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. BARETTI, Giuseppe.

    An Introduction to the Italian Language. Containing Specimens of both Prose and Verse ... with a literal Translation...

    London, Printed for A. Millar, in the Strand, 1755.

    First edition. Giuseppe Baretti (1719–1789) offers a fine range of examples for learning Italian selected from twenty-seven authors, including Castiglione, Machiavelli, Galileo, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Tasso, Michelangelo, Petrarch, and Milton (one of his Italian sonnets, a choice perhaps prompted...

    £650

  2. BARTOLI, Adolfo.

    Scenari inediti della Commedia dell’arte. Contributo alla storia del teatro popolare italiano.

    Florence, Sansoni, 1880.

    Rare first edition, one of only 350 copies, of a foundational source for the study of Commedia dell’Arte. The exceptionally well-loved and widely-performed form of drama is the subject of the author’s pioneering study: he examines tropes, characters, plots, structures and lines of ‘scenarios’...

    £500

  3. [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

  4. 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 six banned poems from the Fleurs du mal – their first appearance since the suppressed 1857 first edition – and seventeen new poems which had previously appeared in journals and...

    £4500

  5. BAUDELAIRE, Charles.

    Les Fleurs du mal [from Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 June 1855].

    [Paris, Revue des Deux Mondes, 1855.]

    First appearance in print of any of the poems from the celebrated but suppressed collection Les Fleurs du mal, extracted from the Revue des Deux Mondes. The eighteen poems here, including ‘Au Lecteur’, ‘La Volupté’, ‘Voyage à Cythère’, ‘L’Invitation au Voyage’,...

    £950

  6. BEAUHARNOIS, Félicité (pseudonym?).

    Zoraïm, ou les aventures d’un musulman; traduit de l’Anglois, par la c. Félicité Beauharnois,...

    Paris, chez la cit. Dhotel, libraire, an VIIme [1799].

    Very rare (only one copy traced) cautionary tale against ambition and vengeance, set in the Ottoman world, and penned during the French Revolution.

    £750

  7. BECQUE, Henry.

    Les Corbeaux, pièce en quatre actes.

    Paris, Tresse, [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 thirty-three pages in the second edition showing changes made for performance.

    £2000

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. [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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. [BERINGTON, Simon, adapted by Jean-Baptiste DUPUY-DEMPORTES.]

    Memoires de Gaudence de Luques, prisonnier de l’Inquisition...

    Amsterdam and Leipzig, Arkstée & Merkus, 1754.

    Second edition of this much expanded and altered translation of Berington’s celebrated utopian novel, Memoirs of Sigr Gaudentio di Lucca (1737). The Memoirs enjoyed immense popularity, undergoing at least twelve eighteenth-century editions in English and contemporary translations...

    £650

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. [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