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. 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

  2. [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 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

  3. [PORTRAITS.]

    ‘Iconologie ou portraits des grands hommes’.

    ‘A Rouen, chès le frère l’aisné’, [compiled c. 1811].

    A charming collection of over one hundred eighteenth-century engraved portraits, including three mezzotints, featuring famous faces from French and European history across the arts, sciences, politics, military, clergy, royalty, and nobility, preceded by very interesting short manuscript biographies...

    £1250

  4. [POTE, Joseph].

    Les Delices de Windsore; or a Description of Windsor Castle, and the Country adjacent, treating, I. Of the Castle....

    Eton: Printed by Joseph, and Thomas Pote, 1755.

    First edition of a much-reprinted pocket companion to Windsor ‘for the use of Strangers, and other Persons, who visit this our Royal Castle’. It is ‘for the most part an Extract from a larger Work publish’d in Quarto a few Years since’ (Pote’s own work The History and Antiquities of Windsor...

    £325

  5. POUND, Ezra.

    Imaginary Letters.

    Paris: Black Sun Press, 1930.

    First edition, No. 122 of a limited edition of 350 copies, of which fifty copies were printed on Japanese Vellum and signed by Pound, together with three hundred unsigned copies on Navarre Paper.

    £500

  6. 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

  7. POUND, Ezra.

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

    … London, Faber & Faber, [1951].

    First English edition, an association copy.

    £150

  8. 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

  9. PSEUDO-HEGESIPPUS.

    De rebus a Iudaeoru[m] principibus in obsidione fortiter gestis, deq[ue] excidio Hierosolymorum, aliarumq[ue]...

    Cologne, Jaspar Gennepaeus, 1544.

    An early edition of this popular Latin account of the Jewish War of 66-73 AD, with a dedication by Philipp Melanchthon. The text borrows heavily from the Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, and is attributed in extant manuscripts either to Hegesippus –...

    £500

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. [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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. [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

  16. [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

  17. 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

  18. ROBERT, Southey.

    Wat Tyler. A dramatic poem …

    London, Sherwood, Neeley and Jones, 1817.

    First edition of Southey’s republican verse drama, written at Oxford in three days in 1794. The manuscript had been left with Thomas Spence in prison for possible publication, but Spence had misgivings. Many years later ‘a mischievous publisher obtained a copy … and printed it. The publication...

    £400

  19. ROGERS, Samuel.

    Recollections of the Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers. To which is added Porsoniana.

    London: Edward Moxon ... 1856.

    First edition of this mine of contemporary literary gossip. Rogers is among that select group of poets to have declined the laureateship, and his poetry once had an ardent fan in Byron, who saw him as a much needed antidote to the Lake poets. His most durable achievement, however, has proved to be his...

    £150

  20. [ROZIER.]

    Le rozier historial de France contenant deux roziers. Le p[re]mier rozier contient plusieurs belles rozes e boutons de...

    Paris, [Gilles Couteau for François Regnault], 26 February 1522 [i.e. 1523].

    First edition, the very handsome Fairfax-Murray copy, of the Rozier historial de France. The first part, the Rozier des guerres, is a speculum principis for rulers in peace and war, and was originally published on its own in Lyons circa 1489 (only two copies known). The second...

    £25000