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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. [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

  6. [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

  7. 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

  8. [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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. BÜCHNER, Georg.

    Nachgelassene Schriften.

    Frankfurt am Main, J. D. Sauerländer’s Verlag, 1850.

    First edition of Büchner’s posthumous papers, published by his younger brother Ludwig with a long biographical introduction. It contains the first appearance in book form of the comedy Leonce und Lena and the novella Lenz, and of letters to Büchner’s family and to his fiancée Minna...

    £1350

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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