English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Ted Hofmann

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. [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

  2. [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

  3. 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

  4. HOMERIC HYMN (THE)

    to Aphrodite. A New Translation by F. L. Lucas, fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. With ten Engravings by...

    Printed in Great Britain at the Golden Cockerel Press, 1948.

    First edition, No. 308 of 750 copies. Cockalorum 177.

    £225

  5. 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

  6. HOWELL, George.

    Labour Legislation, Labour Movements, and Labour Leaders.

    London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1905.

    Second edition of an early account of the Labour movement. The final work of the trades’ unionist and politician, Howell’s text was first published in 1902 and ‘traced the progress of the working classes in the nineteenth century with particular emphasis on the events and leaders with whom he had...

    £50

  7. 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

  8. [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

  9. KAFKA, Franz.

    Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Posthumous Prose Writings.

    London, Secker and Warburg, 1954.

    First edition in English. Translated by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, with notes by Max Brod. ‘Although Kafka’s almost unceasing guilt and anxieties seem to mark him as a man of pestilential morbidity and gloom, it is not the important effect he has on us. He has a kind of cunning. His plain and...

    £200

  10. [KENNETT, White].

    The Wisdom of looking Backward, to judge the better of one Side and t’Other by the Speeches, Writings, Actions,...

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1715.

    First edition, an intriguing retrospective of political (and religious) infighting, anatomizing the pamphlet controversies of the last years of Queen Anne’s reign. The work is printed in two columns, ‘One Side’, ‘And t’Other’, and includes numerous extracts from printed works, as well as...

    £450

  11. KETT, Henry.

    The Flowers of Wit, or a Choice Collection of Bon Mots, both antient and modern; with biographical and critical Remarks...

    London: Printed for Lackington, Allen, and Co. … at the Weybridge Press, by S. Hamilton. 1814.

    First edition, scarce, of a compilation of witty anecdotes and clever ripostes ordered alphabetically by author (including Cervantes, Queen Elizabeth, Samuel Johnson, ‘The Spartans’, Swift, Voltaire), and then by subject, with an appendix of ‘Puns’ and ‘Bulls’.

    £150

  12. [LANGHORNE, John].

    Letters supposed to have passed between M. de St. Evremond and Mr. Waller. Now first collected and published....

    London: Printed in the Year, 1770.

    Unacknowledged second edition; first published in two volumes in 1769. These supposed letters between the poet Edmund Waller and his contemporary, the French essayist Saint-Evremond are in fact by the poet and translator John Langhorne; they range widely over literary matters, including anecdotes about...

    £175

  13. LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, François, Duc de.

    The Memoirs of the Duke de La Rochefoucault. Containing the private Intrigues for obtaining...

    London, Printed for James Partridge … 1683.

    First edition in English, translated from Mémoires de M. D.L.R. sur les brigues à la mort de Louys XIII (1662). At court in his earlier years La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) took an active part in the cabals and rivalries that surrounded Richelieu and Louis XIII, and subsequently in the Fronde...

    £650

  14. LAWRENCE, Thomas Edward.

    Revolt in the Desert.

    London: Jonathon Cape, 1927.

    First edition of Lawrence’s popularly successful abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

    £275

  15. LE BON, Gustave.

    The psychology of revolution.

    New York, Putnam’s, 1913.

    First edition in English, first published as La Révolution Française et la psychologie des révolutions (1912). Another of Le Bon’s psychological histories, on this occasion the focus is his own patrimoine.

    £125

  16. LEE, Henry.

    [Cover title:] The White Whale …

    London, R. K. Burt & Co. … 1878.

    First edition, an account of the white Beluga whale by Henry Lee of the Royal Aquarium in Brighton, specifically of the first such whale successfully transported to England, exhibited for four days in 1877 before its death from pneumonia; and of four further whales transported the following year....

    £225

  17. LELAND, John.

    The Itinerary of John Leland, in or about the Years 1535-1543. Edited by Lucy Toulmin Smith, with a Foreword by Thomas...

    London, Centaur Press Ltd, 1964.

    The authoritative edition of Leland’s Itinerary, a monument of English bibliography and antiquarian research. The Itinerary comprises the notes of the antiquary John Leland (c. 1503–1552) on his journeys through England and Wales during the dissolution of the monasteries. According...

    £75

  18. LELAND, John.

    The Itinerary of John Leland, in or about the Years 1535-1543. Edited by Lucy Toulmin Smith, with a Foreword by Thomas...

    London, Centaur Press Ltd, 1964.

    The authoritative edition of Leland’s Itinerary, a monument of English bibliography and antiquarian research. The Itinerary comprises the notes of the antiquary John Leland (c. 1503–1552) on his journeys through England and Wales during the dissolution of the monasteries. According...

    £50

  19. LETTERS ON THE FRENCH NATION

    : by a Sicilian Gentleman resident in Paris, to his Friend in his own Country. Containing an useful...

    London: Printed for T. Lownds ... 1749.

    First edition of this translation, very rare, of a work first printed in French in Paris in 1700 (see below) and, in a different translation, in English in 1704 as An agreeable Criticism of the City of Paris.

    £1250

  20. LEVESQUE, Pierre Charles.

    Histoire de Russie, tirée des chroniques originales, de pieces authentiques, & des meilleurs historiens...

    Paris, Debure l’aîné, 1782.

    First edition, a handsome set, in an attractive binding. Trained as an engraver, Levesque (1736–1812) obtained a teaching position in St Petersburg through the recommendation of Denis Diderot. His seven-year stay in Russia resulted in his highly successful Histoire de Russie, a classic...

    £750