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. SEL’VINSKII, Il’ia Lvovich.

    Ulialaevshchina: epopeia [The Ulialaev uprising: an epic].

    Moscow, Gosizdat “Khudozhestvennaia literatura”, 1935.

    Fourth edition (first, 1927) of Sel’vinskii’s first and most successful verse epic. Ulialaevshchina describes the fortunes of a kulak, Ulialaev, ‘who seized an estate from its pre-Revolutionary owner and was later defeated in an anarchist rebellion by the Red Army. Selvinsky’s depictions are...


  2. SHAGINIAN, Marietta Sergeevna.

    O blazhenstve imushchago: poeziia Z. N. Gippius [On the bliss of the propertied: the poetry of Z....

    Moscow, “Al’tsiona”, [1912].

    First edition, a critical essay by Shaginian published in the same year as Orientalia (advertised here), the collection of poetry that brought her fame.


  3. SHAGINIAN, Marietta Sergeevna.

    Puteshestvie v Veimar [Journey to Weimar].

    Moscow & Petrograd, Gosizdat, 1923.

    First edition of Shaginian’s account of a pilgrimage to Weimar, written in 1914 but delayed from publication by war and revolution. The volume closes with Goethe’s poem sequence ‘Zu meinen Handzeichnungen’, the German text alternating with Shaginian’s translations.


  4. SHAGINIAN, Marietta Sergeevna.

    Gëte [Goethe].

    Moscow and Leningrad, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1950.

    First edition. Goethe was Shaginian’s idol, as attested by Puteshestvie v Veimar (Journey to Weimar). Here she presents a scholarly work on the great German writer, which particularly examines Russian (and Soviet) appreciations.


  5. [SHERSHENEVICH, Vadim Gabrielevich, translator and editor.] VILDRAC, Charles, and Georges DUHAMEL.

    Teoriia svobodnogo stikha (zametki...

    Moscow, “Imazhinisty”, 1920.

    First edition of Shershenevich’s translation of Vildrac and Duhamel’s Notes sur la technique poétique (1910), ‘which served as the basis for Shershenevich’s theory of the “vers libre of images,” in his imagist book, 2 × 2 = 5 (1920)’ (Terras).


  6. SHERSHENEVICH, Vadim Gabrielevich.

    Bystr’. Monologicheskaia drama [Rapids. A monological drama].

    Moscow, “Pleiady”, 1916.

    First edition: a verse drama from the radical young writer. One of 500 numbered copies. During his career, Shershenevich (1893–1942) was influenced in turn by futurism, imagism, and symbolism but ‘in its essentials his poetry did not change with his allegiance to new groups. He always expressed both...


  7. SHIRMAN, Grigorii Iakovlevich.

    Klinopis’ molnii [Cuneiform of Lightnings].

    Moscow, All-Russian Union of Poets, 1926.

    First edition. A friend of Esenin and Mariengof, Shirman (1888–1956) graduated from the medical faculty at Moscow University in 1912 and worked as a doctor in the city. He was arrested four times (1927, 1937, 1941, 1949), but was released each time without charge. His first book of verse, Mashina tishiny...


  8. SHKAPSKAIA, Maria Mikhailovna.

    Krov’-ruda [Blood-ore].

    St Petersburg & Berlin, Epokha, 1922.

    First edition of a collection of twenty-one poems. The word ‘krov’’ (‘blood’) is recurrent throughout this vividly carnal work, appearing in almost every poem; several pieces grant an insight into the nervous disorder of the poet’s mother.


  9. SHKAPSKAIA, Mariia Mikhailovna.

    Chas vechernii. Stikhi (1913–1917) [The Evening hour. Poems (1913–1917)].

    Petrograd, “Mysl’”, 1922.

    First edition of Maria Shkapskaya’s second book of poems.


  10. SHKAPSKAIA, Mariia Mikhailovna.

    Iav’. Poema [Reality. A poem].

    Moscow & St Petersburg, “Krug”, 1923.

