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. [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

  2. 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

  3. [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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. [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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. LE MIRE, Aubert (editor).

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

    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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    The Caliph’s Design. Architects! Where is your Vortex?

    London, The Egoist Ltd., 1919.

    First edition, a pamphlet of art criticism, particularly an attack on ugly modern architecture; there is (rare) praise for Cézanne and Picasso. It was printed in an edition of 1000, of which 121 were distributed gratis and 84 eventually remaindered and returned to Lewis.

    £400

  16. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    Filibusters in Barbary (Record of a Visit to the Sous).

    London, Grayson & Grayson, [1932].

    First edition, scarce in the dust-jacket, ‘an account of his travels which Lewis had written after a holiday with his wife in French Morocco and the Spanish Sahara. The book … emerged as one of the liveliest travel-books of the time. Like all of Lewis’s writing, it was quirky and opinionated,...

    £500

  17. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    Paleface, the Philosophy of the melting Pot.

    London, Chatto & Windus, 1929.

    First edition, a considerably expanded version of an essay which first appeared in The Enemy no. 2, examining ‘race-consciousness’ in contemporary literature and the ‘melting pot’ philosophy of America. ‘I am heart and soul upon the side of the Melting Pot, not upon that of the Barbed...

    £650

  18. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    The Old Gang and the New Gang.

    London, Desmond Harmsworth, 1933.

    First edition, binding variant (1), a work on ‘youth cults’ and the rise of European dictatorships. Bridson’s review was not especially complimentary, noting ‘that peculiar “kiddish” idiom which Mr. Lewis uses to advantage in his satiric novels and to little purpose elsewhere … We can excuse...

    £250

  19. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    Time and Western Man.

    London, Chatto & Windus, 1927.

    First edition, first issue (on heavier paper), of Lewis’s ‘single most important philosophical work’ (Morrow & Lafourcade).

    £400

  20. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    The Wild Body.

    London, Chatto & Windus, 1927.

    First trade edition, first issue binding; there was also a special edition of 85 signed copies. A collection, in a much reworked form, of some early sketches written in Brittany, some of which had been published in 1909.

    £250