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. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    Poems, by S. T. Coleridge, second Edition. To which are now added Poems by Charles Lamb, and Charles Lloyd …

    Printed by N. Biggs, for J. Cottle, Bristol, and Messrs Robinson, London. 1797.

    Second edition of Poems on Various Subjects, 1796, but in large measure a new work, with a third of the former volume omitted and replaced by new material, including the fine ‘Ode on the departing Year’. Thirty-six lines are added to the ‘Monody on the Death of Chatterton’ and other poems...

    £1500

  2. COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor.

    Christabel: Kubla Khan, a Vision; the Pains of Sleep …

    Printed for John Murray … by William Bulmer … 1816.

    First edition of all three celebrated poems.

    £1000

  3. COLERIDGE, S[amuel] T[aylor].

    Poems … second Edition. To which are now added Poems by Charles Lamb and Charles Lloyd …

    Printed by N. Biggs for J. Cottle, Bristol, and Messrs. Robinsons, London. 1797.

    Second edition of Poems on Various Subjects, 1796, but in large measure a new work, with a third of the former volume omitted and replaced by new material, including the fine ‘Ode on the departing Year’. Thirty-six lines are added to the ‘Monody on the Death of Chatterton’ and other poems are...

    £1200

  4. COLERIDGE, S[amuel] T[aylor].

    The Watchman. No. I [III, IV]. Tuesday, March 1 [17, 25], 1796. Published by the Author …

    Bristol: and sold by the Booksellers and Newscarriers in Town and Country.

    Three (of ten) issues of The Watchman, Coleridge’s first journalistic endeavour, very rare: published in March to May 1796.

    £750

  5. COLLECTION (A)

    of Poems: viz. the Temple of Death: by the Marquis of Normanby with several Original Poems, never before printed,...

    London: Printed for Daniel Brown … and Benjamin Tooke … 1701.

    Fourth edition of the important ‘Temple of Death’ miscellany of Restoration poetry, retaining most of the poems from the third edition (1693) and adding much material, including all the poems on pp. 172-282 – with contributions from Stepney, Arwaker and Congreve – and the poems at the end (pp....

    £500

  6. COLLUTHUS, of Lycopolis.

    The Rape of Helen. Translated from the Greek ... And illustrated with the Notes of Michael Nicander. To...

    London: Printed for and sold by J. Roberts … and by the Booksellers and Pamphletsellers of London, 1731.

    First and only edition, rare, of this translation of Collothus’s Rape of Helen (Αρπαγη Ελενης), ‘a short and charming miniature epic’ (Cambridge Companion to the Epic) written in the late fifth century in Egypt in 392 hexameters.

    £1200

  7. [COMMONPLACE BOOK.]

    A manuscript collection of poems and epitaphs.

    Yorkshire, c. 1823-6?

    An attractive but anonymous commonplace book collecting poems (some possibly original), epitaphs (mostly with a Yorkshire origin), and popular ballads, with a possibly original poem inserted on a loose leaf.

    £650

  8. [COOPER, Elizabeth, compiler].

    The Historical and Poetical Medley: or Muses Library; being a choice and faithful Collection of...

    London: Printed for T. Davies … 1738.

    First edition under this title, a reissue of The Muses Library (1737), with a cancel title-page and final leaf. After Elizabeth Cooper’s career as an actor and playwright had been brought to an end by Walpole’s Licensing Act, she set about compiling an anthology of English poetry, from Langland...

    £450

  9. COTTON, Charles.

    The Wonders of the Peak …

    Nottingham: Printed by John Collyer, and sold by H. Cantrel and H. Allestree in Derby. J. Bradley and S. Gunter in Chesterfield, and Mr. Whitworth...

    First Nottingham edition of a poem originally printed in London in 1681, and reprinted in 1683 and 1694. The subject matter may have been suggested to Cotton by Thomas Hobbes’s Latin poem De mirabilibus Pecci (c. 1627, reprinted with an English translation in 1678). Apart from the scenery of...

    £1250

  10. COTTON, Charles.

    Poems on several Occasions …

    London, Printed for Tho. Basset … Will. Hensman and Tho. Fox … 1689.

