Foreign Literature

Contact Donovan Rees

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. JABÈS, Edmond.

    Trois filles de mon quartier.

    [Paris], G. L. M., [1948].

    First edition: one of 340 numbered copies, of which this is one of 15 on vélin du Marais.


  2. JABÈS, Edmond.

    La clef de voûte.

    [Paris], G.L.M., [1950].

    First edition: one of 400 numbered copies, of which this is one of 20 on vélin du Marais.


  3. JABÈS, Edmond.


    [Paris], Gallimard, [1967].

    First edition, one of 30 numbered copies on vélin pur fil.


  4. JABÈS, Edmond.

    [Paris], Gallimard, [1972].

    First edition, one of the issue of ordinary paper.


  5. JABÈS, Edmond.

    Les Pieds en l’Air. Poèmes précedés d’une lettre de Max Jacob. Couverture et dessins de Mayo.

    Cairo – Alexandria, “La Semaine Égyptienne”, [1934].

    First edition. One of 200 unnumbered copies on papier bouffant, part of a total edition of 373 copies. ‘… The Cairo/Alexandria journal La Semaine Égyptienne became Jabès’s publisher with Maman in 1932 and Les Pieds en l’air and Arches poétiques in 1934 and...


  6. JAYADEVA, and Friedrich MAJER (translator).

    Gita-Govinda, ein Indisches Singspiel ... aus der Ursprache ins Englische...

    Weimar, Landes-Industrie-Comptoir, 1802.

    First and only separate edition of this uncommon German translation of Gita Govinda, a ‘devoutly erotic poem of the twelfth-century Bengali poet Jayadeva’ (ODNB).


  7. JIMÉNEZ, Juan Ramón.

    Pastorales. La tristeza del campo – El valle – La estrella del pastor – 1905.

    Madrid, Biblioteca Renacimiento, 1911.

    First edition: a collection of poems from Jiménez’s first period.


  8. JUSSIEU, Laurent Pierre de.

    Antoine et Maurice. Ouvrage qui a obtenu le prix proposé par la Société Royale pour l’amélioration...

    Paris, L. Colas, 1821.

    First edition, rare, of this unsurprisingly moralising novel by the writer, geologist, and natural historian Laurent Pierre de Jussieu (1792-1866), written in response to a competition held by the Royal Society of the Improvement of Prisons to find the best book to circulate amongst inmates.


  9. [JUVENILIA.] 

    Racconti per gli adolescenti.  Con tavole miniate. 

    Trieste, ‘Sezione Letterario-Artistica del Lloyd Austriaco’, 1857. 

    First and only edition, extremely rare, of these cautionary tales for adolescents, featuring inter alia debates among children on the ethics of taxidermy, a brawl in Latin lessons, arrests for embezzlement, and the unjust incarceration of a schoolboy. 


  10. KAFKA, Franz.

    Ein Landarzt and Der Mord [in Die Neue Dichtung. Ein Almanach].

    Leipzig, Kurt Wolff, 1918.

    First edition, containing the first appearance in print of Kafka’s Ein Landarzt and Der Mord (later Ein Brudermord), both of which were published in the collection Ein Landarzt the following year, with significant textual differences. This important expressionist anthology also includes contributions...


  11. KAFKA, Franz.

    In der Strafkolonie.

    Leipzig, Kurt Wolff, 1919.

    First edition, one of 1000 copies printed, of Kafka’s story In the Penal Colony.


  12. KAFKA, Franz.

    Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Posthumous Prose Writings.

    London, Secker and Warburg, 1954.

    First edition in English. Translated by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, with notes by Max Brod. ‘Although Kafka’s almost unceasing guilt and anxieties seem to mark him as a man of pestilential morbidity and gloom, it is not the important effect he has on us. He has a kind of cunning. His plain and...


  13. KAFKA, Franz.

    Frants Kafka: roman, novelly, pritchi [Franz Kafka: a novel [The Trial], novellas, parables].

    Moscow, “Progress”, 1965.

    First edition in Russian of Der Prozess, part of the ‘recent unprecendented publication’ (Struc) of Kafka in Russian. Also published here are a number of short stories, some of which had previously appeared in Ukrainian and Russian in Soviet periodicals. The translators include R. Rait-Kovaleva,...


  14. KAMENSKII, Vasilii Vasilievich.

    Emel’ian Pugachev, poema. Graviury na dereve N. P. Dmitrevskogo [Emelyan Pugachev, a poem. Wood...

    [Leningrad], “Molodaia Gvardiia”, 1931.

    First edition of Kamensky’s long narrative poem, preceded by a play on the same subject in 1925. The Don Cossack Emelyan Pugachev claimed to be Catherine the Great’s husband, Peter III, assassinated in 1762, and led a peasant revolt in 1773-4. Pugachev was a favourite Bolshevik theme, and the present...


  15. KAPITSA, Olga and Yuri VASNETSOV.

    Зайка [Little Hare] .

    Leningrad, Detizdat Ts K VLKSM, 1936.

    First edition of this collection of eleven traditional folk tales and songs about the hare and his encounters with huntsmen, foxes and other animals, charmingly written by Olga Kapitsa and illustrated by Yuri Vasnetsov, one of Russia’s leading artists of children’s books.
    Worldcat finds two...


  16. KARAMZIN, Nikolai Mikhailovich.

    Aglaja. Romantische und historische Erzählungen. Nach dem Russischen des Karamzin herausgegeben...

    Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1819.

    First appearance of a collection of eight prose pieces by Karamzin (1766–1826) in German translation. Although the work takes the title of the first Russian literary almanac, Aglaia, published by Karamzin in two volumes, 1794–5, it is actually a selection of pieces by Karamzin taken both from Aglaia...


  17. KHARMS, Daniil Ivanovich, translator. BUSCH, Wilhelm.

    Plikh i Pliukh [Plisch und Plum].

    Moscow, Detizdat, 1937.

    First edition in book form, very rare, of Daniil Kharms’s Russian free verse translation of the children’s story by Wilhelm Busch about two mischievous dogs, second only in fame to his Max und Moritz. The translation had been first published in the children’s magazine Chizh in 1936 (nos. 8-12),...


  18. KLIUEV, Nikolai Alekseevich.

    Izbianyia pesni [Izba Songs].

    Berlin, “Skify”, [1920].

    First edition. Nikolai Klyuev (1887–1937) was the leader of the so-called peasant poets, and Esenin’s erstwhile friend and mentor. This collection suitably takes its name from the izba, the traditional Russian peasant’s hut.


  19. KLIUEV, Nikolai Alekseevich.

    Chetvertyi Rim [The Fourth Rome].

    St Petersburg, “Epokha”, 1922.

    First edition of Klyuev’s attack on Esenin. ‘Esenin recognized Klyuev as his “teacher”, but Klyuev rejected Esenin’s later “hooligan” manner, and the strained (and possibly homosexual) relations of the two men ultimately contributed strongly to Esenin’s suicide. Klyuev’s long poem “The...


  20. KOLLÁR, Jan.

    Díla básnická … we dwau djljch [‘A Collection of Poems … in two parts’].

    Buda, no publisher, but ‘with the types Gyuriána a Bagó’, 1845.

    First collected edition of Jan Kollár’s works, inscribed to fellow poet and ‘brother Slav’ Ognjeslav Utješenowić-Ostrožinski, with an additional autograph sonnet written in his honour.