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. 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

  2. CASTI, Giovanni Battista.

    ‘Il novelliere Italiano versificato ossia le piacevoli e curiose novelle in ottava rima del celebre...

    ‘Vienna, 1788’.

    A handsome manuscript compendium of a selection of the witty Novelle galanti of the Italian poet and satirist Casti, apparently compiled at Vienna two years before the first partial edition was printed at Rome in 1790. An interesting witness to the Novelle’s circulation in manuscript...

    £750

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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...

    £2000

  7. 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, 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...

    £450

  8. 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

  9. [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

  10. [COLONNA, Francesco.]

    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...

    £24000

  11. 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

  12. [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’...

    £685

  13. [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

  14. DEGUERLE, Jean Nicolas Marie.

    Les amours.

    Paris, Maison and Pigoreau, An V [1797-8].

    An apparently unrecorded collection of verses inspired by the Augustan poets by the French poet, translator, and educator Jean Nicolas Marie Deguerle (1766 – 1824).

    £385

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. '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...

    £150

  19. 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...

    £950

  20. 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.

    £2000