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. 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

  2. [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...

    £350

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

    £200

  7. [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).

    £200

  8. 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,...

    £150

  9. [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...

    £150

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. [COLETTE, Sidonie-Gabrielle - WILLY [i.e. Henri Gauthier-Villars]]. KELLER, Fernand, and André LAUTIER.

    Colette (Colette Willy),...

    Paris, Éditions de La Nouvelle Revue Critique, 1923.

    First edition of this critical work on Colette, with Willy’s manuscript annotations throughout. The copy was subsequently in the possession of Willy’s friend Pierre Varenne, who has added a pencilled note to the blank endleaf: ‘Annotations manuscrites de Willy. P.V.’, and a ms. postcard to Varenne...

    £900

  15. CORTÁZAR, Julio.

    Bestiario.

    Buenos Aires, Editorial Sudamericana, [1951]

    First edition, with a signed presentation inscription ‘Para Norma y Jean Luc, con la amistad de Julio, 1955’, on the first (blank) page.

    £1500

  16. [DANIEL, Iulii Markovich] ARZHAK, Nikolai, pseud.

    Govorit Moskva. Povest’ [This is Moscow Speaking. A Story].

    Washington, Filipoff, 1962.

    First edition, printed in Germany, of one of the books which led directly to Daniel’s arrest and trial in 1966.

    £150

  17. D'ANNUNZIO, Gabriele.

    La Figlia di Iorio. Tragedia pastorale.

    Milan, Treves, 1904.

    First edition of this verse drama, widely considered to be D’Annunzio’s finest work for the theatre. A drama of peasant life, it is based on an experience D'Annunzio and his painter friend, Michetti, had had years before in the small Abruzzi village of Tocco Casauria. In the piazza they witnessed...

    £250

  18. DESENFANS, Noel Joseph.

    Les deux Hermites, dédié a mylord Lyttelton …

    A Londres; chez R. Davis … J Ridley … W Owen … 1773.

    First and only edition, uncommon, of an epistolary novel by the future art dealer Noel Joseph Desenfans. The scene is Paris in the 1680s, the theme is Enlightenment, and the author’s aim was to inspire ‘l’horreur de l’oppression, sentiment nécessaire à l’harmonie de la Société, & vertu...

    £650

  19. DEVOTO, Daniel.

    Libro de las fabulas. Ilustraciones de Atilio del Soldato.

    [Buenos Aires], Gulab y Aldabahor, 1943.

    First edition of this collection of Devoto’s poems, in the copy printed especially for him. This is one of five copies printed on Whatman paper, of a total edition of 555: ‘Ejemplar II, Especialmente impreso para Daniel Devoto’.

    £400

  20. DÖBLIN, Alfred.

    Berlin Alexanderplatz. Traduit de l’Allemand par Zoya Motchane. Préface de Pierre Mac Orlan.

    [Paris], Librairie Gallimard, [1933].

    With a punning signed presentation inscription to front endleaf, perhaps addressed to a female fellow-drinker in Paris: ‘Hommage respectueux à Mlle Bouvoirde! Alfred Döblin, Paris, 23.XII.36’. If this is a word-play on ‘bavarde’ (she who talks too much) and ‘buveuse’ (she who drinks too...

    £750