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. [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.

    £300

  2. [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.

    £200

  3. BOLAÑO, Roberto.

    2666.

    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...

    £500

  4. [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...

    £250

  5. 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).

    £400

  6. 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,...

    £120

  7. BRIUSOV, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Mig. Stikhi 1920–1921 g. [The Instant. Verses of 1920–1921].

    Berlin and St Petersburg, Z. I. Grzhebin, 1922.

    First edition. The post-Revolutionary period, spanning the years shortly before his death in 1924, was one of intense poetic activity for Bryusov. Of the work from this period, ‘several poems are devoted to recent history and current events – to the Revolution, the famine years, the death of Lenin....

    £200

  8. BRODSKII, Iosif Aleksandrovich.

    Novye stansy k Avguste. Stikhi k M. B., 1962-1982 [New stanzas to Augusta. Poems to M. B., 1962-1982]....

    [Soviet Union, c. 1983].

    A rare samizdat of Brodsky’s poems, prepared in typescript for clandestine circulation in the Soviet Union at a time when his works could not be published or circulated there. The typescript comprises two collections: New stanzas to Augusta, dedicated to Marina Basmanova, with whom Brodsky had...

    £3500

  9. BULGAKOV, Mikhail Afanas’evich.

    Dni Turbinykh. Posledenie dni (A. S. Pushkin) [The Days of the Turbins. The Last Days (A. S....

    Moscow, “Iskusstvo”, 1955.

    First complete edition. The Days of the Turbins was Bulgakov’s most important play, and the one on which his lasting reputation as a dramatist depends. It took as its basis his novel The White Guard (written 1921-3), which itself derived from an earlier (destroyed) play ‘The Turbin...

    £1500

  10. BULYGIN, Pavel Petrovich.

    Iantari. Stikhotvoreniia [Ambers. Poems.]

    Riga, M. Didkovska, [1937].

    First and only edition of a posthumous collection by the émigré poet Pavel Petrovich Bulygin (1896-1936). Bulygin left Russia after the Revolution, living at first in France and Germany, where he published a volume of Poems influenced by Blok in 1922. In 1924 he became military instructor to the Ethiopian...

    £300

  11. BUTURLIN, Count Petr Dmitrievich.

    Sonety. Posmertnoe izdanie [Sonnets. Posthumous edition].

    [Kiev, Frontskevich,] 1895.

    First edition: fifty-seven sonnets by the diplomat and poet Count Pyotr Buturlin (1859-1895). This is a gentle and lyrical collection, in a form for which Buturlin was particularly known, and draws on the ancient world and Pan-Slavic mythology for inspiration, as well as his own broad European experience.

    £1200

  12. CABRERA INFANTE, Guillermo.

    Tres tristes tigres.

    Barcelona, Seix Barral, 1967.

    First edition of Cabrera Infante’s first major novel: a key work in the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s and a landmark in Cuban literature.

    £750

  13. ČAPEK, Karel.

    Meteor … Translated by M. and R. Weatherall.

    London, George Allen & Unwin, [1935].

    First edition in English of Povětroň [Meteor] (1934), with a signed presentation inscription from Čapek to Václav Palivec on half-title, dated 1936. In 1935, Palivec, the brother of Čapek’s sister’s husband, gave Čapek and his new wife as a wedding present the use of a house in...

    £1500

  14. CARPENTIER, Alejo.

    El Reino de este mundo (relato).

    Lima, Talleres Gráficos Torres Aguirres, [1959].

    Carpentier’s second novel, re-published on the occasion of the ‘1er Festival del Libro Cubano’ in 1959. First published in Mexico in 1949, the novel treats slave uprisings in 18th century Haiti. The original introduction (reprinted here) contains the first mention of the concept of ‘magic realism’,...

    £100

  15. CASANOVA, Giacomo.

    Kazanova. Memuary [Casanova. Memoirs] …

    St Petersburg, V. I. Gubinsky, 1887.

    Very rare first edition in Russian of Casanova’s famous Histoire de ma vie, published as part of Vladimir Chuiko’s series ‘European Writers and Thinkers’. The anonymous translation, made presumably from the German version published in the 1820s, or the French back-translation which followed...

    £1750

  16. CELAN, Paul.

    Von Schwelle zu Schwelle. Gedichte.

    Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, [1955].

    First edition of Celan’s second collection of poems. Dedicated to his wife Gisèle, it is Celan’s first book to arise wholly from Paris.

    £400

  17. CERNUDA, Luis.

    Las Nubes (1937-1938).

    Buenos Aires, Colección Rama de Oro, 1943.

    First edition: a collection of poems written during Cernuda's stay in England, focusing on the tragic destiny of the Spaniard. The poems carry a sense of heightened dislocation and despair, and the use of dramatic monologue is prevalent as Cernuda begins to adopt religious themes in the face of the ravages...

    £1000

  18. CHACHIKOV, Aleksandr Mikhailovich.

    Chai-Khane.

    Moscow, Moscow Guild of Poets, 1927.

    First edition of a collection which highlights the poet’s interest in the Caucasus and other (non-Russian) parts of the Soviet Union, often employing foreign words in the poems. A short vocabulary is appended. Chachikov produced a number of volumes of verse, including translations from Georgian.

    £100

  19. CHTETS-DEKLAMATOR.

    Chtets-deklamator. Khudozhestvennyi sbornik stikhotvorenii razskazov i monologov dlia chteniia v divertismentakh,...

    [Kiev, I. I. Samonenko, 1906.]

    Ivan and Fyodor Samonenko’s hugely popular series (there were at least 12 editions before the Revolution) highlights Russia’s passion for performance at the time. The first volume, containing lyric poetry and humorous verse, had appeared in 1902. A second volume, in 1905, of which this is the second...

    £450

  20. CHUDINOV, Aleksandr.

    Poema i izbrannye romansy o Side v perevodakh russkikh pisatelei. Ispanskii narodnyi epos … Izdanie I. Glazunova....

    St Petersburg, Glazunov, 1897.

    First edition of a prose translation into Russian of Cantar de mio Cid, preceded only by a ‘short retelling’ of 1864 by Fyodor Buslaev. The present translation is by the writer and folklorist Aleksandr Chudinov, and is followed by verse translations of three related romances on the reigns of Fernando,...

    £1250