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. POSTEL, Guillaume.

    De originibus, seu, de varia et potissimum orbi Latino ad hanc diem incognita, aut inconsyderata historia, quorum...

    Basle, Johannes Oporinus, [1553].

    First edition of Postel’s investigations into the original language as a means to regain the primordial unity of mankind.

    £3500

  2. SIGONIO, Carlo.

    De dialogo liber. Ad Ioannem Moronum cardinalem.

    Venice, Giordano Ziletti, 1562.

    SIGONIO, Carlo. De vita, et rebus gestis P. Scipionis Aemiliani liber. Adiectis in fine, unde historia sumpta sit, locis. Index rerum memorabilium. Bologna, Giovanni Rossi, 1569.

    £1600

  3. [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

  4. CASOTTI, [Laurentio].

    A New Method of teaching the Italian Tongue to Ladies and Gentlemen. Wherein all the Difficulties are explain’d,...

    London: Printed by E. Everingham at the Author’s Expences, and sold by James Round … and by Joseph Archez … and by the Bookseller in...

    First and only edition, very rare, the only publication by Casotti, ‘Italian Minister, and Professor’, dedicated to Henry Petty, Baron Shelburne, (1675-1751) but printed at the author’s expense.

    £1500

  5. COMIDAS DE CARBOGNANO, Cosimo.

    Primi principi della gramatica Turca ad uso dei missionari apostolici di Costantinopoli ...

    Rome, stamperia della Sac. Congr. di Prop. Fide, 1794.

    The first complete Ottoman Turkish grammar published in Italian, compiled by the Catholic Armenian dragoman Cosimo Comidas de Carbognano (translator to Count de Ludolf, minister of the Two Sicilies to the Ottoman Porte in the late eighteenth century) and published by the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda...

    £1500

  6. HENNEQUIN, Pierre.

    Nouveau cours de rhétorique, à l’usage de la jeunesse des deux sexes; dédié à sa Majesté l’Impératrice...

    Moscow, Auguste Semen, 1818.

    Only edition, very uncommon, of this guide to rhetoric by the Moscow-based French grammarian Pierre Hennequin (1772–1849), explicitly designed for both sexes and dedicated to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1759–1828).

    £1250

  7. 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

  8. SAUSSURE, Ferdinand de.

    Cours de Linguistique générale.

    Lausanne & Paris, Payot, 1916.

    First edition. In general the study of language in the 19th century concerns philology. While great steps were made at the beginning of that century to put the study of language on a scientific basis, the vital distinction was not made between philology and non-historical linguistics. Saussure made...

    £750

  9. WALKER, John.

    Hints for Improvement in the Art of Reading ...

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by T. Cadell ... G. Robinson ... and T. Becket ... 1783

    First edition. The future lexicographer John Walker (1732-1807) left grammar school and then absconded from an apprenticeship to join a succession of provincial theatre companies. Garrick hired him in 1754 and for the next four years he performed a number of mainly minor parts at Drury Lane. In 1758...

    £650

  10. [ROYAL PRUSSIAN SOCIETY OF SCIENCES.]

    Miscellanea berolinensia ad incrementum scientiarum, ex scriptis societati regiae scientiarum...

    Berlin, Johann Christoph Papen, 1723.

    First continuation of Leibniz’s Miscellanea berolinensia. First appearing in 1710, the publication of the Miscellanea was revived in 1723 as the official journal of the Royal Prussian Society of Sciences after the death of Leibniz, its founding President. The Continuatio comprises...

    £575

  11. MULERIUS, Carolus.

    Linguae Hispanicae Compendiosa Institutio.

    Leiden, ex officina Bonaventurae et Abrahami Elzevir, 1630.

    First edition, rare, of this handbook of Spanish grammar by the renowned Dutch Hispanist and grammarian Carolus Mulerius (1601–1638).

    £550

  12. [LILBURNE, John.]

    A Declaration of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, with their resolution that if Captaine Catesby,...

    [London,] John Wright, 19 Dec 1642.

    First edition, the scarcer of two printings (10 in ESTC), with a border of printer’s tools on the title-page.

    £500

  13. MULERIUS, Carolus.

    Les nouveaux rudimens de la langue latine ...

    Paris, the widow of Claude Thiboust, and Pierre Esclassan, 1683.

    ‘Sixth edition’ of this popular manual of Latin grammar for French students, also called the ‘Rudiments de Ferrand’ after the name of the dedicatee, Antoine-François Ferrand.

    £450

  14. TRUBETZKOY, Nikolai Sergeevich.

    Das morphonologische System der russischen Sprache.

    Prague, Jednota československých matematiků a fysiků, 1934.

    First edition, published as the second part of Description phonologique du russe moderne; the first part, Roman Jakobson’s ‘Phonologie général du mot’, was published later.

    £350

  15. GISBERT, Mateo.

    Diccionario Español – Bagobo compuesto por el P. Mateo Gisbert de la Compañia de Jesús.

    Manila, J. Marty, 1892.

    First edition of this Spanish – Bagobo language dictionary, including a brief grammar, by the Jesuit missionary Mateo Gisbert, published just six years before Spanish rule in the Philippines was ended by the 1898 Treaty of Paris. Bagobo is a language of the southern Philippines spoken in the Davao...

    £350

  16. [BERKENHOUT, John].

    Clavis anglica Linguæ botanicæ; or, a botanical Lexicon; in which the Terms of Botany, particularly those...

    London: Printed for the Author. Sold by T. Becket, and A. de Hondt … and Mess. Hawes, Clarke, and Collins … 1764.

    First edition, dedicated to John Hope of the University of Edinburgh, and written with the assistance of Arthur Lee of Virginia, winner of the Hope Medal in 1763.

    £325

  17. COBBETT, William.

    Le Maitre d’anglais, ou grammaire raisonné … troisième edition …

    Paris, Warée l’aîné, et al. 1803.

    Third (second Paris) edition, with tables and explanatory notes added by Scipion Duroure.

    £300

  18. BARONE, Giuseppe.

    IA-Z Pam, le baton du muet, (traduit du chinois)... extrait du muséon.

    Louvain, Ch. Peeters, 1882.

    First separate edition, rare (apparently one other copy known), almost certainly printed for presentation, of this transliteration of a Chinese play with parallel French translation, which first appeared in the French journal Muséon. Barone’s article seeks to introduce a French audience to the great...

    £250

  19. LINDSETH, Jon A., and Alan TANNENBAUM, eds.

    Alice in a World of Wonderlands: the Translations of Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece.

    Newcastle, DE, Oak Knoll Press, 2015.

    This is the most extensive analysis ever done of translations of any single English language novel. On 4 October 1866 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson/Lewis Carroll wrote to his publisher Macmillan stating "Friends here [in Oxford] seem to think that the book is untranslatable." But his friends were wrong, as...

    £199

  20. MACFARLANE, Patrick.

    A new and copious English and Gaelic Vocabulary, with the different Parts of Speech; in alphabetical Order....

    Edinburgh: Printed [by R. Menzies] for the Author, and Sold by A. Constable and Co. Edinburgh. 1815.

    The English-Gaelic Vocabulary was published alone, as here, at 5s.6d., or together with the Gaelic-English part at 12s.6d. The Gaelic scholar complied it because the ‘want of an English and Gaelic Vocabulary has long been a desideratum with those who wish to be acquainted wth the language in which...

    £175