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. AIKEN, Conrad.

    Thee.

    New York, George Braziller, 1967.

    First trade edition, inscribed ‘For Geoffrey and Joyce [Bridson] / this little hymn of love / from Conrad / 1968’.

    £250

  2. AIKEN, Conrad.

    Selected Poems.

    New York, Oxford University Press, 1964.

    Second printing (first 1961), inscribed: ‘For Geoffrey from Conrad and Savannah with a Hosanna 1968’. Born in Savannah, Georgia, Aiken spent winters there later in his life. It was in Savannah in April 1968 that Bridson recorded the unbroadcast interviews which provide a valuable insight into...

    £150

  3. ALMEIDA, Theodoro de.

    Lisboa destruida poema, author o P. Theodoro de Almeida, da Congregaçaõ do Oratorio de Lisboa.

    Lisbon, Antonio Rodrigues Galhardo, 1803.

    First edition of this poem in six cantos, with extensive notes, on the disastrous 1755 Lisbon earthquake, by the Oratorian priest and philosopher Almeida (1722-1804). One of the deadliest in history, the earthquake almost totally destroyed the Portuguese capital and accentuated political tensions within...

    £175

  4. [ANON.]

    Quia Amore Langueo.

    [Colophon:] Chiswick, Caradoc Press, 1902.

    One of 250 copies on paper (there were also 20 on vellum), printed from a fifteenth-century manuscript at Lambeth Palace Library.

    £75

  5. [ANON].

    Elogio del corno. Dell‘ autore della felice produzione italiana intitolata Della Necessità ed Utilità dei Debiti.

    Venice, Stamperia Graziosi, 1796.

    Only edition, as far as we can tell unrecorded, of this anonymously published poem in praise of the horn. Although ostensibly a chaste work extolling the virtues of the instrument, there is enough to suggest that the poet may have been thinking along less musical lines; the horn, we are repeatedly told,...

    £275

  6. ANSELMI, Giorgio, the younger

    Georgii Anselmi nepotis Epigrammaton libri septem. Sosthyrides. Peplum Palladis. Aeglogae...

    Venice, Maffeo Pasini, September 1528. 

    The definitive edition of the epigrams of Giorgio Anselmi, grandson of the astrologer and music theorist of the same name, with several epigrams on his grandfather’s lost works on magic and the occult. 

    £875

  7. ARNOLD, Edwin.

    Enfin: A Poem, hitherto unpublished, by Sir Edwin Arnold.

    New York, printed by Thomas Perry Stricker for Julian Buddolph Arnold, 1936.

    First edition, one of only fifty copies hand-printed by T. Perry Sticker, presentation copy from the editor (the author’s son) and accompanied by his autograph note regarding the printing and planned circulation of the poem.

    £350

  8. A[RNOLD, Matthew].

    The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems. By A.

    London: B. Fellowes …1849

    First edition of Arnold’s first book, apart from the Rugby and Oxford prize poems Alaric at Rome and Cromwell. To conceal his authorship as ‘A.’ suggests a certain reticence about the volume, even though it contains a number of his finest early poems, including ‘The Forsaken Merman’. Only 500...

    £600

  9. AUDEN, W.H. Collected poems.

    Edited by Edward Mendelson.

    London, Faber and Faber, 1976.

    First edition. Denis Healey’s copy, with his signature dated 1976 to front free endpaper, his occasional marginal pencil marks, and a few notes to rear pastedown. Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey (1917-2015) served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970, Chancellor of the Exchequer from...

    £75

  10. AUDEN, Wystan Hugh.

    Louis MacNeice, a memorial Address, delivered at All Souls, Langham Place on 17 October, 1963.

    Privately printed for Faber & Faber, [1963].

    First edition, one of 250 copies.

    £150

  11. AUDEN, Wystan Hugh, and Louis MACNEICE.

    Letters from Iceland.

    London, Faber & Faber, [1937].

