANT, Charles, Vicomte de Vaux.]

    Recueil d’Essais, ou précis des opinions, et des mémoires, du Vte de *** …

    A Londres: De l’Imprimerie de T. Spilsbury & Fils. 1793.

    An interesting tract volume, containing the scarce collected thoughts of Charles Grant, vicomte de Vaux (a subscriber’s copy), a fine illustrated guide to Nîmes and the Pont du Gard, and three pamphlets relating to a controversy in the medical faculty in Edinburgh.

    £1500

  2. 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

  3. HALL, Major Herbert Byng.

    The Adventures of a Bric-a-Brac Hunter …

    London: Tinsley Brothers … 1868.

    First edition of a charming travel guide to Europe for the dilletante porcelain collector; some of the sketches that make up the book first appeared in the Belgravia magazine.

    £275

  4. [HAWKE, William].

    An authentic and genuine Narrative of the Life and surprizing Exploits, of William Hawke, the famous Highwayman,...

    London: Printed for the Author; and sold by R. Richards, at his Lottery-Office … 1774.

    First edition of a shilling life of the ‘monarch’ of highwaymen, William Hawke. He and his henchman were ‘the most daring and desperate gang … that ever infested the English roads’, but ‘though Hawke had many vices, yet he was not destitute of every virtue’, and was known for his generosity...

    £950

  5. HAZLITT, William.

    Conversations of James Northcote, Esq., R.A. …

    London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley … 1830.

    First edition of Hazlitt’s final book, an inflammatory collection of gossip published just weeks before his death. ‘All the ill-nature in the book is Northcote’s; and all, or almost all, the talent’s, Hazlitt’s’ (Examiner, May 1833).

    £200

  6. HAZLITT, William.

    Conversations of James Northcote, Esq., R.A. …

    London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley … 1830.

    First edition of Hazlitt’s final book, an inflammatory collection of gossip published just weeks before his death. ‘All the ill-nature in the book is Northcote’s; and all, or almost all, the talent, Hazlitt’s’ (Examiner, May 1833).

    £250

  7. HEBER, Reginald, and Nicolas BARKER (editor).

    A Letter from India.

    The Roxburghe Club, 2020.

    'I do not expect that with fair prospects of eminence at home, you should go to the Ganges for a mitre,’ wrote Sir Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, President of the Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs, in 1819 to Reginald Heber at Hodnet in Shropshire, but in vain. Despite a growing reputation...

    £100

  8. HEMINGWAY, Joseph.

    History of the Spanish Revolution; commencing with the establishment of the constitutional government of the...

    London, Henry Fisher at the Caxton Press, [1823].

    First edition of this political history of Spain from the Spanish Constitution of 1812 (also known as the Constitution of Cádiz, 19 March 1812) down to the Battle of Trocadero (31 August 1823) and the execution of Riego (7 November 1823). It seems originally to have been published in parts. According...

    £250

  9. HILL, Richard, Sir.

    Logica Wesleiensis: or, the Farrago double distilled. With an heroic Poem in Praise of Mr. John Wesley …

    London: Printed for E. and C. Dilly … J. Matthews … and W. Harris … 1773.

    First and only edition, a somewhat eccentric reproof of Wesley’s increasingly strident attacks on Calvinism (and on Hill himself).

    £575

  10. HILL, Rowland.

    Journal of a Tour through the North of England and Parts of Scotland. With Remarks on the present State of the established...

    London: Printed by T. Gillet … and sold at Surr[e]y Chapel; also by T. Chapman [and seven others in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow]. 1799

    First edition, an account of a Scottish tour conducted in July –September 1798 by the eccentric evangelical preacher Rowland Hill, followed by lengthy remarks on the Scottish church in a letter to the Baptist minister James Haldane. There is another issue with the title Journal through the North...

    £325

  11. [HILL, ‘Sir’ John].

    A Night Scene at Ranelagh on Wednesday 6th of May 1752. Thus I bore my point; six rogues in buckram let...

