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. SEYPPEL, Karl Maria.

    Schlau, Schlauer am Schlausten. --- Er Sie Es. IIte Aegyptische Humoreske.--- Die Plagen 3te Aegyptische Humoreske.

    Dusseldorf, Felix Bagel, [1884].

    First editions. With the Jewish population attaining greater prominence both economically and culturally, the 1880s saw a corresponding wave of emerging anti-Semitism across Central and Eastern Europe. The present works aim to provide a historical precedent for anti-Semitism dating back to the age of...

    £950

  2. [SHAFTESBURY, Anthony Ashley [Cooper], third Earl of].

    Several Letters written by a noble Lord to a young Man at the University …

    London: Printed for J. Roberts … 1716.

    First edition, posthumously published. The ten letters here were written by Shaftesbury to a protégé, Michael Ainsworth, whilst at Oxford (1707-1710). Shaftesbury’s own teacher, John Locke, features in a number of them, receiving from his erstwhile pupil both praise (‘No one has done more towards...

    £350

  3. SHAW, Eyre Massey, Capt.

    Report … to the Right Hon. the Secretary of State of the Home Department concerning the Fire which occurred...

    London: Printed for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode … 1888.

    First edition of Shaw’s account of the disastrous fire at the Theatre Royal, Exeter, in 1887.

    £150

  4. SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley.

    The Speech … in the House of Commons, (8th December 1802) on the Motion for the Army Establ shment...

    London: Printed for John Stockdale … 1802

    First edition of Sheridan’s impressive speech on the army estimates, in support of funding precautions against Buonaparte’s aggression – ‘the crisis in which we are placed … so big with tremendous importance, so pregnant with mighty difficulties, so full of apprehensions and dangers ….’...

    £75

  5. [SHIPLEY, William].

    Comparative Observations on two of the Poems which were honoured with Prizes in a late Certamen at Ch. Ch....

    York: Printed in theYear 1767

    First edition of an undergraduate prank in which the future Dean of St. Asaph ridicules the awarding of prizes by the Dean of Christ Church and his fellow judges to two Latin poems written in honour of a visit by the Prince of Brunswick. An ironic dedication to the Dean is followed by the text of the...

    £350

  6. SMITH, William.

    The Speeches of Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, in...

    Philadelphia printed, London reprinted for John Stockdale, 1794.

    First London edition, a rebuff to the punitive anti-British tariffs proposed by the future President James Madison, first printed in Philadelphia in the same year and also reprinted in Edinburgh.

    £175

  7. SOCIETY FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF ARTS, MANUFACTURES, AND COMMERCE.

    Premiums by the Society, established at London, for the Encouragement...

    London: Printed by Order of the Society. 1759.

    First edition of the 1759 list of premiums. The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, now known as the Royal Society of Arts, was founded in 1754 by William Shipley, a drawing master living in Northampton, to awarded ‘premiums’ (cash prizes) to support improvements in...

    £450

  8. SOUTHWELL, Robert.

    Autograph letter, signed, concerning problems of tenure with certain estates including his own, and concerning...

    Kinsale, 18 October 1677

    Robert Southwell (d. 1677), father of the diplomat and future secretary of state for Ireland Sir Robert Southwell, was a land owner and government administrator with various official responsibilities at Kinsale. Like others during the Commonwealth he had been able to increase his estates by acquiring...

    £350

  9. SPON, [Jacob].

    The History of the City and State of Geneva, from its first Foundation to this present Time. Faithfully collected...

    London, Printed for Bernard White, 1687.

    First edition in English of a work first published in French in 1680. The attribution here to ‘Isaac’ Spon apparently comes from a misinterpretation of ‘Jac[ques]’ on the title-page of the French original.

    £1200

  10. SPRAT, Thomas.

    Observations on Monsieur de Sorbier’s Voyage into England. Written to Dr. Wren ...

    London, Printed for John Martyn, and James Allestry, Printers to the Royal Society. 1665.

    First edition. When Samuel de Sorbière published his polemical Relation d’un Voyage en Angleterre (1664), touching on defects in the English nation and character, Thomas Sprat, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, composed an angry reply in the form of a letter to Christopher Wren (both were stalwarts...

    £850

  11. STILLINGFLEET, Edward.

    Sermons preached on several Occasions to which a Discourse is annexed concerning the true Reason of the...

    London, Printed by Robert White, for Henry Mortlock … 1673.

    First edition thus, comprising twelve sermons preached 1666-72 and ‘A Discourse concerning the Suffering of Christ’ (pp. 239-384); six of the sermons and the ‘Discourse’ were first published in 1669.

    £200

  12. SULIVAN, Richard Joseph.

    Philosophical Rhapsodies. Fragments of Akbur of Betlis. Containing Reflections on the Laws, Manners, Customs...

    London: Printed for T. Becket … Bookseller to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and their Royal Highnesses the Princes. 1784-5.

    First edition of this eccentric travel-inspired treatise drawing upon the author’s experience in India and his travels in Europe. The prefatory ‘advertisement’ establishes the fiction that ‘the following fragments were written by a native of Assyria [Akbur], who … was removed to the continent...

    £950

  13. [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

  14. TANNER, Anodyne, M.D., pseud.

    The Life of the late celebrated Mrs. Elizabeth Wisebourn, vulgarly call’d Mother Wybourn; containing...

    London: Printed for A. Moore … [1721?]

    First edition of a scurrilous account of Elizabeth Wisebourn[e], a famous bawd, and the goings-on in the gilded apartments of her elegant London brothel in Drury-Lane. Born in 1653 and educated in Rome under the tuition of a Lady Abbess to whom ‘she ow’d all that she knew of her Business’, Elizabeth...

    £1850

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. THORNBURY, Walter and Edward WALFORD.

    Old and New London. A narrative of its history, its people, and its places. London, Cassell...

    [with] Greater London… London, Cassell and Company, Ltd. 1898.

    The definitive guide to London’s history from the Roman era to the modern day. Covering all the major localities of the Capital, the work addresses the evolution, and occasional demolition, of various areas and buildings, along with the personal touch through accounts of significant occasions, riots,...

    £300

  19. TOMKINS, John, John FIELD and John BELL.

    Piety Promoted, ou, la Pieté promuë, ou avancée: contenant un Recueil de derniéres...

    A Londres: se vend chez la Veuve Hinde … 1770.

    First edition, the first French translation of Piety Promoted, a compilation of the ‘dying words’ of notable Quakers, many from North America, originally published in three parts by John Tomkins (1701-6; ‘the first and a very influential example of an important Quaker form’, Oxford...

    £250

  20. [TRADE CARD.]

    John Blundell, Engraver.

    In Honey-Suckle Court, Grubb-Street, London. 1742.

    A fine and rare trade card for the jobbing engraver John Blundell, the engraved text (in several different hands to demonstrate skill at lettering) surrounded by an ornate border of angels, putti and tools (compasses, palette, easels, busts, burins, sketches, and a map at the head).

    £600