Foreign Literature

Contact Donovan Rees

This department specialises in rare and important works of French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and South American literature from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Here you can find first editions and signed or presentation copies of authors as diverse as Akhmatova, Balzac, Borges, Camus, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Goethe, Goldoni, Hugo, Kafka, Leopardi, Lorca, Manzoni, Pirandello, Pushkin, Schiller, Tolstoy, Zola, and many others. Among the important works which have passed through our hands are the original working manuscript of Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, now in the Pushkin House in St Petersburg, the only known copy of the first edition of Brecht's first play, Baal (1920) with his working notes, and an extraordinary collection of Pushkin first editions.
  1. GART DER GESUNDHEIT.

    Mainz, Peter Schoeffer, 28 March 1485.

    First edition. The Mainz Gart der Gesundheit marks the beginning of scientific naturalism in botanical book illustration, representing a conspicuous departure from the iconographic conventions of earlier incunable herbals. It is the first book published by Schoeffer in a vernacular language, and for...

    £750

  2. ILLUMINATED

    INTITIAL from a manuscript Gradual or Antiphonal; initial 'U' painted in rose red with elaborate white tracery, the...

    The stylized decoration and use of bright colours, including the deep blue grape motif, recalls the art of Ferrara at the end of the third quarter of the 15th century. Compare, for example, an initial in a Bible painted for the Este family by Taddeo Crivelli (active from 1451, died 1479) which is now...

    £750

  3. TRISSINO, Giangiorgio.

    La Poetica.

    [Vicenza, Tolomeo Ianicolo, 1529 (colophon)].

    First edition, the corrected issue, of Trissino’s milestone essay on language, aesthetic and poetry. The first issue bears the erroneous date of 1549.

    £2200

  4. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    El Momo. La moral e muy graciosa historia del Momo; compuesta en Latin por el docto varon Leon Bapista...

    Alcalá de Henares, Joan Mey Flandro, 1553.

    First edition in Spanish of Alberti’s Momus [or De principe], translated by Augustín de Almaçan and with an introductory 8 pp. Exposición by the Toledo ascetic writer and scholar Alejo Venegas (1495?–1554?).

    £3800

  5. STRAPAROLA, Giovanfrancesco.

    Le Piacevoli Notti di messer Giovanfrancesco Straparola da Caravaggio.

    Venice, Domenico Giglio, 1558.

    An early edition of both volumes of Straparola’s Facetious Nights.

    £3250

  6. PARADIN, Guillaume.

    Gulielmi Paradini Anchemani Epigrammata ...

    Lyons, Ant. Gryphius, 1581.

    First and only edition of this French historian’s poetry including verses about or addressed to Ronsard, Pontus de Tyard, Claude Rouillet, and the Lyons printers Sébastien and Antoine Gryphe, and Jean de Tournes.

    £950

  7. [BOUCHER, Jean].

    Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus,...

    [Paris?], 1595.

    First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against...

    £250

  8. [MELO, Antonio de.]

    La Famosa y temeraria compañia de Rompe Columnas. Traduzida, y acrescentada, por el Capitan Flegetonte, comico...

    Paris, Joseph Cotterau, 1609.

    First edition, rare, a loose translation by Antonio de Melo of the burlesque Della compagnia de Tagliacantoni (1601), by Tommaso Buoni.

    £4500

  9. VILLEHARDOUIN, Geoffroy de (Charles du Fresne DU CANGE, editor).

    Histoire de l’empire de Constantinople sous les empereurs françois,...

    Paris, Imprimerie Royale, 1657.

    First collected edition, comprising the third edition of Villehardouin’s chronicle, edited and translated by Du Cange, and the first edition of Du Cange’s history of the Latin empire in the Levant. The original and modern French versions of Villehardouin’s chronicle are printed on opposite pages....

    £1400

  10. [ITALIAN.]

    [BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.] Il Libro delle Preghiere publiche ed Amministrazione de Sacramenti, ed altri Riti e Cerimonie...

    Londra, Appresso Moise Pitt Libraro … 1685.

    First edition of the first translation of the Book of Common Prayer into Italian. The project was begun by Edward Browne while chaplain to Sir John Finch in Constantinople, perhaps incorporating an earlier, unpublished translation by William Bedell (the manuscript being listed in Griffiths’ Bibliography...

