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. POPE, Alexander.

    The Rape of the Lock. An heroi-comical Poem. In five Canto’s … The second Edition.

    London: Printed for Bernard Lintott ... 1714

    Second edition of the final text, reset throughout and now with a headpiece to each canto. Griffith 34; Foxon P943. [Bound with:]


  2. [POPE, Alexander].

    The New Dunciad: As it was found in the Year MDCCXLI. With the Illustrations of Scriblerus and Notes Variorum. .

    London, Printed for T. Cooper … 1742

    Second edition (although not stated on title), published within a week of the first edition; it has slight revisions to both poem and notes. A reissue in the same year with a cancel title-page acknowledges this printing as the second edition.


  3. [POPE, Alexander].

    The New Dunciad: as it was Found in the Year 1741. With the Illustrations of Scriblerus, and Notes Variorum.

    London: Printed for T. Cooper ... 1742.

    First edition. This is the first printing of Book IV of the Dunciad. Having carried satire to the brink of prosecution, Pope retired into four years of silence, broken in 1742. A reference to Colley Cibber in line 316 inaugurated Pope’s last literary quarrel, and led to the revision of the...


  4. POPE, Alexander.

    Windsor-Forest. To the Right Honourable George Lord Lansdown …

    London: Printed for Bernard Lintott … 1713.

    First edition of Pope’s second separately published poem, preceded by An Essay on Criticism in 1711. Written in the tradition that young poets begin with pastoral verse, Windsor-Forest, with its epigraph from Virgil’s Eclogues, was the poem that first won Swift’s regard and...


  5. [POPE, Alexander].

    An Essay on Man. In Epistles to a Friend. Epistle I. Corrected by the Author. London: Printed for J. Wilford...

    London, 1733-4.

    The Essay complete in four epistles: the important fourth printing of Epistle I (revised and adding a ‘note to the reader’ and a table of contents to all four parts), with the first editions of Epistle II (with lines numbered), Epistle III (with the note on the final page...


  6. POPE, Alexander.

    The Works … Vol. I[-VI]. With explanatory Notes and Additions never before printed.

    London, Printed for B. Lintot, 1736 [Vol. II. Printed for L. Gilliver 1735; Vol. III. Printed for H. Lintot, 1736; Vol. IV. Printed for L....

    A fine set of the small octavo Works - Pope's preferred format - including the scarce supplementary Vol II. Part II.


  7. POPE, Alexander.

    One Thousand seven Hundred and thirty eight. A Dialogue something like Horace … [With:]

    London: Printed for T. Cooper … [1738.]

    First editions of both poems, first issue of the first dialogue (with price in capital letters), second issue of Dialogue II, with ‘Fools’ corrected to ‘Tools’ on the last line of p. 10. These, the last of Pope’s formal verse satires, were later called the ‘Epilogue to the Satires’, and...


  8. POPE, Alexander.

    Of false Taste. An Epistle to the right honourable Richard Earl of Burlington. Occasion’d by his publishing...

    London, L. Gilliver, 1731-1735.

    1) Third edition of Of false Taste, published on 15 January 1732, adding Pope’s long letter to Burlington in reply to ‘the clamour rais’d about this epistle’. This is the first of three issues, with the misprint ‘Cielings’ on p. 11. Griffith 267; Foxon P912.


  9. [POPE, Alexander].

    Sober Advice from Horace, to the young Gentleman about Town, As deliver’d in his second Sermon. Imitated in...

    London: Printed for T. Boreman … and sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster. [1734]

    1) First edition, a somewhat coarse satire modelled on an equally coarse poem by Horace. Despite its anonymous publication, the use of a new publisher and the imposture of a dedication to Pope, his authorship was soon public knowledge. The Latin text is larded with mock-scholarly notes in the manner...


  10. POPE, Alexander.

    An Epistle from Mr. Pope, to Dr. Arbuthnot …

    London: Printed by J. Wright for Lawton Gilliver … 1734.

    First edition of Pope’s best known Epistle, one his finest and most accessible poems. A number of passages were written years earlier but are cleverly integrated here.


