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. PERUCCI, Francesco.

    Pompe funebri di tutte le nationi del mondo, raccolte dale storie sagre et profane.

    Verona, Francesco Rossi, 1639.

    First edition of Perucci’s account of the funeral practices of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, extensively illustrated with engravings copied in reverse from Porcacchi’s 1574 Funerali antichi di diversi popoli, et nationi, inscribed by a Scottish antiquary and documented book collector....

    £975

  2. PICKARD, Edward.

    The Character and Reward of the good and faithful Servant. A Sermon preached at Crouched Friars, London, April...

    London: Printed by Richard Hett, for J. Noon … J. Buckland … and C. Henderson … 1762.

    First edition of a sermon that provides an extended biographical notice (pp. 25-34) of the Presbyterian theologian George Benson (1699-1762). Benson embarked on an industrious series of interpretative Biblical paraphrases after the manner of Locke in the 1730s. His most famous work, published after he...

    £125

  3. PIOZZI, Hester Lynch.

    British Synonymy; or, an Attempt at regulating the Choice of Words in familiar Conversation. Inscribed, with...

    London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson … 1794.

    First edition of a fascinating collection of short essays on synonyms, intended as a help to her husband and his foreign friends. Mrs. Piozzi began work on her Synonymy in early 1792, and by August was hard at the grindstone: ‘ten pages o’ Day copying, besides a little Composition now and...

    £950

  4. PLINY the Younger.

    Epistolarum libri X & panegyricus.

    Leiden, [Bonaventure & Abraham] Elzevir, 1640.

    First Elzevir edition, handsomely bound for the Irish politician Thomas Wogan Browne.

    £450

  5. PLUTARCH.

    ...

    Venice, Nicolao di Aristotile detto Zoppino, March 1525. 

    An attractive illustrated edition of twenty-seven of Plutarch’s lives, extensively annotated by a Papal tax-collector, in a striking contemporary binding.

    £2750

  6. PLUTARCH [and Jodocus BADIUS Ascensius (editor)].

    Vitae … novissime … longe diligentius repositae, majoreque...

    Venice, Melchiorre Sessa [the elder] & Pietro Ravani, 26 November 1516.

    First substantially illustrated edition of Plutarch’s Lives, with signs of early reading. First published in this popular translation in Paris in 1514 by French scholar-printer Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462–1535) in collaboration with Jean Petit, the text is here accompanied by seventy-eight...

    £4250

  7. POCKLINGTON, John.

    Altare Christianum: or, the dead Vicar’s Plea. Wherein the Vicar of Gr. being dead, yet speaketh, and pleadeth...

    London, Printed by Richard Badger. 1637.

    First edition, from the library of Robert Southey, with an ownership inscription an eleven-line note in his distinctive diminutive hand.

    £3750

  8. [POPE, Walter.] 

    The Memoires of Monsieur Du Vall: containing the history of his Life and Death.  Whereunto are annexed his last...

    London, Printed for Henry Brome … 1670. 

    First(?) edition of a partly fictitious and often satirical life of the highwayman Claude Duval, published shortly after his execution in 1670.  This is the more substantial of two opportunistic biographies, between them the main sources of information about him, though by no means entirely trustworthy. ...

    £750

  9. POUND, Ezra.

    How to Read …

    London, Desmond Harmsworth, [1931].

    First edition, a fine association copy. Agnes Bedford (1892-1969) was a lifelong friend of Pound (they first met in 1919 and corresponded until 1963 when he unexpectedly severed contact) and through him of Wyndham Lewis, with whom she had an affair in the 1920s. A vocal coach and accompanist,...

    £750

  10. POUND, Ezra.

    The Letters … 1907-1941. Edited by D. D. Paige

    … London, Faber & Faber, [1951].

    First English edition, an association copy.

    £150

  11. POUND, Ezra.

    The Classic Anthology defined by Confucius.

    London, Faber & Faber, 1955.

    First English edition, first printing, comprising sheets of the Harvard University Press edition (1954) with a cancel Faber title-page.

    £175

  12. RAMUS, Petrus.

    P. Rami ... Oratio de legatione.

    Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.

    First (?) edition: a fascinating pamphlet marking a critical epoch in the history of the University of Paris and the first occasion on which Ramus came into prominence as champion of his University and of higher education in general.

    £800

  13. RAMUS, Petrus.

    Harangue ... touchant ce qu'ont faict les deputez de l’Université de Paris envers le Roy. Mise de Latin en Francois.

    Paris, Andreas Wechel, 1557.

    First French-language edition of the above, issued simultaneously with the Latin text and presumably translated by Ramus himself. Apart from La Dialectique, this is one of Ramus’ very few works in the vernacular. Very rare.

    £950

  14. [REEVE, Gabriel].

    Directions left by a Gentleman to his Sonns: for the Improvement of barren and heathy Land, in England and Wales.

    London, Printed by E. T. and R. H. for R. Royston … 1670

    Sole edition of one of the first books in English devoted to soil conservation. The dedication is signed Gabriel Reeve and dated from Hackney, 14 April 1670.

    £650

  15. REMARKS ON FOG’S JOURNAL,

    of February 10. 1752/3. Exciting the People to an Assassination.

    London: Printed for J. Wilford …1733

    First edition. In order to reduce the burden of the land tax on the country gentlemen upon whom his ministry depended, and to shift government revenues to other sources, Walpole revived the excise on salt and was considering substituting excise for customs duties on wine and tobacco. This led to alarms...

    £150

  16. RE-REPRESENTATION (THE)

    : or, a modest Search after the great Plunderers of the Nation: being a brief Enquiry into two weighty...

    London, Printed in the Year, 1711.

    First edition, the issue with ‘known. I.’ (rather than ‘known, viz. I.’) on the title-page, and with ‘against’ and ‘publick’ spelled correctly on pages 11 and 25. As the half-title and title-page form a bifolium cancelling A1 (the text begins on A2, page 3), the two variants were probably...

    £350

  17. [REYNOLDS, Joshua, Sir].

    A Discourse, delivered at the Opening of the Royal Academy, January 2, 1769 [also: October 16,...

    London: Printed in the Year 1769.

    First editions of seven discourses addressed by Reynolds to the newly founded Royal Academy, of which he was the first President.

    £950

  18. [RICHARDSON, Jonathan].

    The general Address (in two Parts) of the Outinian Lecturer to his Auditors …. London: Printed by W....

    London: Printed by W. Nicol, late Bulmer & Co. … 1822

    First edition, very rare. The Address is a revised version of the valedictory lecture given on 31 December 1818 to mark the centenary of the death of William Penn. It gives an explanation of the origins of the Society and then is entirely directed to the career and particularly the principles of William...

    £1600

  19. [RIVERS, David].

    Literary Memoirs of living Authors of Great Britain, arranged according to an alphabetical Catalogue of their...

    London: Printed for R. Faulder … sold also by T. Egerton … and W. Richardson … 1798.

    First edition of a collection of literary biographies, including perhaps the earliest brief life of Coleridge, whose first volume of Poems had appeared in 1796:

    £1500

  20. R., N.

    Proverbs English, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish. All Englished and alphabetically digested …

    London, Printed for Simon Miller … 1659.

    First and only edition of a scarce collection of idiomatic phrases and proverbs, many translated from other languages, with a selection of 114 ‘Golden sentences’ at the end.

    £1750