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. [WESTMINSTER ELECTION.]

    A True and impartial Collection of Pieces, in Prose and Verse, which have been written and published on...

    London: Printed for W. Owen … 1749.

    First edition. A compilation of open letters to the electorate of Westminster, written during the violent 1749 election campaign. Despite the brutality which characterised the election the editor hopes the letters might be impartially considered for their merits: ‘As many smart pieces were written...

    £750

  2. [WHITEHEAD, William.]

    Variety. A tale, for married people.

    London, for J. Dodsley, 1776.

    First edition of this verse fable on married life by William Whitehead (1715-85), the son of a Cambridge baker who rose to become fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, a successful playwright, and poet laureate in succession to Colley Cibber. ‘Variety’ is the tale of a well-read rural maid who marries...

    £100

  3. WILMOT, John and Wentworth DILLON.

    The Miscellaneous Works of the Right Honourable the late Earls of Rochester and Roscommon. With...

    London Printed: and sold by B. Bragge … 1707.

    First edition, oddly scarce, of the combined works of Rochester and Roscommon, prefaced by Evremont’s lively biographical account of Rochester. This collection formed the basis of most later-eighteenth-century editions (though without the second part, the miscellany of poems by others). It is the...

    £1250

  4. WILSON, Thomas.

    The Pitman’s pay, and other poems.

    Gateshead, William Douglas, 1843.

    First collected edition of the works of the Tyneside miner turned poet Thomas Wilson (1773-1858). The Pitman’s pay – Wilson’s chief literary work – ‘is a metrical description, much of it in mining patois, of the incidents and conversations of the colliers on their fortnightly Friday...

    £75

  5. WITHER, George.

    The Psalmes of David translated into Lyrick-Verse, according to the Scope, of the Original, and illustrated, with...

    [Amsterdam:] Imprinted in the Netherlands by Cornelis Gerrits van Breughel, 1632.

    First edition, dedicated to Princess Elizabeth, the ‘Winter Queen’, daughter of James I. The translation, a companion to Wither’s Hymnes and Songs of the Church, was written at the request of James, and finished shortly before his death in 1625: ‘I was commanded to perfect a Translation...

    £3200

  6. WITHER, George.

    Speculum Speculativum: or, a Considering-Glasse; being an Inspection into the present and late sad Condition of...

    London, Written June XIII. MDCLX. and there Imprinted the same year [1660].

    The third of three editions in the same year, from an entirely new setting of type, with ‘Glasse’ rather than ‘Glass’ on the title-page, the errata formerly printed on L8 corrected, and the errors corrected in the caption title on p. 1

    £525

  7. WORDSWORTH, William.

    Lyrical Ballads, with a Pastoral and other Poems, in two Volumes … Third Edition.

    London: Printed for T. N. Longman and O. Rees … by Riggs and Cottle …. 1802.

    Second complete edition, with the Preface much enlarged and a new ‘Appendix’ on poetic diction (pp. 237-247 in volume II), one of the key theoretical texts of English Romanticism. For this edition, two poems were omitted, Coleridge’s ‘The Dungeon’ and Wordsworth’s ‘A Character’, several...

    £3000

  8. WORDSWORTH, William [and Samuel Taylor COLERIDGE].

    Lyrical Ballads, with other Poems. In two volumes … second Edition. London:...

    by Biggs and Co. Bristol. 1800.

    Second, definitive, and first complete edition of Lyrical Ballads. To volume I (first published at Bristol in 1798, reissued in London in the same year) Wordsworth added his famous preface, the manifesto of the Romantic movement – calling for, among other things, a poetry of ‘common life’, adopting...

    £5000

  9. WYCHERLEY, William.

    The Posthumous Works … in Prose and Verse. Faithfully publish’d from his original Manuscripts, by Mr. Theobald....

    London: Printed for A. Bettesworth, J. Osborn, W. Mears, W. and J. Innys, J. Peele, T. Woodward; and F. Clay. 1728.

    First edition of an important collection, comprising 308 maxims, one short essay and a large number of previously unpublished poems (the third paginated sequence), based on manuscripts acquired from Captain Thomas Shrimpton, Wycherley’s sole executor.

    £850

  10. WYCHERLEY, William.

    Miscellany Poems: As Satyrs, Epistles, Love-Verses, Songs, Sonnets, &c ...

    London, Printed for C. Brome ... J. Taylor ... and B. Tooke ... 1704.

    First edition of a substantial collection of previously unpublished poems, edited from Wycherley’s manuscripts in a last-ditch attempt to relieve him from debt. ‘It was badly misjudged. Poems on a womans’s “Fair Back-Side” and on another’s “Fine Breasts” were entirely at odds with the...

    £875

  11. ZAPPI, Giambattista and Faustina.

    Rime di Giambattista Felice Zappi e di Faustina Maratti sua consorte.

    Nice, Società Tipog. 1781.

    Uncommon Nice printing of the collected poetry of one of the most prominent literary couples of early 18th century Rome, Faustina Maratti (1679–1745) and her husband Giambattista Zappi (1667–1719). First published after Zappi’s death in 1723, the collection consists of 73 poems by Zappi and 38...

    £200