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. HEMINGWAY, Ernest.

    Imet’ i ne imet’ [To have and have not].

    Moscow, Goslitizdat, 1938.

    First edition in Russian of To have and have not (1937), with an introduction by the Soviet critic Ivan Anisimov. Hemingway’s first appearance in Russian was Death in the Afternoon in 1934, when he was praised in the Soviet Union as an active anti-Fascist, and he soon became a favourite foreign author...


  2. HERBERT, Zbigniew.

    Struna Światła.

    [Warsaw], Czytelnik, [1956].

    Rare first edition of the influential Polish poet, playwright and essayist’s first book, a collection of 40 poems under the title String of light. It was printed in an edition of 1205 copies. Herbert had published a few poems in reviews from the late 1940s, but because of the political situation in...


  3. HERBERT, Zbigniew.

    Barbarzyńca w ogrodzie.

    [Warsaw], Czytelnik, 1962.

    First edition. Barbarian in the garden, a collection of essays on Mediterranean history and culture, was inspired by Herbert’s first trip abroad, a visit to Italy and France in 1960.


  4. [HERISSANT, Louis Théodore].

    Le fablier françois, ou élite des meilleurs fables depuis La Fontaine.

    Paris, Lottin le jeune, 1771.

    First edition, rare, of what has a claim to be the first comprehensive collection of French fables from the period after La Fontaine, assembled by the diplomat, lawyer, and historian Louis-Théodore Herissant (1743–1811). Collecting together fables from writers both famous (Voltaire, J.B. Rousseau,...


  5. HESSE, Hermann.

    Das Glasperlenspiel.

    Zurich, Fretz und Wasmuth Verlag, 1943.

    First edition of Hesse's last, quintessential work. It occupied him for eleven years, and was published in 1943, the year in which Hesse's name was placed on the black-list of authors in Germany.


  6. HESSE, Hermann.

    Frühe Prosa.

    Zurich, Fretz & Wasmuth, [1948].

    First edition of this collection, with new prefatory material by Hesse himself. It brings together three prose works from before the publication of Peter Camenzind (1904): Eine Stude hinter Mitternacht (1899), Der Novalis (written 1899–1902, published 1907), and Hermann...


  7. [HO CHI MINH].

    Le Procès de la Colonisation française – première série [all published] – Mœurs coloniales.

    Paris, Librairie du travail, [1926].

    First edition, very rare, of a strident attack on French colonial policy, not just in Indochina but also in Madagascar, Cameroon, Algeria etc, by the future President and Prime Minister of North Vietnam. He strikes out at taxation, governance, ‘les civilisateurs’, corruption, exploitation, undereducation...



    Unpolitische Lieder.

    Hamburg, Hoffmann and Campe, 1840–1.

    First edition of each work. Hoffmann (1784–1874), self-ennobled ‘von Fallersleben’, was first librarian (1823) and then professor of German language and literature (1830) at the University of Breslau, before his dismissal in 1842 due to the politically sensitive content of the supposedly Unpolitischen...


  9. HOFMANNSTHAL, Hugo von.

    Die Aegyptische Helena. Oper in zwei Aufzügen.

    [Leipzig, Mainzer Presse for Insel-Verlag, 1928.]

    First edition of Hofmannsthal’s text for Richard Strauss’s opera – Hofmannsthal himself considered it to be his finest libretto. The opera was first performed on 6 June 1928 in Dresden, five weeks before Hofmannsthal’s death. The plot is a free adaptation of Euripides’ Helena, which introduces...


  10. HUGO, Victor.

    L’Homme qui rit. Tome premier [- quatrième].

    Brussels, A. Lacroix, Verboeckhoven & Ce, 1869.

    First edition of Hugo’s social novel set in late seventeenth-century England; the Brussels edition, which appeared simultaneously with the Paris printing.


  11. IVANOV, Georgii Vladimirovich.


    Petrograd, [“Mysl’”], 1922.

    First edition: Ivanov’s last collection of poems before his emigration. ‘Never regularly employed and having made many illwishers through his penchant pour épatage, Ivanov led the last years of his life in semi-starvation, … and died in misery and desperation. Only recently has he begun to be...


  12. IVANOV, Viacheslav Ivanovich.

    Mladenchestvo [Infancy].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1918.

    First edition. The poet, translator, critic and scholar Vyacheslav Ivanov (1866–1949) was one of the leaders of the Symbolist movement and its principal theorist. This, his contribution to the new Symbolist genre of autobiographical ‘long poem’ (poema in Russian, a form made popular by Pushkin...


  13. IVANOV, Viacheslav Ivanovich.

    Prometei. Tragediia [Prometheus. A tragedy].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1919.

    First edition of Ivanov’s dramatic poem Prometheus, which follows the form of Greek tragedy. The plot is a restatement of classical myth in terms of Ivanov’s Neoplatonic philosophy.


  14. IVANOV, Vsevolod Viacheslavovich, and Viktor Borisovich SHKLOVSKII.

    Iprit. Roman. Vypusk I [– IX] [Mustard Gas. A novel. Parts...

    Moscow, Gosizdat, [1925].

    First edition, a complete set of a rare satirical science fiction novel, issued serially. Ivanov (1895–1963) and Shklovsky (1893–1984) both had connections to the literary group the Serapion Brothers, who upheld the creed that art must be independent of political ideology. Iprit is a parody of Soviet...


  15. 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 1935. These are taller and slimmer...


  16. 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 300 on Alfama.


  17. JABÈS, Edmond.

    Le Livre des Questions.

    [Paris], Gallimard, [1963].

    First edition. This is the first of what was to become a series of seven books under this title published between 1963 and 1973: ‘the centrepiece of Jabès’s oeuvre’ (Stoddard). 20 numbered copies were printed on pur fil; ours is one of the unnumbered copies on ordinary paper.


  18. JABÈS, Edmond.

    El, Ou le dernier livre.

    [Paris], Gallimard, [1973].

    First edition, one of 40 numbered copies on vélin pur fil.


  19. JABÈS, Edmond.

    Le Livre des ressemblances.

    [Paris], Gallimard, [1976].

    First edition, one of 20 numbered copies on vélin d’Arches Arjomari Prioux.


  20. JABÈS, Edmond.

    L’Obscurité potable.

    [Paris], G.L.M., 1936.

    Rare first edition of this early collection of poems, published when Jabès was just 24: one of a limited edition of 212 copies, of which this is one of 12 on Hollande Pannekeok.