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. SCHÜBLER, Johann Jakob.

    Amor, vehementer quidem flagrans; artificiose tamen celatus, de Pantalonis custodiaque triumphans, intentato...

    Augsburg, Johann Michael Probst, [c. 1770?].

    Rare series of twelve engravings inspired by the Italian commedia dell’arte, one of the most beautiful books of the German Rococo, engraved by Johann Balthasar Probst after original illustrations by the architectural painter, sculptor, and mathematician Johann Jakob Schübler.

    £7500

  2. GALLICO, Paul.

    An archive of thirty-four scrapbooks compiled by Gallico.

    1928–1972.

    A lovingly and meticulously compiled archive of the writing career of the novelist Paul Gallico. The scrapbooks are arranged chronologically and by book/film with letters, telegrams, publicity materials, photographs and ephemera neatly intermingled with copies of reviews and reactions from local,...

    £5500

  3. ARISTOPHANES.

    Aristophanis comicorum principis Comoediae undecim, e graeco in latinum ad verbu[m] translatae Andreae Divo Iustinopolitano...

    Venice, 1542 [colophon: apud D. Jacob a Burgofrancho papiensem, 1538].

    First collected Latin edition of Aristophanes, translated from the Greek by Andrea Divo.

    £1200

  4. BERNIER DE MALIGNY, Aristippe-Félix. 

    Art du comédien.  Principes généraux.  Recueillis et mis en ordre par Aristippe, 1819. 

    Paris, Louis Raymond, [1819]. 

    Very rare broadside encapsulating the ‘art of the actor’, by the thespian and theoretician Aristippe-Félix Bernier de Maligny, who would later develop his ideas further in his 1826 book Théorie de l’art du comédien. 

    £875

  5. SCRIBE, Augustin-Eugène.

    Autograph letter, signed, to an unnamed recipient.

    Paris, 21 January, [1840, 1845, or 1851].

    The dramatist Augustin-Eugène Scribe (1791–1861) thanks the unnamed recipient for his invitation but politely regrets that he is unable to attend. He explains that he had fully intended to come and had already arranged with ‘Monsieur Pichot’ to go together with him. However, Scribe’s wife had...

    £200

  6. ARISTOPHANES.

    The Birds … Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary … With Notes.

    London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey … 1824.

    First edition. ‘Given how much there is in Aristophanes to outrage and violate nineteenth-century manners and sensibilities, it may seem surprising how popular he was. The popularity came at the price of bowdlerizing much of the “grossness”, but there was admiration and even a certain yearning...

    £350

  7. [JOHNSON, Charles].

    Caelia: or, the perjur’d Lover. A Play. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty’s...

    London: Printed for J. Watts … 1733.

    First edition. Caelia, Johnson’s last theatrical production, is an attack on the fashionable libertinism of the day. As the Preface explains, however, he refused to take Barton Booth’s advice and expunge the vivid brothel scenes, and a fastidious audience answered with their pockets. The play,...

    £200

  8. MARKHAM, Gervase.

    Cavalarice, or the English Horseman: Contayning all the Art of Horse-manship, asmuch as is necessary for any...

    London, Edward Allde for Edward White, [1616–] 1617.

    A beautiful copy of the second edition, ‘corrected and augmented’, of Markham’s Cavalarice, exceptionally well-preserved in a contemporary binding, from the library of the antiquary Sir John Marsham.

    £12000

  9. CARTWRIGHT, William.

    Comedies, Tragi-comedies, with other Poems … the Ayres and Songs set by Mr Henry Lawes, Servant to his late...

    London, Printed for Humphrey Moseley … 1651.

    First edition of the witty and elegant drama and verse of a celebrated ‘son of Ben’, who said ‘My son Cartwright writes like a man’. According to Evelyn, Charles I reckoned The Royall Slave ‘the best that was ever acted’ after he saw it as the main entertainment on the royal progress...

    £1750

  10. ETHEREGE, George.

    The comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub. Acted at his Highness the Duke of York’s Theatre in Lincolns-Inn-Fields ...

    London, Printed for Henry Herringman ... 1669.

    Fourth edition of Etherege’s first play, preceded by two editions of 1664 and one of 1667; this is the scarcer of two printings for Herringman in 1669, with ‘fields’ rather than ‘Fields’ in the title, and the catchword ‘hope’ not ‘the’ on A2r.