    First edition, written by the poet on a visit to Romny in Ukraine.


  11. SHKAPSKAIA, Mariia Mikhailovna.

    Mater Dolorosa.

    St. Petersburg, [Neopalimaia Kupina], 1921.

    First edition of Maria Shkapskaya’s first book of poems. ‘You have taken to a new and very wide road. No woman before you has spoken so truthfully and in so firm a voice of her significance as a woman’ (Gorky to Shkapskaya, January 1923).


  12. SIDOROV, Gurii Aleksandrovich.

    Vedro ognia [A bucket of fire].

    Moscow, [All-Russian Union of Poets, 1920].

    First edition. Sidorov published only a handful of verse collections (Stilts, Skiff, both 1920; A Cloven Sun, 1921; Stalks, 1922). According to one contemporary reviewer, he was a poetic ‘builder of a second Rome’.


  13. SKABICHEVSKII, Aleksandr Mikhailovich.

    Ocherki istorii russkoi tsenzury (1700-1863 g.) [Sketches on the history of Russian censorship...

    St Petersburg, F. Pavlenkov, 1892.

    First edition of the critic and journalist Aleksandr Skabichevsky’s (1838-1910) essays on the history of Russian censorship, which had great success among the progressive reading public. Its popularity caused the censorship authorities to ban it from public libraries.


  14. SOLOGBUB, Fedor Kuz’mich, pseud. [i.e. Fedor Teternikov], translator. BALZAC, Honoré de.

    Ozornye skazki [Contes drolatiques]…

    Petersburg, “Poliarnaia Zvezda”, 1922.

    First edition, very rare, of Sologub’s translation of two of Balzac’s satirical Contes drolatiques, ‘The fair Imperia’ and ‘The fair Imperia married’.


  15. SOLOGUB, Fedor Kuzmich, pseud. [i.e. Fedor Teternikov].

    Koster dorozhnyi [A wayside fire].

    Moscow and Petrograd, [“Tvorchestvo”,] 1922.

    First edition, containing three cycles of verse by the leading Symbolist: ‘Vneshnii krug’ (Outer circle), ‘Put’’ (Path), and ‘Predel’ (Limit). This was one of the last collections of Sologub’s poems to appear before the state banned any further publication of his work in 1923. He continued...


  16. SOLOGUB, Fedor Kuzmich, pseud. [i.e. Fedor Teternikov], translator. VOLTAIRE, François Marie Arouet de.

    Roman. Perevod s nemetskago…...

    St Petersburg, “Panteon”, 1909.

    First edition, very rare, of Sologub’s translation of Candide. A second edition was published in 1919. The leading Symbolist poet, short-story writer, novelist and dramatist, dubbed by Volynsky ‘a kind of Russian Schopenhauer’, was one of the most famous writers of his day. He also translated a...


  17. SOLZHENITSYN, Aleksandr Isaevich.

    Pis’mo vozhdiam Sovetskogo Soiuza [Letter to the Soviet Leaders].

    Paris, YMCA, 1974

    First printed edition of a letter written by Solzhenitsyn in September 1973 to a number of upper echelon Soviet officials - his last attempt to address the powers of the Soviet Union before his deportation in February 1974. When it first appeared in English, printed in The Times on March 3rd 1974, it...


  18. SOLZHENITSYN, Aleksandr Isaevich.

    Amerikanskiie rechi [American speeches].

    Paris, YMCA, 1975

    First edition, comprising 3 speeches delivered by Solzhenitsyn to the American people in 1975.


  19. [SOUZA, Adélaïde de].

    Charles et Marie. Par l’auteur d’Adèle de Senange.

    Paris, Maradan, 1802.

    First edition of this novel describing British society at the beginning of the 19th century, written in the form of an aristocratic young Englishman’s diary.



    Lenore. Vaterländisches Schauspiel mit Gesang in drei Abtheilungen.

    Berlin, Duncker and Humblot, 1829.

    First edition of one of Holtei’s best-known plays, inspired by a ballad by Gottfried Bürger.