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. 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

  2. [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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. [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

  6. 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

  7. LAWRENCE, James Henry. 

    A Picture of Verdun, or the English Detained in France … from the Portfolio of a Detenu. 

    London, T. Hookham junior & E.T. Hookham, 1810. 

    First edition of this remarkable account of life among the British prisoners in Napoleonic Verdun, following the mass arrest of English residents in and visitors to France. 

    £600

  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...

    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. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    Men without Art …

    London, Cassell & Company Limited, [1934].

    First edition; Lewis takes on and demolishes Hemingway, Faulkner, and Woolf. Bridson reviewed the book in The Criterion in January 1935, pp. 335-337.

    £200

  18. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    Blasting & Bombardiering …

    London, Eyre & Spottiswode, 1937.

    First edition, first issue binding, of one of Lewis’s best and best-known works. It was the first of two largely autobiographical books, this covering 1914-1926 as stated on the jacket, and is now remembered in particular for its coining of the much-discussed phrase ‘The Men of 1914’, referring...

    £500

  19. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    America, I Presume.

    New York, Howell, Soskins & Co., [1940].

    First edition, Lewis’s first impressions of America after his abrupt departure thence in September 1939. He was to remain in North America for the duration of World War WII.

    £75

  20. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    An Anthology of his Prose. Edited with an introduction by E.W.F. Tomlin.

    London, Methuen & Co Ltd., [1969].

    First edition. ‘The Sea-Mists of Winter’, Lewis’s famous article on the approach of blindness, appears in this Anthology for the first time in book form – the original article from The Listener is also laid in. Bridson has noted in pencil where the book text differs (with several...

    £150