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. BAUDELAIRE, Charles.

    Les Epaves… avec un eau-forte frontispiece de Félicien Rops.

    Amsterdam, A L’Enseigne du Coq [Brussels, Poulet-Malassis], 1866.

    Rare first edition of Baudelaire’s last book, a collection of poems published in Brussels, containing the 6 banned poems from Fleurs du mal - their first appearance since the 1857 first edition - and 17 new poems which had previously appeared in journals and reviews.

    £6000

  2. [BAUDELAIRE, Charles.]

    Hommage à C. F. Denecourt. Fontainebleau. Paysages – Légendes – Souvenirs – Fantaisies.

    Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette & Co., 1855.

    First edition of this anthology compiled by Fernand Desnoyers and Auguste Luchet, published in honour of the self-appointed keeper of the forest of Fontainebleau, Claude-François Denecourt. It includes texts by Asselineau, Banville, Baudelaire, Béranger, Brizeux, Champfleury, Dupont, Gautier, Hugo,...

    £750

  3. BECQUE, Henry.

    Les Corbeaux, pièce en quatre actes. Paris, Tresse, [1882.]
    [Bound with:]
    ____________. Les Corbeaux …...

    [Paris, 1882.]

    First and second editions of Becque’s innovative realist drama, inscribed by the author on the first half-title to ‘mon cher [Jules-Charles] Truffier’, with authorial marks and annotations on 33 pages in the second edition showing changes made for performance.

    £3000

  4. BELISHEVA, S. P., translator.

    ‘An die Fantasie, aus dem russischen.’ Manuscript on paper of an apparently unrecorded poem in...

    Germany, c. 1830

    A contemporary manuscript of an early 19th century Russian poem, translated into German, and signed by the, possibly pseudonymous, translator ‘Fräulein S. P. Belischef’. We have been unable to identify the original poem, in praise of poetic imagination and the heights it can attain, from which the...

    £1750

  5. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Korolevna i rytsari. Skazki [The king’s daughter and the knights. Fairy tales].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1919.

    First edition. The majority of this collection of poems was written between 1909 and 1915, and can be seen, according to Bely, as ‘a transition from the gloomy despair of The Urn [1909] to the consciousness of The Star [not published until 1922]; awakening from the unconsciousness of...

    £550

  6. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

    Berlin, “Epokha”, 1922.

    First edition of these poems, written between 1904 and 1918.

    £300

  7. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Posle razluki. Berlinskii pesennik [After the parting. A Berlin book of songs].

    St Petersburg & Berlin, “Epokha”, [1922].

    First edition. Published the same year as Glossalolia, Bely’s ‘theory of the origin of the universe based on sound’, this collection is another illustration of the poet’s continued acoustic interests.

    £350

  8. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Tragediia tvorchestva. Dostoevskii i Tolstoi [The Tragedy of Creation. Dostoevsky...

    [Moscow,] “Musaget”, [1911].

    First edition of Bely’s important essay on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Tolstoy’s death at Astapovo station in November 1910 brought Bely to a new appreciation of the author’s genius. Yet along with it came a conviction of the irrelevance of ‘form’ to art and that even Tolstoy’s ‘revolutionary...

    £750

  9. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev].

    Zapiski chudaka. Tom pervyi [– vtoroi] [Notes of an eccentric. Vol. 1 – 2].

    Moscow and Berlin, “Helikon”, 1922.

    First edition of Bely’s Notes of an eccentric, a thinly veiled autobiographical memoir or ‘diary in story form’. The book describes a journey which Bely himself undertook in 1916, from Dornach in Switzerland, through France, England, Norway and Sweden, to Russia, where the narrator has been...

    £550

  10. [BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev], et al].

    Kak my pishem [How we write].

    Leningrad, Izdatel’stvo pisatelei, [1930].

    First edition: sketches on the art of writing, published as an aid to young writers, with contributions from Bely, Gorky, Zamyatin, Zoshchenko, Kaverin, Lavrenev, Libedinsky, Nikitin, Pilnyak, Slonimsky, Tikhonov, Aleksei Tolstoy, Tynyanov, Fedin, Olga Forsh, Chapygin, Shishkov, and Shklovsky.

    £450

  11. BERGAMÍN, José.

    El Arte de birlibirloque (Entendimiento del toreo).

    [Madrid], Editorial Plutarco, 1930.

    First edition, no. 393 of an unspecified limited printing on thick paper. A collection of aphorisms on the subject of bull fighting, by one of the best Spanish essayists of the twentieth century.

    £350

  12. BERGAMÍN, José.

    Mangas y capirotes. (España en su laberinto teatral del XVII).

    [Madrid], Editorial Plutarco, 1933.

    First edition, a collection of essays on 17th-century Spain, centred on Lope de Vega.

    £350

  13. BERLIOZ, Hector.

    Mémoires . . . comprenant ses voyages en Italie, en Allemagne, en Russie et en Angleterre 1803–1865. Avec un...

    Paris, Michel Lévy, 1870.

    First edition, a fine copy in entirely original condition in the original wrappers. Berlioz’s colourful autobiography reads like a work of literature and remains the principle source for his life. This posthumous first edition of the Mémoires was preceded by excerpts which were serialised in Le Monde...

    £2750

  14. BERRYAT, Jean, et al., editors.

    Receuil de Mémoires, ou Collection de Pièces Académiques, concernant la Médicine, l’Anatomie...

    Dijon, Auxerre, Paris and Liège, F. Desventes, F. Fournier, et al., 1754-86.

    The scarce first collected edition of these scientific papers from all over Europe (lacking only the last five volumes of the Partie Française), including among its contributors such famous names as Huygens, Leeuwenhoek, Hevelius, De La Hire, Mariotte, Réaumur, La Condamine, Haller, Maupertuis, Boyle,...

    £6000

  15. [BLIXEN, Karen.] DINESEN, Isak, (pseud).

    Babettes Gaestebud.

    Copenhagen, Forlaget Fremad, [1952].

    First edition in book form of Babette’s Feast. It had previously been published in English in the Ladies Home Journal in 1950, and was translated by the author into her native Danish for the present edition. In 1987 the Danish film director Gabriel Axel directed an Oscar-winning film...

    £950

  16. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

    [St Petersburg], “Otechestvo”, 1915.

    First edition of a rare volume of poems, collected and published as a separate book by the patriotic journal Otechestvo.

    £400

  17. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    O liubvi, poezii i gosudarstvennoi sluzhbe. Dialog [On love, poetry and civil service: a dialogue].

    Berlin, “Skify”, [1920].

    First edition: a comic one-act dialogue variously between a Poet in love, a Fool, and a Courtier, written towards the end of Blok’s life.

    £250

  18. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    O sovremennom sostoianii russkogo simvolizma [On the current state of Russian symbolism].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1921.

    First edition, a lecture read by Blok in April 1910 before the Society of Zealots of the Artistic Word, a discussion group formed by Gumilev, Blok and others in 1909.

    £150

  19. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Vozmezdie [Retribution].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1922.

    First edition of Blok’s verse epic, on which he worked from 1910 until his death in 1921. Fragments were published during his lifetime, but the poem did not appear in its entirety until this posthumous edition.

    £350

  20. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Teatr. Balaganchik – Korol’ na ploshchadi – Neznakomka – Deistvo o Teofile – Roza i krest...

    Berlin, “Slovo”, 1922.

    A reprint of these plays, first published together in one volume in 1916.

    £100