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. PASTERNAK, Boris Leonidovich, translator.

    Gruzinskie Poety [Georgian Poets].

    Moscow, Sovestskii pisatel’, 1946.

    First edition, comprising Pasternak’s translations of most of the surviving œuvre of Nik’oloz Baratashvili, first published in a very rare volume earlier in the year, and here supplemented by new translations of works by Ak’ak’i Tseretili, Vazha Pshavela (pseud. of Luka Razikashvili), and Pasternak’s...


  2. PASTERNAK, Boris Leonidovich, translator.

    GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von. Tainy [Die Geheimnisse or The Mysteries].

    Moscow, Izdatel’stvo Sovremennik, 1922.

    First and only edition, very rare, of Pasternak’s early translation of Goethe’s epic fragment Die Geheimnisse (The Mysteries); with a long introductory note by Professor Grigorii Rachinskii.


  3. PAZZI, Antonio de, and Torquato TASSO. 

    Stanze inedite di Antonio de Pazzi e di Torquato Tasso in biasimo ed in lode delle...

    Venice, Picotti, 1810.

    Scarce first edition of verses ‘in blame and in praise of women’ by Antonio de Pazzi and Torquato Tasso, edited by the eminent antiquary and librarian Jacopo Morelli (1745–1819) from a previously unpublished manuscript in the Biblioteca Marciana, Venice, and dedicated to Baron Antonio Mulazzani...


  4. PETNIKOV, Grigorii Nikolaevich.

    Kniga Marii zazhgi snega [The Book of ‘Mary Light the Snows’].

    St Petersburg, “Liren’”, 1920.

    First edition of the last of the poet-translator’s books to be published by Liren’, the publishing house he founded together with Aseev in 1914. ‘Mary light the snows [and set the meadows playing]’ is a reference to a Russian folk-name for 1 April, the feast-day of St Mary of Egypt and the traditional...


  5. PETRARCH, Francesco. 

    Librorum Francisci Petrarche impressorum annotatio.  De ignorantia suiipsius et multorum liber I.  De...

    Venice, Simone da Luere for Andreas Torresanus de Asula, 27 March 1501. 

    Part one of the second collected edition of Petrarch’s Latin works (first Basel 1496), owned and annotated by the great Italian naturalist and physician Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605). 


  6. PIEROTTI, A. 

    Il cervello e la difesa delle donne sestine giocose ... precedute da indirizzo, e dedica in vario metro. 

    Florence, N. Fabbrini, 1842. 

    First and only edition, very rare, of this misogynistic poem by the Florentine poet Pierotti, in which he pretends to explore the female brain with reference to Galen, accusing women of, for example, greed, theft, cunning, vanity, and irascibility.  The second part is a somewhat patronising defense...


  7. PIL’NIAK, Boris, pseud. [i.e. Boris Andreevich Vogau].

    Povesti o chernom khlebe [Stories about black bread].

    Moscow & St. Petersburg, “Krug”, 1923.

    First edition, comprising two short stories, ‘Volki’ (Wolves) and ‘Chernyi Khleb’ (Black bread), written in Kolomna in 1922-3. The stories from these years immediately following the Civil War ‘– obviously difficult and apparently fragmentary, plotless and stylistically heterogeneous – were...


  8. PIL’NIAK, Boris, pseud. [i.e. Boris Andreevich Vogau].

    Rasplesnutoe vremia. Rasskazy [Spilled time. Stories].

    Moscow and Leningrad, Gosizdat, 1927.

    First edition of a collection of short stories previously published only in periodicals (in 1925-7); this collection represents a shift in Pilniak’s style towards social realism – most of the stories are grouped under the general heading ‘Recurring tales’.


  9. PIL’NIAK, Boris, pseud. [i.e. Boris Andreevich Vogau].

    Kamni i Korni [Rocks and roots].

    Moscow, SovLit, 1934

    First edition in book form, a strange modernist travelogue in which Pilniak critically reworks his earlier Korni iaponskago solntsa (Roots of the Japanese Sun, 1927). The text consists of lengthy citations from the original work, commentary by R. Kim from Pilniak’s Collected Works, and further...


  10. PIL’NIAK, Boris, pseud. [i.e. Boris Andreevich Vogau].

    Shtoss v zhizn’ [Shtoss in life].

    Berlin, Petropolis, [1929].

