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. [SWIFT, Jonathan].

    Miscellanies in Prose and Verse.

    London: Printed for John Morphew ... 1711.

    First edition, ordinary paper issue, the very rare first state, with G6-7 preserved (though slashed for cancellation); the cancellans was printed on A8, not here present.

    £1250

  2. [SWIFT, Jonathan.]

    The Hibernian Patriot: being a Collection of the Drapier’s Letters to the People of Ireland, concerning Mr....

    Printed at Dublin. London: Reprinted and sold by A. Moor ... 1730.

    First London collected edition of the Drapier’s Letters, preceded by the Dublin edition of 1725 (entitled Fraud Detected).

    £850

  3. TACITUS. 

    C. Cornelius Tacitus, cum optimis exemplaribus collatus. 

    Amsterdam, Daniel Elzevir, 1678. 

    A remarkably fresh set of the third and final Elzevir edition of this format, reprinted from the edition of 1665. 

    £275

  4. TEMPLE, Sir William.

    An Introduction to the History of England …

    London, Printed for Richard Simpson … and Ralph Simpson … 1695

    First edition. Newly arrived in England from Trinity College, Dublin, Swift in 1689 entered upon a ten-year period as secretary to Sir William Temple at Moor Park near Farnham in Surrey. ‘Partly thanks to Swift’s support several of Temple’s important works were published in the 1690s, notably the...

    £450

  5. TO THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND,

    who are in Place to do Justice, and to break the Bonds of the oppressed. A Narrative of the cruel,...

    London, Printed for Thomas Simmons …, 1659.

    First edition, rare, a list of Quaker victims of persecution in Ireland with details of their sufferings. The pamphlet was published and undersigned by a group of the victims including the country’s reputed first Quaker, William Edmondson, and Thomas Holme, who went on to publish A Brief...

    £300

  6. THOMSON, James.

    Essays and Phantasies …

    London: Reeves and Turner … 1881.

    First edition of a volume of essays by the author of The City of Dreadful Night. Most are probably reprinted from the National Reformer, the Secularist, or Cope’s Tobacco Plant, to which ‘the laureate of pessimism’ was a regular contributor.

    £150

  7. THORNBURY, George Walter.

    Art and Nature at Home and Abroad …

    London: Hurst and Blackett, Publishers, Successors to Henry Colburn … 1856.

    First edition: an early collection of essays by Thornbury (1828-1876), a prolific (and famously cacographic) writer who is closely associated with Dickens for his work on Household Words and All the Year Round (‘one of Charles Dickens’s most valuable contributors’; Dickens, Letters,...

    £450

  8. [TREATIES.]

    Volume of tracts on European treaties of peace and alliance.

    Vienna and Amsterdam, 1725-1731.

    A collection of scarce texts relating to the Peace of Vienna (1725) and subsequent treaties of Hanover (1725), Paris (1727), Seville (1729), and Vienna (1731), with contemporary manuscript additions in Italian and French clearly composed by someone in diplomatic service. The collection eloquently...

    £1750

  9. TURNER, Sharon.

    The sacred history of the world, as displayed in the creation and subsequent events to the deluge. Attempted to...

    London, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman, 1832 [– 1834; – 1837].

    First edition, each volume with a presentation letter from the author (dated 1 March 1832, 12 December 1834, and 27 March 1837 respectively) to the classical scholar Thomas Gaisford.

    £500

  10. TYRE, William, Archbishop of, and Giuseppe OROLOGGI (translator).

    Historia della guerra sacra di Gierusalemme,...

    Venice, Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1562.

    First Italian edition of William of Tyre’s (1130–1186) important account of the first two crusades and of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, with the addition of a seventeenth-century manuscript detailing a uniquely Italian rendition of the tale of the Wandering Jew.

    £2800

  11. [UNGER, Salomo Gottlob.]

    Geschichte des Oesterreich-Russischen und Türkischen Krieges, in den Jahren von 1787. bis 1792. Nebst...

    Leipzig, Wilhelm Gottlob Sommer, 1792.

