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. 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

  2. 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

  3. [PITTIS, William].

    Some Memoirs of the Life of John Radcliffe, M.D. Interspersed with several original Letters: also a true Copy...

    London: Printed for E. Curll … 1715.

    First edition of the first biography of the physician John Radcliffe, by the miscellaneous political writer William Pittis, published in the year after Radcliffe’s death. It was one of a number of ‘instant biographies’ brought out by Curll during this period. ‘The executors of Dr Radcliffe protested...

    £300

  4. [PITTIS, William.]

    Memoirs of the Life of Sir Stephen Fox, Kt. From his first Entrance upon the Stage of Action, under Lord Piercy,...

    London: Printed for John Sackfield … and sold by J. Roberts … 1717.

    First editions of posthumous recollections about the life of courtier-financier Fox (1627-1716), the grandfather of C. J. Fox.

    £350

  5. PLUCHE, Noël-Antoine.

    The History of the Heavens, considered according to the Notions of the Poets and Philosophers, compared...

    London: Printed [by Samuel Richardson] for J. Osborn … and sold by C. Rivington, C. Davis, T. Longman, T. Astley, S. Austin [and eight others...

    First edition in English of Histoire du ciel consideré selon les idées des poëts, des philosophes, et de Moïse (Paris, 1739).

    £1000

  6. PLUTARCH.

    The Lives of the noble Grecians & Romans, compared together by that grave learned Philosopher & Historiographer Plutarch...

    London, Printed by Abraham Miller, and are to be sold by William Lee … 1657.

    ‘Fifth’ (i.e. sixth) edition, with added material. North’s celebrated translation of Plutarch has long been recognized as a major source for Shakespeare, providing not only the historical framework for Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus, but ‘long passages...

    £1750

  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, 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

  9. [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

  10. [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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. [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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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