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. 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.


  2. 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...


  3. 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,...


  4. BERTOLUCCI, Attilio.


    Parma, Alessandro Minardi, 1929.

    Very rare first edition of Bertolucci’s first collection of poetry, a volume of 27 poems set in his native region of Parma, published when he was just 18 in an edition of only 200 copies (ours is no. 64).


  5. BIZET, Georges.

    L’Arlésienne. Drame en 3 Actes de Alphonse Daudet. Partition, Chant & Piano.

    Paris, Choudens, [1872].

    First edition, earliest issue (with the incorrect time signature to no. 5), of the first appearance in print of Bizet’s incidental music for Daudet’s tragedy L’Arlésienne, composed in 1872 to a commission from Léon Carvalho. It was first performed at the Théâtre du Vaudeville on 1 October...


  6. [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...


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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.


  10. 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.


  11. 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.


  12. [BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.] ASHUKIN, Nikolai Sergeevich.

    Aleksandr Blok. Sinkhronisticheskie tablitsy zhizni i tvorchestva...

    Moscow, “Novaia Moskva”, 1923.

    First edition: a chronology of Blok’s life and a bibliography of his works, together with a list of secondary literature.


  13. [BLOK, KUZMIN, Aleksei TOLSTOI, et al.]

    Al’manakh dlia vsekh. Kniga vtoraia [Almanac for all. Second book].

    St Petersburg, “Novyi zhurnal dlia vsekh”, 1911.

    First edition, rare, the second of two annual literary almanacs with this title, with poems by Blok, Gorodetsky and Kuzmin, and short fiction by Chulkov, Gusev, Count Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoy and Ivan Poroshin.


  14. BOLAÑO, Roberto.


    Barcelona, Editorial Anagrama, [2004].

    First edition of the Chilean writer’s last novel, the major preoccupation of the last five years of his life. 2666, a cryptic, stylistically rich and violent tale centred around murders of young women in Cuidad Juarez (Santa Teresa in the novel), was published a year after Bolaño’s death...


  15. [BOUCHER, Jean].

    Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus,...

    [Paris?], 1595.

    First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against...


  16. BOWRING, Sir John.

    Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain …

    London, for Taylor and Hessey, 1824.

    First edition. Bowring had long had a soft spot for Spain (‘I love Spain as a country, and Spaniards as a people. In other lands I single out special objects for my regard … in Spain, my affections pervade and cling to the whole population’, London Magazine, 1823, quoted in Hitchcock)....


  17. BOWRING, Sir John.

    Wybōr poezyi polskiéy. Specimens of the Polish Poets; with Notes and Observations on the Literature of Poland …

    London, printed for the author, and sold by Baldwin, Cradock & Joy and Rowland Hunter, 1827.

    First edition: the first collection of Polish poetry in English. ‘John Bowring was a true friend of the Poles and became an ardent spokesman of the Polish cause in Britain; his Specimens of the Polish Poets (London 1827), the first Polish anthology in English, bear evidence of the important...


  18. BOWRING, Sir John.

    Poetry of the Magyars, preceded by a Sketch of the Language and Literature of Hungary and Transylvania …

    London, printed for the author, and sold by Robert Heward, and Rowland Hunter, and Otto Wigand in Pest, 1830

    First edition: the first appearance of Hungarian literature in English, ‘the first world-wide presentation of the hitherto unknown poetry and literature of an almost unknown people, written in an unknown language’ (Varannai, p. 105). It was for a long time the only Western source for Hungarian poetry.


  19. BRANDT, Johann Daniel und Georg Karl.

    Opfer de Lieb’ und Freundschaft. Dargebracht dem Konigl. Preuss. Kriegsrath Herrn herrn...

    Berlin, Wilhelm Dieterici, [1790].

    A luxurious and unusual production, both printed and bound in silk, a commemorative poem commissioned as a special birthday gift by King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia for his military adviser Friedrich Moritz Helmbrecht (1744-97).


  20. BRIUSOV, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Kratkii kurs nauki o stikhe ... Chast’ pervaia. Chastnaia metrika i ritmika russkago iazyka [A...

    Moscow, “Al’tsiona”, 1919.

    Very rare first edition, the only chapter to be published of Briusov’s ‘short course in the study of poetry’. ‘Bryusov’s contributions to Russian literature were many and profound in his roles as poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, literary historian, translator, polemicist, organizer,...