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. MESHCHERSKY, Elim Petrovich, Prince.

    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’.


  2. MONTLOSIER, Francois-Dominique de Reynaud, comte de

    Le peuple Anglais bouffi d’orgueil, de bière et de thé, jugé...

    Paris, chez Surosne, An IX (1803). 

    First edition, scarce on the market, of a virulent and amusing anti-English tirade by the French politician Montlosier (1755–1838), written on the eve of the Napoleonic Wars. 


  3. [MURAT, J.-B. de.] 

    La destinée d’une jolie femme, poème érotique, en six chants, par J.B… de M… 

    Paris, Langlois for Mongie, An XI (1803). 

    First and only edition, very scarce, of this humorous moralising tale of love and loss in verse, intended for a female readership and hidden under the ‘transparent veil’ of erotic poetry. 


  4. MUSSET, Alfred de, and Nikolai Porfir’evich GREKOV, translator.

    Rolla, poema … perevod N.P. Grekova [Rolla,...

    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).


  5. 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...


  6. 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,...


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. RILKE, Rainer Maria. 

    Les Fenêtres.  Dix poèmes de Rainer Maria Rilke illustrés de dix eaux-fortes par Baladine. 

    Paris, Officina Sanctandreana, 1927.

    First edition, numbered 146 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)...


  10. ROBBE-GRILLET, Alain.

    Topologie d’une cité fantôme.

    Paris, Éditions de Minuit, 1976.

    First edition: a kind of intellectual detective story in which the reader becomes a collaborator in the solution of a crime as much his own creation as it is the author’s.


  11. ROBBE-GRILLET, Alain.

    Un Régicide.

    [Paris], Les Éditions de Minuit, [1978].

    First edition, one of 87 copies on Alfa mousse (first paper).


  12. ROBBE-GRILLET, Alain.

    Souvenirs du Triangle d’Or.

    [Paris], Les Éditions de Minuit, [1978].

    First edition, one of 87 copies on Alfa mousse (first paper).


  13. ROUVEYRE, André.

    Two typescript drafts of Apollinaire (1952), here titled ‘Stature d’Apollinaire. Gravures de Henri Matisse’,

    c. 1950.

    ROUVEYRE, André, and Henri MATISSE. Apollinaire. Paris, Raisons d’Etre, 1952 [1953].


  14. SCARRON, Paul. 

    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. 


  15. [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 nineteenth century, written in the form of an aristocratic young Englishman’s diary.


  16. UGARTE, Manuel, and Georges FOUCART, translator.

    ‘Contes de la Pampa’: a manuscript translation of Ugarte’s...

    Paris, c. 1923-5.

    A fine, largely unpublished manuscript, with translations of all fourteen stories from Miguel Ugarte’s Cuentos de la Pampa (1903, here translated from the 1920 edition).


  17. VOLTAIRE, François Marie Arouet de. SOLOGUB, Fedor Kuzmich, pseud. [Fedor TETERNIKOV], translator.

    Kandid, ili optimizm....

    St Petersburg, “Panteon”, 1909.

    First edition, very rare, of Sologub’s translation of Candide.


  18. ZOLA, Émile.

    La Curée.

    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.