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. TASSO, Torquato.

    Aminta; Favola boscareccia …

    In Glasgua, Della Stampa di Roberto ed Andrea Foulis, 1753.

    First Foulis Press edition of Tasso’s famous pastoral verse play of 1573, an attractive production with plates from a miniature French edition by the French artist Sebastien le Clerc, acquired by Robert Foulis on his European travels.

    £125

  2. TOLSTOY, Count Aleksei Konstantinovich.

    Kniaz’ Serebrianyi. Povest’ vremen Ioanna Groznago. S predisloviem kn. D. N. Tserteleva....

    Moscow, V. G. Got’e [Gautier], 1892.

    First edition thus, printed on papier vélin and signed by the publisher, one of a number of bibliophile editions of Russian classics brought out by Gautier in the 1890s. Copies were also printed on japon.

    £1600

  3. TOLSTOY, Count Aleksei Konstantinovich.

    Smert’ Ioanna Groznago, tragediia v piati deistviiakh [The Death of Ivan the Terrible,...

    St Petersburg, Naval Ministry Press, 1866.

    First edition: the first in the great trilogy of plays by the foremost Russian historical dramatist. It was translated into English verse, ‘with the author’s permission’, in 1869.

    £2000

  4. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Khoziain i rabotnik. Povest’ [Master and Man. A Story].

    St Petersburg, V. S. Balashev and Co., 10 March 1895.

    One of the earliest printings of one of Tolstoy’s greatest late short stories, revolving around a Damascene moment in the life of an avaricious landowner.

    £3000

  5. [TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.] BIRIUKOV, Pavel Ivanovich, editor.

    Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoi. Biografiia. Sostavil P. Biriukov po neizdannym...

    Moscow, Pechkovsky, ‘Posrednik’, 1906[-8].

    First edition, rare, of the first authorised biography of Tolstoy (then aged 78), by his friend, secretary and disciple Pavel Biriukov (1860-1931), drawing on much unpublished archival material and written in personal consultation with Tolstoy over a period of at least six years.

    £1800

  6. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    I. Pis’mo k Kitaitsu. (Oktabria 1906 g.) II. Kitaiskaia mudrost’. Mysli kitaiskikh myslitelei, sobrannyia...

    Moscow, “Posrednika”, 1907.

    First edition, very rare, of Tolstoy’s open letter to the Malaysian-Chinese man of letters Gu Hongming, who had sent several of his works to Tolstoy, including Papers from a Viceroy’s Yamen (1905). In Tolstoy’s view China (like Russia, Persia and Turkey) was then in transition from despotism towards...

    £2250

  7. [TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.] ORLOV, Nikolai.

    Russkie Muzhiki. Kartiny khudozhnika N. Orlova, s predisloviem Leva Nikolaevicha Tolstogo...

    St Petersburg, R. Golik & A. Vilborg, 1909.

    First and only edition of this album of nine black and white reproductions of folk-art paintings by the peasant artist Nikolai Orlov, prefaced by an 8-page introduction by Tolstoy. The realistic portrayal of Russian society, especially of the peasantry, was a cause beloved by Tolstoy, and is a key feature...

    £1200

  8. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Zhivoi trup. Drama v 6 deistviiakh i 12 kartinakh [A Living Corpse. A drama in 6 acts and 12 scenes].

    Moscow, A. Ia. Petrov, [1911].

    One of the earliest printings of Tolstoy’s Living Corpse, one of a number of editions in 1911, the year it was first staged, posthumously, at the Moscow Arts Theatre.

    £2750

  9. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Posmertnyia zapiski startsa Fedora Kuz’micha umershago 20-go ianvaria 1864 goda v Sibiri, bliz goroda...

    St Petersburg, V. Vrublevskii, 1912.

    First edition, very rare, of an unfinished story, begun in 1905, exploring the popular legend that Tsar Alexander I had staged his own death in 1825 and had gone into hiding as the hermit Fedor Kuz’mich. Kuz’mich, St Fedor of Tomsk in the Russian Church, was sent to Siberia as a vagrant, where he...

    £1750

  10. TOLSTOY, Lev Nikolaevich.

    Posmertnyia khudozhestvennyia proizvedeniia… pod redaktsii V Chertkova. Tom I [-III] [Posthumous artistic...

