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.
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.
Le Marquis ridicule, ou la comtesse faite à la haste. Comedie … Suivant la copie imprimée a Paris.
[Leiden, Elzevier], 1656.
First Elzevier editions, very rare, of these two plays by Scarron, pirated after the text of the first editions printed in Paris. A finely bound volume with excellent Elzevierian provenance.
CAREL DE SAINTE GARDE, Jacques.
Les sarrazins chassez de France. Poëme heroïque ...
Paris, chez Claude Barbin, 1667.
Rare first edition of this poetic account of the expulsion of the Saracens from France by Childebrand I (c. 678 – 751), written by Jacques Carel de Sainte Garde (1620 – 1684), almoner and counsellor to Louis XIV. Prefaced by a short treatise on versification in heroic poetry, the poem runs...
MARIVAUX, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de.
Le Paysan parvenu: or, the fortunate Peasant. Being Memoirs of the Life of Mr. ––––....
London: Printed for John Brindley … Charles Corbett … and Richard Wellington … 1735
First edition in English, originally published in French in the Hague in 1734-5. This is the second of the two important novels by Marivaux, which broke new ground in the art of writing fiction. ‘Where La Vie de Marianne belongs to the moralizing and sentimental romance tradition, Le Paysan...
[BERINGTON, Simon, adapted by Jean-Baptiste DUPUY-DEMPORTES.]
Memoires de Gaudence de Luques, prisonnier de l’Inquisition...
Amsterdam and Leipzig, Arkstée & Merkus, 1754.
Second edition of this much expanded and altered translation of Berington’s celebrated utopian novel, Memoirs of Sigr Gaudentio di Lucca (1737). The Memoirs enjoyed immense popularity, undergoing at least twelve eighteenth-century editions in English and contemporary translations...
[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,...
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...
Voyage de Sophie et d’Eulalie, au Palais du vrai bonheur; ouvrage pour servir de guide dans les voies...
Paris, Charles-Pierre Berton, 1781.
First edition of this rare utopian voyage written by a woman for a readership of women.
Oeuvres badines …
Paris, chez les marchands de nouveautés, 1797.
Scarce illustrated edition of the ‘frolicsome works’ of the French dramatist and wit Piron (1689–1773), collecting sixty-eight salacious poems accompanied by eight erotic engraved plates. The collection includes the notorious Ode à Priape, the publication of which obliged Piron to...
[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.
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...
[KRÜDENER, Barbara Juliane de Vietinghoff, Baronne de.]
Valérie, ou Lettres de Gustave de Linar à Ernest de G… Tome...
Paris, Henrichs, 1804.
Rare first edition of Valérie, the most famous novel by the Russian mystic and novelist Madame de Krüdener (1766–1824), who for a time exerted an influence over Tsar Alexander I. The novel created a literary sensation, and became one of the classic novels of the pre-Romantic movement...
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.
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...
MESHCHERSKII, Elim Petrovich.
Les roses noires par le prince Élim Mestscherskï.
Paris, Amyot, 1845.
First edition of this posthumous collection, which includes a short dramatisation of Pushkin’s The Gypsies, ‘un charmant poëme d’Alexandre Pouschkinn, le grand écrivain que pleure la Russie’.
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...
PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich. DUPONT, H. (translator).
Oeuvres choisies... traduites pour la première fois en français... Tome...
St Petersburg, chez Fd. Bellizard et Cie; Paris, Au comptoir des Imprimeurs-unis, 1847.
First collected edition of Pushkin in French, preceded in French translation only by some individual poems and stories, and a translation of The Queen of Spades in 1843. This is one of the earliest major collections of Pushkin to appear outside Russia.
NERVAL, Gérard de.
Lorely, souvenirs d’Allemagne.
Paris, D. Giraud et J. Dagneau, 1852.
First edition, second issue, of a collection of Nerval’s writings on Germany. German Romanticism had a great influence on Nerval, and he was drawn to the country, visiting it seven times. At the age of 20, he published a translation of Faust which Goethe himself praised. Lorely opens with a long preface...
GOGOL’, Nikolai Vasil’evich.
Tarass Boulba… traduit du russe par Louis Viardot.
Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1853.
First separate appearance of Gogol’s story in the French translation by Louis Viardot, published in the series ‘Bibliothèque des chemins de fer’. The translation had previously appeared in 1845 in the collection ‘Nouvelles russes’, where Turgenev is named as co-translator.
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,...