    £500

  11. [LANDOR, Walter Savage].

    Count Julian: a Tragedy.

    London: Printed for John Murray … by James Moyes … 1812.

    First edition of Landor’s first play, unacted, but a succès d’éstime, published in ‘a small edition’ (Oxford DNB). The episode in Spanish history which it treats – the vengeance taken by Don Julián, 8th-century ruler of Ceuta, against Roderigo, King of the Goths, who has dishonoured...

    £450

  12. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord.

    The Cup and the Falcon.

    London: Macmillan and Co. 1884.

    First published edition, preceded by a ‘trial’ edition of 1882 recorded by Wise as surviving in one known copy – in his own collection. The Cup was first performed in 1881 with Sir Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. Wise, Tennyson 146; Tinker 2096.

    £75

  13. SHARPHAM, Edward. 

    Cupids whirligig.  As it hath bene Sundrie times acted, by the Children of his Majesties Revels. 

    London, Tho: Creede, and Ber: Alsop, and are to be solde by Arthur Johnson, 1616. 

    Third edition of an early Jacobean comedy based upon a tale in Boccaccio’s Decameron, with a contemporary London setting.

    £6000

  14. MADDEN, Dodgson Hamilton.

    The Diary of Master William Silence: A Study of Shakespeare & of Elizabethan Sport.

    London, New York, & Bombay, Longmans, Green, & Co., 1897.

    First edition of Madden’s reimagination of Elizabethan sport, derived from passages from Shakespeare. Though a legal writer and prominent jurist, being appointed attorney-general of Ireland in 1889, the best known publication of Dodgson Hamilton Madden (1840–1928) remains the Diary of Master...

    £120

  15. GAY, John.

    The Distress’d Wife. A Comedy. By the late Mr. Gay, Author of the Beggar’s Opera.

    London: Printed for Thomas Astley … 1743.

    First edition, the issue with no press figures on pp. 8, 39, press figure p. 56: 3 (no priority). Gay’s comedy of the sexes revolves around Sir Thomas Willit’s attempts to inveigle his wife to leave London for the country, in order to reign-in her expenditure. Lady Willit abhors the idea, ‘Sure...

    £350

  16. AUDEN, Wystan Hugh, and Christopher ISHERWOOD.

    The Dog beneath the Skin or where is Francis? A Play in three Acts.

    London, Faber and Faber Limited, [1954].

    Sixth impression. When Bridson had reviewed the play on its first publication in 1935 (along with two other works), he thought it ‘very good fun … as slick, symbolical and smart-Alecky as The Orators’, though the versification of the choruses was ‘on the slack side’. In 1965 Bridson...

    £100

  17. CAREY, Henry.

    The Dramatick Works …

    London: Printed by S. Gilbert, 1743.

    First collected edition, published in the year of Carey’s death, with his final revisions, ‘not only free from the errors of false and spurious editions, published without my knowledge and consent, but (upon this occasion) revised and improv’d, even from my own original copies’.

    £650

  18. PASQUIN, Anthony [i.e. John WILLIAMS].

    The Eccentricities of John Edwin, Comedian. Collected from his Manuscripts, and enriched...

    London, Printed for J. Strahan … [1791].

    First edition of the earliest biography of the actor and singer John Edwin the elder (1749-1790), written by his friend, John Williams, journalist and author of the satirical collection of verse portraits The Children of Thespis (1786). Williams published both works under the pseudonym ‘Anthony Pasquin’...

    £200

  19. [MAGRATH, Cornelius.]

    ‘Ein Irländer Riss …’

    Nuremberg, 1756.

    A delightful promotional image for the Continental tour of ‘The Irish Giant’ Cornelius Magrath (1736/7–1760), ‘To be seen in Nuremberg in the month of July 1756’.

    £3000

  20. TOMPSON, John, editor.

    English Miscellanies consisting of various Pieces of Divinity, Morals, Politicks, Philosophy and History;...

    Gottingen by Abram. Vandenhoeck, Printer and Bookseller to the University 1746.

    Second edition, revised, of John Tompson’s important English Miscellanies, expanded to almost twice the size of the first edition, including up-to-date content published since 1737.

    £300