    [London], May 29 Publish’d … by H. Carpenter … [1752]

    Sole edition. The self-styled ‘Sir’ John Hill, sometime a physician and an actor, is best known for the ‘Paper War’ in 1751-2 between his ‘Inspector’ columns in the London Daily Journal and Fielding’s Covent-Garden Journal. It began in good humour but soon turned to real antagonism...

    £650

  12. [HILL, ‘Sir’ John, attributed author].

    The Oeconomy of Human Life. Part the Second. Translated from an Indian Manuscript, found...

    London: Printed for M. Cooper ... 1751.

    First edition of this opportunistic work by the self-styled ‘Sir’ John Hill (so attributed in ESTC). It purports to be the sequel to Robert Dodsley’s highly successful The Oeconomy of Life (1750; sometimes attributed to P. D. Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield), and is written in the same poetic prose...

    £350

  13. [HO CHI MINH.] ‘Nguyên-Aï-Quôc’ (pseud.).

    Le Procès de la colonisation française – première série [all published]...

    Paris, Librairie du travail, [1926].

    First edition, very rare, of a strident attack on French colonial policy, not just in Indochina but also in Madagascar, Cameroon, Algeria etc, by the future President and Prime Minister of North Vietnam. He strikes out at taxation, governance, ‘les civilisateurs’, corruption, exploitation,...

    £650

  14. HOLE, Richard.

    Remarks on the Arabian Nights’ Entertainment; in which the Origin of Sinbad’s Voyages, and other oriental Fictions,...

    London: Printed for T. Cadell, Junior, and W. Davies, Successors to Mr. Cadell … 1797.

    First edition of a whimsical but erudite treatise ‘first read at the meeting of a Literary Society in Exeter’, where members included Richard Polwhele. After initial scepticism, Hole’s research led him to conclude the narratives had a basis in fact. Hole went on to write a parallel work on Homer,...

    £650

  15. HOOKER, Richard.

    Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, eight Bookes [Bound with:] Certayne Divine Tractates … London, Printed...

    … London: Printed by Will. Stansby, and are to be sold by Mat. Lownes … 1617.

    Fourth edition, first issue, of the Preface and Books 1-4 (first published in 1593), third edition of Book 5 (first published in 1597), bound here with the third edition of ‘Certayne Divine Tractates’ (1631), issued with a 1622 general title-page (rather than the usual 1632).

    £650

  16. JEFFERIES, Richard.

    Hodge and his Masters …

    London, Smith, Elder, & Co. … 1880.

    First edition, an influential volume of sketches of rural life, collected from Jefferies’ articles in the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard. Jefferies (1848-1887) had published his first novel The Scarlet Shawl in 1874, after some years as a rural newspaperman; with Hodge and his Masters...

    £450

  17. [JEFFREYS, George, first Baron Jeffreys].

    The Life and Character of the late Lord Chancellor Jefferys [sic] ...

    London: Printed by A. Moore ... 1725.

    First edition of an uncomplimentary life of the notorious Judge Jeffreys, who presided at the trial of Titus Oates. The author, according to the introduction, was a ‘Practicer at the Bar’ recently deceased, who had lived to a good age and was ‘well acquainted with all the Chancellor’s Proceedings,...

    £400

  18. JONES, Sir John Thomas.

    Account of the war in Spain and Portugal, and in the south of France, from 1808, to 1814, inclusive.

    London, T. Egerton, 1818.

    First edition. In July 1808 John Jones (1783–1843) was selected to serve as one of the two assistant commissioners under General Leith, appointed military and semi-diplomatic agent to the juntas of northern Spain, returning to England after the battle of Corunna in January 1809. In 1810 he was again...

    £250

  19. 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

  20. [JUVENILE.] 

    Preliminary lessons on the history of England, originally compiled for private use, and now adapted to the junior...

    Taunton, J. Poole, 1821. 

    Later edition of this uncommon Taunton-printed sketch of English history for use in primary schools, which first appeared in 1809.  After brief notes on Julius Caesar, the Saxons, and notable pre-Conquest kings, the book offers a short overview of the character of each monarch (and monarch substitute)...

    £135