    £1250

  11. ROSA, Salvator.

    Satire, dedicate a Settano.

    “In Amsterdam, Presso Severo Prothomastix” [Rome, c. 1690].

    The literary triumph of the great Baroque painter. This is the true first edition, not to be confused with the reprints and counterfeits. No.1 in Uberto Limentani, Bibliographia della vita e delle opere di Salvator Rosa (Florence, 1995).

    £1100

  12. MARIVAUX, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de.

    Le Paysan parvenu: or, the fortunate Peasant. Being Memoirs of the Life of Mr. ––––....

    London: Printed for John Brindley … Charles Corbett … and Richard Wellington … 1735

    First edition in English, originally published in French in the Hague in 1734-5. This is the second of the two important novels by Marivaux, which broke new ground in the art of writing fiction. ‘Where La Vie de Marianne belongs to the moralizing and sentimental romance tradition, Le Paysan...

    £650

  13. TASSO, Torquato.

    Aminta; Favola boscareccia …

    In Glasgua, Della Stampa di Roberto ed Andrea Foulis, 1753.

    First Foulis Press edition of Tasso’s famous pastoral verse play of 1573, an attractive production with plates from a miniature French edition by the French artist Sebastien le Clerc, acquired by Robert Foulis on his European travels.

    £125

  14. BERRYAT, Jean, et al., editors.

    Receuil de Mémoires, ou Collection de Pièces Académiques, concernant la Médicine, l’Anatomie...

    Dijon, Auxerre, Paris and Liège, F. Desventes, F. Fournier, et al., 1754-86.

    The scarce first collected edition of these scientific papers from all over Europe (lacking only the last five volumes of the Partie Française), including among its contributors such famous names as Huygens, Leeuwenhoek, Hevelius, De La Hire, Mariotte, Réaumur, La Condamine, Haller, Maupertuis, Boyle,...

    £6000

  15. [THEATRE].

    La locanda commedia da rappresentarsi in Firenze nel Teatro di Via del Cocomero nell’autunno dell’anno 1756.

    Florence, Pietro Gaetano Viviani, 1756.

    Sole edition, extremely rare (no other copy listed in library catalogues), of this three-act comedy, a notable example of the new Italian comedy inspired by Goldoni. This work appears to echo Goldoni’s La vedova scaltra (1748), while developing the plot and the theme along original trajectories....

    £700

  16. [MARTINI, Ferdinand].

    Breife. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt.

    Soröe 1768, gedruckt bey Jonas Lindgreen, Ritterlich Akademischer Buchdrucker.

    First edition of a rare, radical indictment of serfdom in Denmark, ostensibly ‘translated from the English’.

    £750

  17. [GLUCK, Christoph Willibald.]

    Paride ed Elena. Dramma per musica . . . dedicato a sua altezza, il Signor Duca Don Giovanni di Braganza.

    Vienna, Johann Thomas von Trattner, 1770.

    First edition of Gluck’s Paride ed Elena, which tells the story of events between the judgment of Paris and the flight of Paris and Helen to Troy. It was premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 3 November 1770.

    £5000

  18. DESENFANS, Noel Joseph.

    Les deux Hermites, dédié a mylord Lyttelton …

    A Londres; chez R. Davis … J Ridley … W Owen … 1773.

    First and only edition, uncommon, of an epistolary novel by the future art dealer Noel Joseph Desenfans. The scene is Paris in the 1680s, the theme is Enlightenment, and the author’s aim was to inspire ‘l’horreur de l’oppression, sentiment nécessaire à l’harmonie de la Société, & vertu...

    £650

  19. [LOQUET, Marie-Françoise].

    Voyage de Sophie et d’Eulalie, au Palais du vrai bonheur; ouvrage pour servir de guide dans les voies...

    Paris, Charles-Pierre Berton, 1781.

    First edition of this rare utopian voyage written by a woman for a readership of women.

    £1500

  20. [TRENTO, Giulio].

    Gli spiriti. Paragoni poetici. Dialogo d’un giovine, ed un cinico dell’andare alla Guerra. Diario mensuale...

    Treviso, G. Trento, [1788].

    Only edition, mentioned only in one or two pieces of local antiquarian history but not recorded in any of the usual library catalogues. An ephemeral publication containing a short story, a literary divertissement linking passages from Parini’s Mattino with an unidentified poem on gambling and an ode...

    £300