    First and only edition, extremely rare, of this account of the Austro-Turkish War of 1788-1791, and of the concurrent Russo-Turkish war of 1787-92. It includes the full texts of the Treaty of Sistova of 4 August 1791 and of a separate convention attached to it, in both French and German. While...

    £1250

  12. VERTOT, Abbé de.

    The History of the Revolutions of Portugal. By M. l’Abbe de Vertot, member of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions...

    Glasgow, printed by R. Urie for D. Baxter, 1750.

    Uncommon first Glasgow edition of this English translation of the Histoire des révolutions de Portugal, a classic account of the Portuguese Restoration War against Spain (1640-1668) by the French historian René-Aubert Vertot (1655–1735).

    £150

  13. WALKER, John.

    An economical History of the Hebrides and Highlands of Scotland ... in two Volumes ... Edinburgh: Printed at the...

    Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press; 1808

    First edition. The eminent naturalist John Walker (1731-1803), professor of natural history in the University of Edinburgh (Smollett was one of his students) and keeper of the university museum, made six long journeys into the Highlands and Islands from 1760 to 1786. He was commissioned by the General...

    £450

  14. WALTON, Izaak.

    The Life of Dr. Sanderson, late Bishop of Lincoln ... to which is added, some short Tracts or Cases of Conscience,...

    London, Printed for Richard Marriott. 1678.

    First edition, the last of Walton’s five celebrated Lives.

    £400

  15. [WILLIAMS, John.]

    The History of the Gunpowder-Treason, collected from approved Authors, as well popish as protestant.

    London, Richard Chiswel, 1678.

    First edition of an anti-popish history of the Gunpowder Plot. A well informed account drawing on both Anglican and Catholic sources, The History of the Gunpowder-Treason was published anonymously by John Williams (1633/6–1709), later Bishop of Chichester, amid renewed interest in the subject during...

    £750

  16. WILLICH, Anthony Florian Madinger.

    Lectures on Diet and Regimen: being a systematic Inquiry into the most rational Means of preserving...

    London: Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … 1799.

    Second edition, much revised and expanded, printed in the same year as the first: ‘Many important and useful articles have been added, especially in the fifth Chapter, “Of Food and Drink.”’ Willich’s very popular manual was based on a series of lecture given by the eminent physician at Bath...

    £375

  17. WISE, Francis.

    A Letter to Dr Mead concerning some Antiquities in Berkshire, particularly shewing that the White Horse, which gives...

    Oxford, Printed for Thomas Wood … 1738

    First editions. A Letter to Dr Mead was the first serious archaeological study of the Uffington White Horse. Francis Wise, Keeper of the Archives at Oxford University and later a friend of Samuel Johnson, contends that the horse, which he eulogises as a work of art, had Saxon origins, because...

    £350

  18. [WISHART, George.]

    I. G. de rebus auspiciis serenssimi, & potentissimi Caroli Dei gratia Magnae Brittanniae, Franciae & Hiberniae...

    [Amsterdam or The Hague,] 1647.

    First edition, rare, a fine paper copy in a handsome binding, of an account of the campaign of James Graham, Marquess of Montrose, against the Covenanters in 1644−46.

    £1750

  19. WOOLLEY, C. Leonard and Thomas Edward LAWRENCE.

    The Wilderness of Zin ... With a Chapter on the Greek Inscriptions by M.N. Tod....

    London: The Alden Press for Jonathan Cape, 1936.

    Second English edition. The Wilderness of Zin originally appeared as the Palestine Exploration Fund Annual for 1914-1915, and was the first work by Lawrence to appear in book form. However, it was included in the P.E.F. series on somewhat disingenuous grounds: ‘During January and February 1914,...

    £150

  20. WYCHERLEY, William.

    The Posthumous Works … in Prose and Verse. Faithfully publish’d from his original Manuscripts, by Mr. Theobald....

    London: Printed for A. Bettesworth, J. Osborn, W. Mears, W. and J. Innys, J. Peele, T. Woodward; and F. Clay. 1728.

    First edition of an important collection, comprising 308 maxims, one short essay and a large number of previously unpublished poems (the third paginated sequence), based on manuscripts acquired from Captain Thomas Shrimpton, Wycherley’s sole executor.

    £850