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. RADIUS, J. S. C. de.

    Characteristic Features of Russian and Slavic Poetry, with Specimens, translated by English Authors …

    London, printed by Seyfang & Co. [for the author], 1854.

    Only edition. This little book contains what must be some of the earliest translations of Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Slovak, and Sorb verse into English. It certainly offers an early example of comparative Slavonic studies. Most of the specimens, however, are Russian, among them Delvig’s...


  2. RADLOVA, Anna Dmitrievna.

    Korabli. Vtoraia kniga stikhov [Ships. A Second Book of Poems].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1920.

    First edition of the second collection of poems published by Anna Radlova (1891–1949), a poet well-known for her translations of Shakespeare. Radlova chose to be repatriated at the end of the war – she was immediately sent to a concentration camp, where she later died.


  3. RADLOVA, Anna Dmitrievna.

    Krylatyi gost’. Tret’ia kniga stikhov [The Winged Guest. A Third Book of Poems].

    [St Petersburg,] “Petropolis”, 1922.

    First edition: Radlova’s third collection of poems, written in 1920–22.


  4. RAFALOVICH, Sergei L’vovich.

    Avgust. Stikhotvoreniia [August. Poems].

    Berlin, L. D. Frenkel, 1924.

    First edition: a rare collection from the prolific if little-known poet and theatre critic. It includes one piece on the death of Blok. Rafalovich lived in Paris from 1909, but made annual trips to Russia. An opponent of futurism, he collaborated on numerous works with the émigré community.


  5. REMIZOV, Aleksei Mikhailovich.


    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1919.

    First edition, one of only a small number of poetic works by Remizov, ‘the most original, many-sided, and accomplished modernist prose writer…, a writer who at best would score a succès d’estime with a select public and never gained international recognition’ (Terras, History of Russian Literature,...


  6. REYES, Alfonso.

    Los Siete sobre Deva. Sueño de una tarde de Agosto.

    Mexico City, [Ediciones Tezontle, 1942].

    First edition of this prose work by Alfonso Reyes (in Borges’s opinion, ‘the best prose-writer in the Spanish language of any period’), written 1923-29. Inscribed by Reyes on front endpaper to fellow poet and writer Pedro Salinas (1891-1951): ‘“En busca de Pedro Salinas”, y siempre a su lado,...


  7. REYES, Alfonso.

    La saeta …

    [Colophon:] Rio de Janeiro, Villas Boas, 1931.

    First edition, one of 300 copies on papel Manchester Ledger.


  8. REYES, Alfonso (1889-1959).

    Corrected carbon typescript, signed, of an essay entitled ‘Chesterton y los titeres’ (Chesterton...


    An essay entitled ‘Chesterton y los titeres’, concerning Chesterton’s play The surprise, a religious allegory written in 1932 but first published posthumously in 1952. Reyes discusses the theological dimensions of Chesterton’s play, the use of puppets, Chesterton’s philosophy of the miracle,...


  9. RILKE, Rainer Maria.

    Les Fenêtres. Dix poèmes de Rainer Maria Rilke illustrés de dix eaux-fortes par Baladine.

    Paris, Officina Sanctandreana, 1927.

    First edition, one of 500 copies on pur fil, of a total edition of 515. A series of ten poems in French addressed by Rilke to his lover ‘Mouky’ or ‘Baladine’ Klossowska, who herself provided the illustrations. Elisabeth Dorothea Klossowska née Spiro (1886-1969) met Rilke in 1919, and became...


  10. ROBBE-GRILLET, Alain.

    Topologie d’une cité fantôme.

    Paris, Éditions de Minuit, 1976.

    First edition: a kind of intellectual detective story in which the reader becomes a collaborator in the solution of a crime as much his own creation as it is the author’s.


  11. ROBBE-GRILLET, Alain.

    Un Régicide.

    [Paris], Les Éditions de Minuit, [1978].

    First edition, one of 87 copies on Alfa mousse (first paper).


  12. ROBBE-GRILLET, Alain.

    Souvenirs du Triangle d’Or.

    [Paris], Les Éditions de Minuit, [1978].

    First edition, one of 87 copies on Alfa mousse (first paper).


  13. ROMANOV, Panteleimon Sergeevich.

    Domovoi [The house-sprite].

    Moscow & Leningrad, “Zemlia i Fabrika”, [1926].

    First edition, published in the ‘Worker-Peasant Library’ series, containing four short stories: Domovoi (‘The house-sprite’), Opis’ (‘The list’), Obshchestvennye raboty (‘Social work’, a fragment from Rus’), and Druzhnyi narod (‘A friendly people’).


  14. ROZENGEIM, Mikhail Pavlovich.

    Stikhotvoreniia [Poems] …

    St Petersburg, Artillery Department Press, 1858.

    First edition of Rozengeim’s first book, very rare, a collection of 76 poems of patriotic martial mood. Rozengeim (1820-1887) had published his first poems in 1837 in Syn Otechestva while at Cadet School (in the footsteps of Lermontov, six years his senior), but modesty and a long military career had...


  15. RÜCKERT, Friedrich.

    Die Weisheit des Brahmanen, ein Lehrgedicht in Bruchstücken. Erstes [- Sechstes] Bändchen.

    Leipzig, Weidmann’sche Buchhandlung, 1836-39.

    First edition of one of the most important poetical works by Rückert, here in the publisher’s attractive original paper wrappers. Rückert’s large output of poetry inspired many composers, among them Schubert (‘Du bist die Ruh’), Schumann (‘Widmung’), and Mahler (‘Kindertotenlieder’...



    На крейсере [On a cruiser]. Moscow OGIZ Molodaia Gvardiya 1932.

    Moscow, OGIZ, Molodaia Gvardiya, 1932.

    First edition. A child’s guide to life on board a cruiser of the Red Fleet, in verse accompanied by illustrations. Beginning with the alphabet in semaphore, the essential first lesson for any sailor, we see the cruiser on its journey from loading at the dock, then setting off, followed by scenes of...


  17. SA‘DI, Abu ‘Abd Allah Musharrif al-Din (Adam OLEARIUS, translator).

    Persianischer Rosenthal. In welchen viel lustige...

    Schleswig, Johann Holwein for Johann Nauman in Hamburg, 1654.

    Rare first edition of Olearius’s translation of Sa‘di’s Gulistān or ‘Rose-garden’, richly and engagingly illustrated.


  18. SALINAS, Pedro.

    El Contemplado. Tema con variaciones.

    Mexico, Nueva Fioresta en la Editorial Stylo, 1946.

    First edition: a set of 15 poems written in Puerto Rico between 1943 and 1945, in which the poet addresses the sea he is watching. ‘… The speaker-poet’s search for key meanings in nature leads to the very process of its writing. As this process develops, the sea in turn moves from passive subject...


  19. SALINAS, Pedro.

    El defensor.

    Bogotá, Universidad Nacional, 1948.

    First edition of this important collection of essays by one of the outstanding members of the Generación del 27. Salinas presents a series of five essays in defence of different aspects of language.


  20. SALINGER, J.D.

    Povesti. Nad propast’iu vo rzhi [Catcher in the Rye]… Rasskazyi.

    Moscow, Molodaya Gvardiya, 1965.

    First printing in Russia and first Russian translation of Catcher in the Rye (1951), together with other works by Salinger which also appear here for the first time. The translation of Salinger’s classic novel was approved by the censor, as they considered Holden Caulfield’s dissolute coming-of-age...