    First edition, a collection of three stories. The title story is set during the final year of Lermontov’s life, its name referring to the card game ‘shtoss’, also the title of a story left unfinished by Lermontov. The other two stories in the volume are ‘Gorod vetrov’ [‘Town of winds’],...


  11. PIL’NIAK, Boris, pseud. [i.e. Boris Andreevich Vogau].

    Kitaiskaia povest’ [A Chinese tale].

    Moscow and Leningrad, Gosizdat, 1928.

    First edition. A visit to the Far East in 1927 gave Pilniak material for a number of works, such as the present one, but controversy back in Russia grew over an earlier story, Povest’ nepogashennoi luny (The Tale of the Unextinguished Moon, 1926, which had strongly suggested that Stalin was responsible...


  12. [PIRANDELLO, Luigi.]

    LO VECCHIO MUSTI, Manlio. Bibliografia di Pirandello.

    Verona, Mondadori, 1937.

    First edition of this authoritative bibliography of Pirandello, published just a year after his death. It includes a long introductory essay by Massimo Bontempelli.


  13. PISEMSKII, Aleksei Feofilaktovich.

    Povesti i razskazy … v trekh chastiakh [Stories and tales … in three parts] …

    Moscow, Stepanova, 1853.

    Very rare first collected edition of the works of Pisemsky, including the first appearance in book form of many of his acclaimed early stories (Tiufiak (The Muff, translated into English as The Simpleton), Pitershchik (The Petersburger), Mr Batmanov, Brak po strasti (Marriage by Passion), and Komik (The...


  14. PISEMSKII, Aleksei Feofilaktovich.

    Ocherki iz krest’ianskago byta [Sketches from Peasant Life].

    St Petersburg, [A. Dmitriev,] 1856.

    First edition: ‘one of Pisemsky’s most universally acclaimed books’ (Moser, p. 54) and the one which cemented his reputation as ‘a chronicler of the life of the common people’ (Terras).


  15. PLANAS, D. Eusebio.

    Historia de una mujer. Album de cincuenta cromos.

    Barcelona, Juan Aleu y Fugarull, 1880.

    First edition. A chronicle in pictures of the life of a beautiful modern woman, and her adventures and misadventures with men: in front of fashionable Madrid shop-fronts, in her boudoir, on the balcony, on the stage and in the dressing-room, at balls and dinner parties, in a train, the Alps, the 1878...


  16. [POETRY.] 

    ‘Trattato della [poesia Toscana]’. 

    [Asti?, 1780-1782.] 

    A manuscript treatise on the method of composing poetry in Italian, with numerous examples from renowned authors and eight apparently unpublished poems about horse-racing, with references to Arabian, Sardinian, English, and African horses, as well as to a firework display. 



    Recueil de marques de fabriques de porcelaine Russes.

    [Paris, Imprimerie de Vaugirard, 1927.]

    Rare first and only edition of Kukhnov’s descriptive catalogue of eminent Russian porcelain factories, comprising brief histories of the factories accompanied by reproductions of their various factory marks.


  18. [POUND.]

    FROBENIUS, Leo. Il Liuto di Gassire. Legenda Africana con una nota di Ezra Pound.

    Milan, All’insegna del pesce d’oro [Scheiwiller], [1961].

    First edition, translated into Italian from the German by Siegfried Walter di Rachewiltz, Pound’s grandson (b. 1947), and with a ten-page note by Pound. A presentation copy, inscribed ‘For Geoffrey Bridson with the compliments of Siegfried W. de Rachewiltz / Brunnenburg 30. 5. 61’.


  19. POUND, Ezra, and Ernest FENELLOSA.

    Introduzione ai Nô, con un drama in un atto di Motokiyo: Kagekiyo.

    Milan, All’insegna del pesce d’oro [Scheiwiller], [1958].

    Third edition, translations of Pound’s ‘Introduction’ and one play from Certain Noble Plays of Japan by his daughter Mary de Rachewiltz. This third edition added ‘Un intervallo di 40 anni’ by Pound, dated November 1958.


  20. [PRÉVOST, Antoine, Abbé.]

    Voyages du capitaine Robert Lade en differentes parties de l’Afrique, de l’Asie et de l’Amerique....

    Paris, chez Didot, 1744.

    First edition, a lovely copy, of this travel journal attributed to the fictional English traveller Robert Lade but in fact composed from various genuine sources by the French writer Abbé Prévost (1697–1763), famous for his novel Manon Lescaut, and for his multi-volume collection of...