  11. POPE, Alexander.

    The Dunciad. With Notes variorum, and the Prologomena of Scriblerus. The second Edition, with some Additional Notes.

    London: Printed for Lawton Gilliver … 1729.

    ‘Second’ octavo edition, revised. This is Griffith’s variant d, with an extra unpaginated leaf of terminal errata (printed on the same half-sheet as the cancel P3).


  12. POPE, Alexander.

    Il Riccio rapito Poema eroicomico … tradotto dall’Inglese in Verso Toscano dedicato all’illustrissima Signora...

    In Firenze. 1739. Nella Stamperia di Francesco Moücke.

    First edition in Italian of The Rape of the Lock, translated into verse by Andrea Bonducci (1715-1766).


  13. [POPE, Alexander, and others].

    Miscellaneous Poems and Translations. By Several Hands ...

    London: Printed for Bernard Lintott ... 1712 [and 1714].

    First edition of one of the most celebrated miscellanies of the eighteenth-century, which includes the first printing of The Rape of the Lock, in its preliminary version of two cantos, as well as five other poems by Pope, and contributions by Dryden, Broome, Fenton, and Prior. Ault has...


  14. [POPE, Alexander, et al.]

    Poetical Miscellanies. The Sixth Part ...

    London, Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1709.

    First edition: the sixth volume of the Dryden-Tonson Miscellanies series of 1684-1709, containing the first poems by Pope to appear in print - ‘January and May; or, the Merchant’s Tale’ (pp. 177-224); ‘The Episode of Sarpedon’, translated from The Iliad (pp. 301-23); and four...


  15. [POPE, SWIFT etc.]

    Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. The first Volume. [With:] Miscellanies. The Second Volume. [and:] Miscellanies....

    London: Printed for Benjamin Motte … 1727.

    First edition of the 1727 Pope-Swift Miscellanies, an important collection, printing many pieces for the first time. The Last Volume in particular contains the first appearance of thirteen poems by Pope, including Peri Bathous (pp. 1-64), and sixteen by Swift, including the five poems for ‘Stella’s...


  16. PRIOR, Matthew.

    Poems on several Occasions.

    London: Printed for Jacob Tonson … 1709.

    First authorised edition, preceded by Curll’s pirated collection of 1707. In the preface Prior complains that in Curll’s edition poems by other authors have been misattributed to him and that some of his own poems are ‘transcribed … so imperfectly, that I hardly knew them to be mine’. He divides...


  17. RANDOLPH, Thomas.

    Poems with the Muses Looking-Glasse: and Amyntas …

    Oxford, Printed by Leonard Lichfield … for Francis Bowman: 1638.

    First edition of the major collection – pastoral, erotic, and festive verse, followed by two plays – of one of the more illustrious of the ‘sons of Ben’, published two years after his death some three months short of his thirtieth birthday. Randolph began his literary career at Trinity College,...


  18. RAWLET, John.

    Poetick Miscellanies …

    London, Printed for Samuel Tidmarsh … 1687.

    First edition. Writing from the isolation of Newcastle, then a rural parish in fell country, Rawlet developed a mode of religious and descriptive poetry distinctly out of step with his own age, as is acknowledged by the editor in a verse preface: ‘Reader, expect not here, the filth of th’ Stage,...


  19. ROACH, James, editor.

    ROACH’S BEAUTIES OF THE POETS of Great Britain carefully selected & arranged from the Works of the most...

    London. Printed by J. Roach, at the Britannia Printing Office … 1794. [1793-1795].

    First collected edition, a complete set of James Roach’s popular poetical miscellany, with fine illustrations by Isaac Cruikshank, father of the caricaturist, issued in twenty-four monthly parts.


  20. ROSCOMMON, Wentworth Dillon, Earl of.

    Poems … to which is added an Essay on Poetry, by the Earl of Mulgrave, now Duke of Buckingham....

    London: Printed for J. Tonson … 1717.

    First edition of this collection, notable for Richard Duke’s unfinished Review, a vehement satire in response to, and in the allegorical manner of, Absalom and Achitophel, and featuring Dryden as one of the figures satirised. According to Tonson in the preface, it was written ‘a little after the...