    First edition. Was it perhaps Auden and MacNeice’s journey to Iceland that inspired Bridson’s own visit to the country in 1939?

    £150

  12. BEAUMONT, Joseph.

    Psyche: or Loves Mysterie in XX. Canto’s: displaying the Intercourse between Christ and the Soule …

    London, Printed by John Dawson for George Boddington … 1648.

    First edition. Beaumont was one of the royalist fellows ejected from Cambridge in 1644, and he devoted his enforced retirement to the composition of this poem, a ‘religious epic’ representing ‘a Soule led by divine Grace, and her Guardian Angel ... through the difficult Temptations and Assaults...

    £1250

  13. BRASSICANUS, Joannes Alexander. 

    Hymnus in Apollinem, studiorum pariter ac studiosorum omnium exemplar, ordine conscriptus alphabetico...

    Strasbourg, Johann [I] Knoblauch, 1523. 

    First and only edition, rare, of this close analysis of a Greek hymn to Apollo, by Johannes Alexander Brassicanus (1500–1539), professor, precocious poet, and friend of Erasmus. 

    £1450

  14. BROME, Alexander.

    Songs and other Poems … The second Edition corrected and enlarged.

    London, Printed for Henry Brome … 1664.

    Second edition, adding much new material including the poems ‘To his friend Thomas Stanley Esq. on his Odes’, ‘Cromwell’s Panegyrick’, and the salacious ‘Record in Rhyme’; eight songs; and some new commendatory verses in addition to the one by Isaak Walton. Also new is a commendatory letter...

    £500

  15. BROWN, Arthur Henry.

    Autograph manuscript notebook mainly of Christmas carols.

    [Brentwood?, 1864–87].

    An autograph manuscript notebook composed primarily of Christmas carols, compiled carefully over some twenty-five years from various sources including manuscripts in the British Museum, early printed books, and contemporary books and periodicals.

    £450

  16. BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett.

    Poems before Congress …

    London: Chapman and Hall … 1860.

    First edition of a slender collection of seven poems on the cause of Italian independence, and one attacking slavery in the United States (‘A Curse for a Nation’). The Congress of the title had been planned for Paris in January 1860, but Austria withdrew on learning that Napoleon III meant to use...

    £200

  17. [BROWN, Thomas, M.D.].

    The Bower of Spring, with other Poems … Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co. and Longman,...

    Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co. and Longman, Hurst Rees, Orme and Brown, London. 1817

    First edition. Brown was professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh and a prolific versifier (‘among the few Classical Writers of this scribbling generation’ according to the Edinburgh Review – for which Brown was a regular contributor).

    £225

  18. BUQUOY, Georg Franz August de Longueval, Freiherr von Vaux, Graf von.

    Anregungen für philosophisch-wissenschaftliche Forschung...

    Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1825.

    First edition, rare, of a comprehensive discussion by the author of his personal philosophy, with c. 50 pages of his poetry thrown in at the end for good measure. Samuel Hahnemann refers to the work in Die chronischen Krankheiten (1828–30), calling Buquoy a ‘deep-thinking, many-sided scholar and...

    £950

  19. [BYRON, George Gordon, Lord].

    Lara, a Tale. [and] Jacqueline, a Tale [by Samuel Rogers].

    London: Printed for John Murray … 1814.

    First edition, Randolph’s fourth variant (with the crooked roman numeral on p. 82 and the fallen period on p. 20). By 1814 Byron was heavily pressed by debts, having previously refused payment for his poems. For Lara, the fourth of Byron’s Levantine poems, published on the back of The Corsair...

    £400

  20. BYRON, George Gordon, Lord Byron.

    Hebrew Melodies … London: Printed for John Murray … 1815.

    London: Printed for John Murray … 1815

    First edition of a group of poems mainly written at the request of Douglas Kinnaird, Byron’s banker and friend, to accompany a selection of ancient Jewish sacred music set by Isaac Nathan, although the most famous of all, ‘She walks in Beauty’, had been composed impromptu a few months earlier when...

    £500