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. SALTYKOV-SHCHEDRIN, Mikhail Evgrafovich.

    Blagonamerennyia rechi. Tom I [– II] [Well-meaning speeches. Volume I [–II]].

    St Petersburg, A. A. Kraevsky, 1876.

    First edition: a volume of social and political satires by the greatest satirist of nineteenth-century Russia. The title is ambiguous – the word ‘well-meaning’ was widely used by the administration to mean ‘loyal’, i.e. ‘politically reliable’.


  2. 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.


  3. SCHNITZLER, Jean-Henri.

    Rostopchin i Kutuzov. Rossiia v 1812 godu. Perev. s predisloviem i primechaniiami A. El’nitskago [Rostopchin...

    St. Petersburg, “Luch”, 1912

    First edition in Russian of La Russie en 1812, Rostopchine et Koutousof (1863), a history of Russia during the Napoleonic wars. The generals Rostopchin and Kutuzov would appear as major characters in War and Peace (1865 7), and Schnitzler’s original appeared just as Tolstoy began work on his novel.


  4. SCHUBERT, Franz, composer.

    A fine contemporary volume of ten works containing 18 Lieder including his most famous early songs ‘Erlkönig’...

    Vienna, 1821-1833

    A rare collection of Schubert Lieder in a contemporary binding, apparently as retailed by the Czech music publisher Berra, including three first editions.


  5. 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...


  6. SEL’VINSKII, Il’ia Lvovich.

    Rekordy [Records].

    Moscow, “Uzel”, 1926.

    First edition; one of 700 copies. ‘Selvinsky led an eventful life. He worked at odd jobs, including stevedore and circus wrestler, then graduated from the Moscow University Faculty of Social Sciences (1923). A leader of the Literary Center of constructivists since its inception in 1924, Selvinsky brought...


  7. 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...


  8. 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.


  9. 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.


  10. 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.


  11. [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).


  12. 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...


  13. 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...


  14. 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.


  15. 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.


  16. 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.


  17. 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).


  18. 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’.


  19. 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.


  20. 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’.