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.
CHAGALL, Marc, and Marcel ARLAND.
Maternité. Récit orné de cinq gravures hors texte de Marc Chagall.
Paris, Au Sans Pareil, 1926.
An exceptionally fine hors commerce copy of the first book published with a series of original images by Chagall. His early, fine etchings interpreting ‘La Honte’, ‘La Naissance’, ‘La Rixe’, ‘Couple au lit’ and ‘La Visite par la fenêtre’ transform the artifact: they constitute...
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, highlighting 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...
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,...
[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...
Poliphili hypnerotomachia, ubi humana omnia non nisi somnium esse ostendit, atque obiter plurima scitu sane...
Venice, [heirs of Aldus], 1545.
Second edition, scarcer than the first (also an Aldine, published in 1499), of the most beautiful illustrated book printed in Italy in the fifteenth century. Known for its fine woodcut illustrations, mysterious meanings, and the cryptic inclusion of Colonna’s name, the Hypnerotomachia has...
Buenos Aires, Editorial Sudamericana, 
First edition, with a signed presentation inscription ‘Para Norma y Jean Luc, con la amistad de Julio, 1955’, on the first (blank) page.
[COURTILZ DE SANDRAS, Gatien de.]
Les dames dans leur naturel, ou la galanterie sans façon. Sous le regne du Grand Alcandre.
‘A Cologne’ [but Netherlands], ‘chez Pierre Marteau’ [Elzevier?], 1686.
First edition, uncommon, of this story, ‘found in a cabinet, long after it had been written’ by the French novelist and pamphleteer Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras (1644–1712), nowadays best known for his semi-fictionalised Mémoires de Mr. d’Artagnan, which heavily influenced Dumas’...
[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.
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...
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’.
Berlin Alexanderplatz. Traduit de l’Allemand par Zoya Motchane. Préface de Pierre Mac Orlan.
[Paris], Librairie Gallimard, .
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...
'DON-AMINADO' [pseudonym for Aminad Petrovich SHPOLIANSKII].
Neskuchnyi sad [Bare garden].
Paris, [Imprimerie E.I.R.P.,] 1935.
First edition, no. 38 of 150 copies, of a poetical collection by the émigré poet, satirist and feuilletonist Aminad Shpolyansky. A journalist during the First World War, Shpolyansky emigrated to Paris shortly afterwards. ‘With his poetry and prose … he continued the classical tradition of...
DUMAS, Alexandre, père.
Les Trois Mousquetaires.
Paris, Michel Lévy, 1846.
Rare early edition of The Three Musketeers, first published in 8 volumes in 1844. This is the third edition published in France, although there were several Brussels printings of the novel in the interim. The half-title of the present edition announces ‘Oeuvres complètes d’Alexandre Dumas’, but...
DVIGUBSKII, Ivan Alekseevich.
Opyt estestvennoi istorii vsekh zhivotnykh Rossiiskoi Imperii … S izobrazheniiami zhivotnykh. [Fly-title:]...
Moscow, University Press, 1831
First edition, rare, one of a series of six works on the flora and fauna of the Russian Empire, published 1829-1833 under the same general title. The present volume covers molluscs, including cephalopods and gastropods.
Krai ottsov [Land of the fathers].
Berlin, Parabola, [1934?].
First edition: a collection of poems.
[ERENBBURG, BAL’MONT, BLOK, LERMONTOV, PUSHKIN, TOLSTOY, TURGENEV, et al.]
Izbrannye stikhi russkikh poetov. Seriia sbornikov...
[St Petersburg, Stasiulevich,] 1914.
First edition of a patriotic anthology of poems on the theme of ‘Russia’, organised chronologically from Odoevsky to Kliuev. The theme is religiously adhered to, with contributions from both dead and living authors, including, as well as those listed above, Aksakov, Bely, Soloviev, Fofanov, Sologub,...
[ERENBURG, GUMILEV, MANDELSHTAM, et al, translators].
Poety frantsuzskogo vozrozhdeniia, antologiia [Poets of the French Renaissance,...
Leningrad, Goslitizdat, 1938
First edition of a rare anthology of translations from Villon, Marot, Ronsard, Du Bellay, and others. Two of the Villon translations are attributed in the index to Mandelshtam, but are in fact by Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev (1886-1921), husband of Anna Akhmatova, who had been arrested and executed for...
FAGNANI, Giovanni Marco.
De bello Arriano libri sex.
Milan, heirs of Pacifico da Ponte and Giovanni Battista Piccaglia, 1604.
First and only edition of the sole published work by the Italian nobleman Giovanni Marco Fagnani (1524–1609), an epic poem recounting Ambrose of Milan’s campaign against local Arians in late fourth-century Lombardy.
FEDIN, Konstantin Aleksandrovich.
Sad [The Orchard].
Rare first edition of Konstantin Fedin’s first book, a short story which was awarded first prize by the House of Writers. An old gardener watches sadly as the orchard he cared for and the manor house of the old owners are turned over to a Soviet orphanage and fall into neglect. In the end the gardener...
FEDIN, Konstantin Aleksandrovich.
Goroda i gody. Roman [Cities and years. A novel].
Leningrad, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo, 1924.
First edition of Fedin’s autobiographical first novel, Cities and Years, an intense exploration of war and its aftermath, and the role of the intelligentsia in the inevitable revolution looming over society. The cities of the title are Berlin and Moscow, and the years those of the First World War and...