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.
[Italy, probably Emilia, seventeenth century.]
Unpublished seventeenth-century Italian poem in sixteen cantos in ottava rima. Sebastiano Chiesa’s Capitolo fratesco, or dei frati according to other sources, was apparently entrusted by the dying author to a friend, and enjoyed wide circulation and acclaim in manuscript...
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...
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.
DEGUERLE, Jean Nicolas Marie.
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).
Le malheur et la pitié, poëme en quatre chants.
London, A. Dulau & Co. and Prosper & Co., 1803.
First London edition. First published in Paris the previous year under the title La pitié; also published in octavo format in both London and Paris in 1803. According to Brunet, the London editions contain several passages relating to the French Revolution and to the king which appeared in only...
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...
ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.
[Gomel], “Veka i Dni”, 1919.
First edition. Although primarily known in the West as a prose writer and journalist (his novel Ottepel’ (The Thaw, 1954) coined the term for the era in the post-Stalin period), Ehrenburg (1891–1967) in fact wrote poetry all his life. The title for this collection, published in the south-eastern...
ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.
[Gomel], “Veka i Dni”, 1919.
First edition of this collection of poems. With a long signed presentation inscription in Russian on title-page to the actress Varvara Alekseeva-Meskhieva (b. 1898) in pencil, covering the title-page: ‘To dear Varvara Vladimirovna Alekseeva-Meskhieva, from the heart, Ehrenburg. On the eve of departure...