Foreign Literature

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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-page 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, first published in 1550–53.

    £2750

  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. GONZAGA, Curzio.

    Il Fido amante, poema eroico.

    Mantua, [(colophon:) Giacomo Ruffinello, 1582].

    First edition of an Italian Renaissance heroic poem in thirty-six cantos, much appreciated by Tasso and published the year after the first authorized edition of the Gerusalemme liberata.

    £600

  8. [FRANCE and ITALY.]

    A collection of manuscript and printed material pertaining to French territorial ambitions in Italy.

    [1537 – c. 1630].

    A collection of memoranda concerning French ambitions in the Italian peninsula during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

    £750

  9. [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

  10. MIRANDA, Giovanni.

    Historia del valoroso cavallier Polisman, nella quale, oltre alla sua origine, vita, & imprese, si contengono...

    Venice, Lucio Spineda, 1612.

    Second edition (in fact a reissue of the first edition published in 1573) of a rare pseudo-Hispanic Italian chivalric romance, with a curious printing history.

    £1750

  11. MARINO, Giambattista.

    La Murtoleide fischiate del cavalier Marino con la Marineide risate del Murtola.

    ‘Norinbergh’ [i.e. Venice], Ioseph Stamphier, 1619.

    Rare first edition of the manifesto of Italian Baroque poetry, appearing in the bitterly satirical ‘literary feud’ between the leading Italian baroque poet Giambattista Marino and his adversary, Gasparo Murtola. Marino, who thrived in his notoriously misbehaving public persona, had been banned...

    £900

  12. SCARRON, Paul.

    Le Marquis ridicule, ou la comtesse faite à la haste. Comedie … Suivant la copie imprimée a Paris.

    [Leiden, Elzevier], 1656.

    First Elzevier editions, very rare, of these two plays by Scarron, pirated after the text of the first editions printed in Paris. A finely bound volume with excellent Elzevierian provenance.

    £1200

  13. TASSO, Torquato.

    Il Goffredo overo Gierusalemme liberata del sig. Torquato Tasso. Con le figure intagliate in rame dal Tempesta.

    Rome, Filippo de Rossi, 1657.

    Attractive copy of the 1657 illustrated pocket Gerusalemme Liberata, reprinting the successful Rome edition of 1607. It includes Tasso’s Allegoria del poema, printed as introduction to the poem, and is enlivened throughout by one of the famous cycles of engravings produced by Tempesta.

    £400

  14. CAREL DE SAINTE GARDE, Jacques.

    Les sarrazins chassez de France. Poëme heroïque ...

    Paris, chez Claude Barbin, 1667.

    Rare first edition of this poetic account of the expulsion of the Saracens from France by Childebrand I (c. 678 – 751), written by Jacques Carel de Sainte Garde (1620 – 1684), almoner and counsellor to Louis XIV. Prefaced by a short treatise on versification in heroic poetry, the poem runs...

    £350

  15. [COURTILZ DE SANDRAS, Gatien de.]

    Les dames dans leur naturel, ou la galanterie sans façon. Sous le regne du Grand Alcandre.

    ‘A Cologne’ [but Netherlands], ‘chez Pierre Marteau’ [Elzevier?], 1686.

    First edition, uncommon, of this story, ‘found in a cabinet, long after it had been written’ by the French novelist and pamphleteer Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras (1644–1712), nowadays best known for his semi-fictionalised Mémoires de Mr. d’Artagnan, which heavily influenced Dumas’...

    £685

  16. 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

  17. CHIESA, Sebastiano.

    Capitolo fratesco.

    [Italy, probably Emilia, seventeenth century.]

    Unpublished seventeenth-century Italian poem in sixteen cantos in ottava rima. Sebastiano Chiesa’s Capitolo fratesco, or dei frati according to other sources, was apparently entrusted by the dying author to a friend, and enjoyed wide circulation and acclaim in manuscript...

    £1750

  18. 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

  19. SCHULENBURG, Graf von der (compiler).

    ‘Poesies Francoises sur diverses sujets composée par plusieurs celebres...

    Förste, 1742.

    A charming manuscript compendium of French poetry in an attractive binding and slipcase, compiled at Förste in South Lower Saxony by a member of the distinguished von der Schulenburg family. The selection of love poems, spiritual and satirical verse, epitaphs, and songs (including one poem titled...

    £1250

  20. 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