    [Moscow], A. L. Tolstoy, [1912].

    A reprint, in slightly smaller format than the first edition of 1911, of Tolstoy’s posthumous works, which included the first appearance of many important pieces: ‘Hadji Murad, as well as The Memoirs of a Madman and The Devil, was published only in 1911, in the collected edition of Tolstoy’s posthumous...

    £800

  11. [TORGA, Miguel, pseud.] ROCHA, Adolpho Correia da.

    Abismo. Poemas.

    [Coimbra, “Atlantida”, 1932.]

    First (and only) edition of one of the very rare early collections of poetry of Miguel Torga, published under his own name while he was still a medical student in Coimbra.

    £3500

  12. [TRENTO, Giulio].

    Gli spiriti. Paragoni poetici. Dialogo d’un giovine, ed un cinico dell’andare alla Guerra. Diario mensuale...

    Treviso, G. Trento, [1788].

    Only edition, mentioned only in one or two pieces of local antiquarian history but not recorded in any of the usual library catalogues. An ephemeral publication containing a short story, a literary divertissement linking passages from Parini’s Mattino with an unidentified poem on gambling and an ode...

    £300

  13. TRET’IAKOV, Sergei Mikhailovich.

    Rychi, Kitai! Stikhi [Roar, China! Poems].

    Moscow, “Ogonek”, 1926.

    First edition, very rare. Tretyakov wrote these lyrics during an extended visit to China in 1924, during which he collected material for his subsequent work on contemporary China. The name of the title poem (Rychi, Kitai!) was used again for Tretyakov’s famous avant-garde play of the same name, published...

    £350

  14. TURGENEV, Ivan Sergeevich.

    Nov’. Roman [Virgin Soil. A Novel].

    Moscow, 1878.

    First edition printed in Russia of Turgenev’s novel about the Populists of the 1870s. It was first published in the journal Vestnik Evropy in 1877, followed shortly afterwards by an edition published in Leipzig.

    £1500

  15. TURGENEV, Ivan Sergeevich.

    Stikhotvoreniia [Poems].

    St Petersburg, [V Tipografii Glazunova], 1885.

    First edition: a collected volume of Turgenev’s poems omitted from the Complete collected works of 1883 (see previous item).

    £1200

  16. UNAMUNO, Miguel de.

    Teresa. Rimas de un poeta desconocido.

    Madrid, Renacimiento, [1924].

    First edition: a collection of love poems, with a prologue by Rubén Darío.

    £400

  17. URCEO, Antonio [or Codro].

    Hoc Codri volumine haec continentur. Orationes, seu sermones ut ipse appellabat. Epistolae. Silvae....

    Bologna, Giovanni Antonio Benedetti, 7 March 1502.

    First edition of a quintessential piece of Italian humanism, annotated by a sixteenth-century reader particularly interested in the philology of the texts.

    £3000

  18. VIRGIL Maro, Publius, and Giovanni Andrea dell’ANGUILLARA (trans.). 

    Il primo libro della Eneida di Vergilio,...

    Padua, Gratioso Perchacino, 1564. 

    First edition of the first book of Anguillara’s verse translation of the Aeneid, a copy printed on strong paper and inscribed by the author.  The humanist, poet, and successful translator of Ovid Giovanni Andrea dell’Anguillara (1517–1572) undertook to translate into Italian ottava...

    £2500

  19. VOLOSHIN, Maksimilian Aleksandrovich.

    O Repine [On Repin] …

    Moscow, “Ole-Lukoie”, 1913.

    First edition thus: three pieces written earlier in the year and published in journals on the work of Ilya Repin (1844–1930), often regarded as Russia’s national artist. At the end is an extract from a lecture (1885) by Landtsert on the painting ‘Ivan the Terrible and his Son’. Voloshin (1877–1932)...

    £450

  20. [VOLTAIRE.]

    Das Mädchen von Orleans. Ein komisches Heldengedicht in zwölf Gesängen nach Voltaire frei bearbeitet.

    Neustadt, ‘im Verlags-Comptoir’, n. d. [mid nineteenth century].

    A good copy of this very rare German rendition of Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orleans. Fromm gives the date as around 1865 (and the place of publication as Hamburg), the online Staatsbibliothek catalogue (the only copy listed by KVK) as c.1830. The translator remains anonymous.

    £100