    First edition of the principal collection of original poetry by Charles Cotton, an ‘oddly isolated and under-valued poet ... there is more and better poetry in the 1689 volume than is to be found in any other minor poet of the Restoration’ (James Sutherland, Restoration Literature). Cotton’s most...

    £600

  11. [COWPER, Ashley, editor].

    The Norfolk poetical Miscellany. To which are added some select Essays and Letters in Prose. Never printed...

    London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Stagg … 1744.

    First edition. This lively miscellany, containing a large number of amusing short poems (but nothing for the libertine), was assembled by William Cowper’s uncle, the father of Theodora, later Lady Hesketh, with whom the poet fell in love. The dedication to the young Lady Caroline [Cowper] is subscribed...

    £1250

  12. COWPER, William.

    Poems … London: printed for J. Johnson … 1782. [With:]

    _________. The Task, a Poem, in six Books...

    London, 1782-5.

    First edition of each volume, with the notoriously rare suppressed preface by John Newton.

    £8000

  13. CRABBE, George.

    The News-Paper: a Poem ...

    London: Printed for J. Dodsley ... 1785.

    First edition of this nicely turned satire by Jane Austen’s favourite poet. Crabbe tells us in his preface that he believes this to be the first poem ever on the subject of the daily press with its ‘variety of dissociating articles ... huddled together’, advertisements, puffing, and correspondents...

    £1200

  14. [DARTON, William, senior].

    Little Jack of all Trades; or, mechanical Arts described, in Prose and Verse, suited to the Capacities...

    London: Printed for Harvey and Darton … 1823.

    First collected edition, first published in two separate parts 1804 and 1805 and several times reprinted. The engraved vignettes are different from those in the separate printings, and the contents are slightly rearranged.

    £250

  15. DAVENANT, Sir William.

    Gondibert: an Heroick Poem ...

    London, Printed for John Holden ... 1651.

    Second (first octavo) edition, first issue, preserving the cancelland V8.

    £450

  16. DEFFERRARI, T. B.

    Selections of classic Italian Poetry from the most celebrated Works of Tasso, Ariosto, Dante, & Petrarch, for...

    London: G. and W. B. Whittaker; Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor and Lepard; Dulau and Co.; J. Booker; and Boosey and Sons. 1820.

    First edition of this attractive Italian reader, with the Italian text in English word order subjoined to each passage, and notes in English on meaning, irregular diction, etc. where needed. The well-chosen selections from classic authors include the episode of Armida e Rinaldo from Gerusalemme Liberata,...

    £225

  17. DENHAM, Sir John.

    Poems and Translations, with The Sophy ... .

    London, Printed for H. Herringman ... 1668

    First edition, the definitive collection, published the year before the author’s death, containing 25 pieces, fourteen of them new. It begins with Denham’s famous topographical poem, Cooper’s Hill. The bawdy ‘Dialogue between Sir John Pooley and Mr. Thomas Killigrew’, about Killigrew’s...

    £1100

  18. DENNIS, John.

    The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry, contain’d in some new Discoveries never made before, requisite for the Writing...

    London, Printed for Geo. Strahan … and Bernard Lintott … 1704.

    First edition. Published as a ‘preliminary’ to a proposed, but never completed, masterwork, The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry comprises a Preface, Proposal and ‘Specimen’, the latter being an essay substantially on Milton, ‘one of the greatest and most daring Genius’s that has appear’d...

    £1250

  19. DENNIS, John.

    An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakespear: with some Letters of Criticism to the Spectator … London: Printed...

    London, 1704-1716.

    First editions of Dennis and Sewell, later edition of Gay with cancel title-page.

    £1250

  20. DENNIS, John.

    The select Works … in two Volumes … London, Printed by John Darby … 1718. [With:]

    –––––––––––––....

    London, 1718-1720.

    First editions. Dennis, best known for his critical writings, was also a poet and a moderately successful author of plays, and all three genres are represented in his Select Works, including his tragedies Iphigenia and Appius and Virginia, and his influential essay The Grounds...

    £1750