English Literature

Contact Donovan Rees, Ted Hofmann or Alexander Laar

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, SWIFT etc.]

    Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. The first Volume. [With:] Miscellanies. The Second Volume. [and:] Miscellanies....

    London: Printed for Benjamin Motte … 1727.

    First edition of the 1727 Pope-Swift Miscellanies, an important collection, printing many pieces for the first time. The Last Volume in particular contains the first appearance of thirteen poems by Pope, including Peri Bathous (pp. 1-64), and sixteen by Swift, including the five poems for ‘Stella’s...

    £1000

  3. [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

  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. 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 –...

    £650

  7. RAMUS, Petrus.

    Rhetoricae Destinctiones in Quintilianum. Parisiis, ex typographia Matthaei Davidis, 1550.

    Paris, 1550.

    1. Third edition. "This is Ramus' commentary on the twelve books of Quintilian's Institutiones oratoriae later combined with Brutus' Problems to form the Lectures on Rethoric" (Ong p. 147).

    £800

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. RAVENSCROFT, Thomas.

    A Briefe Discourse of the true (but neglected) use of Charact’ring the Degrees by their Perfection, Imperfection,...

    London, Printed by Edw: Allde for Tho. Adams 1614.

    First edition of a scarce and unusual work of music theory, with particular focus on various types of vernacular music – hunting songs, dances, drinking-songs, love-songs etc. The ‘Discourse’ is followed by twenty printed exempla in the form of part-songs for four voices, twelve by Ravenscroft...

    £16000

  11. [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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. RERESBY, Sir John, Bt.

    The Travels and Memoirs of Sir John Reresby ... The Former (now First Published) Exhibiting a View of the...

    London: B. McMillan for Edward Jeffery, Sherwood, Neely and Jones, and J. Rodwell, 1813.

    First illustrated edition of the memoirs and first publication of ‘The Travels’, large-paper copy. The politician, traveller and writer Reresby (1634-1689) was the son of the royalist Sir John Reresby, Bt (c. 1611-1646), who had been created a baronet by Charles I, and, like his father, the younger...

    £750

  15. [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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. SANCROFT, William.

    Familiar Letters of Dr. William Sancroft, late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, to Mr. North, afterwards Sir Henry...

    London, Printed for M. Cooper … and sold by Mr. Chreigton [sic] at Ipswich. 1757.

    First edition: ‘pleasant, chatty, and jocose’ letters from 1652-93 (original DNB), and useful source material for the life of the nonjuring Archbishop of Canterbury.

    £350

  19. [SCOTLAND.

    ACT OF UNION.] A coherent tract volume of ten pamphlets, for and against the Union, published in 1705-6.

    The months leading up to the Act of Union in January 1707 were a time of heated debate in Scotland. Politicians, writers, the landed gentry, churchmen, and others joined in making their opinions known in tracts and speeches. To pressures from an England anxious to ensure a Protestant succession were...

    £3750

  20. SCOTT, Sir John, of Scotstarvit.

    The Staggering State of the Scots Statesmen, for one hundred Years, viz. from 1550 to 1650 …...

    Edinburgh: Printed by Wal. Ruddiman jun. and Company; and sold by R. Nimmo … 1754.

    First edition of a reflection on the instability of success, including the author’s own fall from office after years of service to King and country; Thomas Carlyle described the work as ‘a strange little book, not a satire but a Homily on Life’s nothingness enforced by examples’. It circulated...

    £250