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.
Les Epaves … avec un eau-forte frontispiece de Félicien Rops.
Amsterdam, ‘A L’Enseigne du Coq’ [Brussels, Poulet-Malassis], 1866.
Rare first edition of Baudelaire’s last book, a collection of poems published in Brussels, containing the six banned poems from the Fleurs du mal – their first appearance since the suppressed 1857 first edition – and seventeen new poems which had previously appeared in journals and...
Paris, A. Lacroix, Verboeckhoven et Cie, 1871.
First edition of the second novel in Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, La Curée. The first six volumes of the series were printed on ordinary paper only (no grand papier issue) and are all very rare.
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.
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...
Les Corbeaux, pièce en quatre actes.
Paris, Tresse, .
First and second editions of Becque’s innovative realist drama, inscribed by the author on the first half-title to ‘mon cher [Jules-Charles] Truffier’, with authorial marks and annotations on thirty-three pages in the second edition showing changes made for performance.
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...
MUSSET, Alfred de.
Rolla, poema … perevod N. P. Grekova [Rolla, a poem … translated by N. P. Grekov].
Moscow, F. B. Miller, 1864.
First edition in Russian of Musset’s Rolla (1833), a poetic reinterpretation of the Don Juan myth, translated by the poet Nikolai Porfir’evich Grekov (1810-1866). A bankrupt playboy decides to commit suicide, but first returns to a young prostitute to reflect on his wasted life. It is only as he...
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.
RILKE, Rainer Maria.
Les Fenêtres. Dix poèmes de Rainer Maria Rilke illustrés de dix eaux-fortes par Baladine.
Paris, Officina Sanctandreana, 1927.
First edition, one of 500 copies on pur fil, of a total edition of 515. A series of ten poems in French addressed by Rilke to his lover ‘Mouky’ or ‘Baladine’ Klossowska, who herself provided the illustrations. Elisabeth Dorothea Klossowska née Spiro (1886-1969) met Rilke in 1919, and became...
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.
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...
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.
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...
Les Fleurs du mal [from Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 June 1855].
[Paris, Revue des Deux Mondes, 1855.]
First appearance in print of any of the poems from the celebrated but suppressed collection Les Fleurs du mal, extracted from the Revue des Deux Mondes. The eighteen poems here, including ‘Au Lecteur’, ‘La Volupté’, ‘Voyage à Cythère’, ‘L’Invitation au Voyage’,...
[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...
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.
[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...
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...
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,...
[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.