Foreign Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Joanna Skeels

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, 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).


  2. 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...


  3. 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...


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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).


  8. 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’.


  9. SILONE, Ignazio.

    Fontamara, Roman.

    Zurich, Oprecht, 1933.

    The true first edition of Fontamara, Silone’s first book, published in German translation in Switzerland where Silone was in exile until 1945. The novel enjoyed remarkable popularity abroad, while being totally ignored in Italy. The Italian original was first published in Paris five months later by...


  10. SILONE, Ignazio.

    Brot und Wein, Roman.

    Zurich, Oprecht, 1936.

    First edition of Silone’s Pane e vino, published in German translation in Switzerland where Silone was in exile. The first edition in Italian was published in Switzerland in 1937 (see next item), and the first edition printed in Italy in 1955.


  11. 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.


  12. SOKOLOV, Ippolit Vasilevich, et al.


    [Moscow, 1921.]

    First edition: four short poems from the leading Soviet film critic Ippolit Sokolov, together with lyric pieces by two minor writers, Boris Pereleshin and Aleksandr Rakitnikov.


  13. 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’.


  14. 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...


  15. 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...


  16. 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...


  17. SOLZHENITSYN, Aleksandr Isaevich.

    Amerikanskiie rechi [American speeches].

    Paris, YMCA, 1975

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


  18. [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 19th century, written in the form of an aristocratic young Englishman’s diary.



    Prontuario de ortografía de la lengua castellana dispuesto de Real Órden para el uso de las escuelas...

    Madrid, Imprenta Nacional, 1844.

    Rare first edition of the first official orthography for Spanish. Earlier attempts at standardising Spanish orthography had met with failure. Even the Real Academia Española (founded 1713) for years could only advise on spelling. It was not until the publication of the present work, now with full royal...


  20. STORM, Theodor.

    Waldwinkel. Pole Poppenspäler. Novellen …

    Brunswick, George Westermann, 1875.

    First edition in book form. Nearly all Storm’s novellas from the mid-1860s onwards were first published in monthly and quarterly magazines before appearing in book form. Both stories included here first came out in 1874, Waldwinkel in the exclusive Deutsche Rundschau, Pole Poppenspäler in the new...