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. 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.

    An 1837...

    £400

  2. OHNET, Georges.

    The Battles of Life. The Ironmaster. From the French of Georges Ohnet … by Lady G[eorgiana] O[sborne]. Authorized...

    London: Wyman & Sons … 1884.

    First edition in English. Le maître de forges (1882), one of a series of novels published by Ohnet under the title ‘Les batailles de la vie’, was a bestseller of French nineteenth-century sentimental fiction, and no less successful in England. Another English translation, by Ernest Vizetelly,...

    £450

  3. GARCÍA LORCA, Federico.

    Chant funèbre pour Ignacio Sanchez Mejias & Ode à Walt Whitman. Traduits par Rolland-Simon.

    [Paris], GLM, 1938.

    Rare first edition in French of Lorca’s Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías: copy no. 2 of 20 printed on hollande pannekoek (first paper) of a total edition of 470.

    £500

  4. [SOUZA, Adélaïde de].

    Charles et Marie. Par l’auteur d’Adèle de Senange.

    Paris, Maradan, 1802.

    First edition of this novel describing British society at the beginning of the 19th century, written in the form of an aristocratic young Englishman’s diary.

    £400

  5. GARCIA LORCA, Federico.

    Cinq romances gitanes, texte espagnol et traduction par Guy Lévis-Mano.

    [Paris], GLM, [1939].

    First edition, one of 475 numbered copies, of translations into French by Guy Lévis-Mano of five poems from the Romancero gitano: ‘Saint Gabriel’, ‘La casada infiel’, ‘Romance sonámbulo’, ‘Romance de la Guardia Civil española’ and ‘Romance de la luna, luna’.

    £100

  6. [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

  7. GIONO, Jean.

    Colline.

    Paris, Bernard Grasset, Les Cahiers Verts, 1929.

    First edition of Giono’s first book; it forms the first part of his successful ‘Pan trilogy’ with Un de Baumugnes (1929) and Regain (1930).

    £450

  8. JABÈS, Edmond.

    El, Ou le dernier livre.

    [Paris], Gallimard, [1973].

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

    £300

  9. GUMILEV, Nikolai Stepanovich, translator. GAUTIER, Théophile.

    Emali i kamei [Émaux et camées].

    [St Petersburg, M. V. Popov, 1914.]

    First edition, very rare: Gumilev’s first published volume of translation, and Gautier’s first appearance in Russian. This is the only contemporary edition; it first received a reprint (in a bilingual edition) some 75 years later.

    £850

  10. PARADIN, Guillaume.

    Gulielmi Paradini Anchemani Epigrammata ...

    Lyons, Ant. Gryphius, 1581.

    First and only edition of this French historian’s poetry including verses about or addressed to Ronsard, Pontus de Tyard, Claude Rouillet, and the Lyons printers Sébastien and Antoine Gryphe, and Jean de Tournes.

    £950

  11. MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat.

    Histoire véritable publiée d’après un nouveau manuscrit avec une introduction et des notes...

    Bordeaux, G. Gounouilhou, 1902.

    Second edition of Montesquieu’s philosophical, quasi-oriental tale, a prelude to his great work L’Esprit des lois. Written in the 1730s and again in 1754, and influenced by Lucian and the 18th-century vogue for oriental fiction, the Histoire véritable remained unpublished until 1892. This 1902 second...

    £125

  12. [BAUDELAIRE, Charles.]

    Hommage à C. F. Denecourt. Fontainebleau. Paysages – Légendes – Souvenirs – Fantaisies.

    Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette & Co., 1855.

    First edition of this anthology compiled by Fernand Desnoyers and Auguste Luchet, published in honour of the self-appointed keeper of the forest of Fontainebleau, Claude-François Denecourt. It includes texts by Asselineau, Banville, Baudelaire, Béranger, Brizeux, Champfleury, Dupont, Gautier, Hugo,...

    £750

  13. AZAÏS, Gabriel, and Charles LABOR.

    Illustrated manuscript volume of poetry, comprising ‘Vingt-six janvier 1836’ by Azaïs,...

    Béziers, c. 1836?

    An attractive presentation volume, with poems by Azaïs (1805-1888) and Labor (1813-1900), and fine vignette sketches. Azaïs, later author of Les Troubadours de Béziers (1869) was a member of the Félibrige, the literary organization founded by Frédéric Mistral to promote Occitan language...

    £1750

  14. MAINE DE BIRAN. [MARIE FRANÇOIS PIERRE GONTHIER DE BIRAN.]

    Influence de l’Habitude sur la Faculté de Penser.

    Paris, Henrichs, 1803.

    First edition of Maine de Biran’s first major work, in which he draws a distinction between what he calls passive habits, i.e. sensations and impressions which become dulled with repetition, and active habits, i.e. those which are conscious, and willed. “The effect of this, which was borne out by...

    £2000

  15. MÉRIMÉE, Prosper.

    La Chambre bleue. Nouvelle dédiée à Madame de la Rhune.

    Brussels, Librairie de la Place de la Monnaie, 1872.

    Very rare first procurable edition of Mérimée’s novella The Blue Room, one of 129 copies printed. The first edition (‘Biarritz, 1866’ = Paris, Jules Claye, 1871) was published in only 3 copies.

    £750

  16. 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.

    £550

  17. [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,...

    £650

  18. 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.

    £300

  19. JABÈS, Edmond.

    Le Livre des ressemblances.

    [Paris], Gallimard, [1976].

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

    £300

  20. DELILLE, Jacques.

    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...

    £1250