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. 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...


  2. 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...


  3. 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.


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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).


  7. 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’.


  8. 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.


  9. 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’.


  10. 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...


  11. 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...


  12. 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...


  13. SOLZHENITSYN, Aleksandr Isaevich.

    Amerikanskiie rechi [American speeches].

    Paris, YMCA, 1975

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


  14. [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 nineteenth 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.


  16. 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.


  17. STRINDBERG, August.

    Tschandala. Berättelse fran 1600-talet.

    Stockholm, C. & E. Gernandts Förlags, 1897.

    First Swedish edition: a Gothic tale, set in Skane thirty years after the Swedes took the province from the Danes in 1658. Tschandala (the word is taken from Nietzsche and designates the lowest caste in India) was first published in Danish translation in 1889.


  18. STRINDBERG, Johan August.


    Stockholm, Albert Bonniers Förlag, [1909].

    First separate edition of a collection of poems which was first published in the collection Fagervik och Skamsund in 1902.


  19. TAMAMSHEV, Aleksandr Artem’evich.

    Iz plamia i sveta [From the Flame and Light].

    Petrograd, [R. Golike & A. Vil’borg,] 1918.

    First edition. The title is taken from a poem by Lermontov (Est’ rechi—znachen’e / Temno il’ nichtozhno … ‘There are speeches – whose meaning / Is obscure or insignificant / But it is impossible to hear them without being moved … From the flame and light / The born word / Would not find...


  20. TARSIS, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Skazanie o sinei mukhe. Krasnoe i chernoe [The legend of the bluebottle. Red and black].

    Frankfurt am Main, Posev, 1963.

    First edition in Russian of Tarsis’ first work to be published abroad, a political allegory of a philosopher who kills a fly and then asks himself why he cannot likewise kill people who get in his way. It was first published in English translation in London the previous year. Tarsis was placed in a...