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. 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....


  2. 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Brodsky’s poems, prepared in typescript for clandestine circulation in the Soviet Union at a time when his works could not be published or circulated there.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...


  3. 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...


  4. 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...


  5. 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...


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. [CANAPE and CORRIEZ]. RÉGNIER, Henri de.

    La Sandale Ailée.

    Paris, Société des amis des livres modernes, 1914.

    Limited edition, Comte Foy’s copy, number 35 of 125 copies produced for the members of the Société of this compendium of free verse by the Mallarmé-circle symbolist poet Henri de Régnier, attractively illustrated with reproductions of watercolours by noted French artist Antoine Calbet.


  9. ČAPEK, Karel.

    Loupežník. Komedie o třech dejstvích.

    Prague, Aventinum, 1920.

    First edition, rare, of Čapek’s first comedy, The Robber (or The Outlaw). The play was produced at the National Theatre in Prague in March 1920 starring the actress Olga Scheinpflugová (who later became Čapek’s wife) in the central role. An earlier version of the play, a combined...


  10. ČAPEK, Karel.

    Věc Makropulos. Komedie o třech dějstvích s přeměnou.

    Prague, Aventinum, 1922.

    First edition of Čapek’s satirical drama on the theme of longevity, the source for Janáček’s opera, The Makropulos Case. The composer had seen the play early into its run in December 1922, and soon began a correspondence with Čapek over the possibility of using it as the basis for an opera....


  11. 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...


  12. [CARDUCCI, Giosuè, Emilio TEZA, and Francesco BONATELLI.]

    Per le nozze di Giambattista Gandino con Olimpia Orsi. Marzo MDCCCLXIV.

    [Bologna, Tipi Fava e Garagnani al Progresso], 1864.

    A rare collection of three poems presented to Carducci’s close friend Giambattista Gandino, a teacher at the University of Bologna, on the occasion of his marriage. Carducci contributes the long poem ‘Idillio. Coro di giovani – Coro di fanciulle’ which appears here for the first time, and was...


  13. 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’,...


  14. 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...


  15. 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.


  16. CELAN, Paul (translator). ESENIN, Sergei.

    Sergej Jessenin. Gedichte. Ausgewählt und übertragen von Paul Celan.

    [Frankfurt], S. Fischer, 1961.

    First edition of these poems by Esenin, selected and translated by Celan.


  17. [CELAN, Paul (translator).] UNGARETTI, Giuseppe.

    Das verheissene Land. Das Merkbuch des Alten. Deutsch von Paul Celan.

    [Frankfurt am Main], Insel Verlag, [1968].

    First edition: Celan’s translation of Ungaretti’s collections, La terra promessa (1950) and Il taccuino del vecchio (1960).


  18. CELAN, Paul, translator. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Die Zwölf.

    [Frankfurt,] S. Fischer, 1958.

    First edition of this version of Blok’s The Twelve, translated and with a short introductory note by Celan. ‘Blok got the revolution’s brutal wind and wild music into this poem about a Red Guard marauding in Petrograd’s snowy streets to purge the old bourgeois world. In his translation,...


  19. [CELAN, Paul, translator]. CHAR, René.

    Poésies. Dichtungen [– II].

    [Frankfurt,] S. Fischer, 1959–68.

    First edition of Celan’s translations of poems by René Char, with a preface by Albert Camus. Celan’s translations, Hypnos. Aufzeichnungen aus dem Maquis (‘Feuillets d’Hypnos’) and Einer harschen Heiterkeit (‘A une sérénité crispée’), appear in the first volume. Other translators who...


  20. 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...