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. BELISHEVA, S. P., translator.

    ‘An die Fantasie, aus dem russischen.’ Manuscript on paper of an apparently unrecorded poem in...

    Germany, c. 1830

    A contemporary manuscript of an early 19th century Russian poem, translated into German, and signed by the, possibly pseudonymous, translator ‘Fräulein S. P. Belischef’. We have been unable to identify the original poem, in praise of poetic imagination and the heights it can attain, from which the...

    £1750

  2. BRANDT, Johann Daniel und Georg Karl.

    Opfer de Lieb’ und Freundschaft. Dargebracht dem Konigl. Preuss. Kriegsrath Herrn herrn...

    Berlin, Wilhelm Dieterici, [1790].

    A luxurious and unusual production, both printed and bound in silk, a commemorative poem commissioned as a special birthday gift by King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia for his military adviser Friedrich Moritz Helmbrecht (1744-97).

    £400

  3. BUQUOY, Georg Franz August de Longueval, Freiherr von Vaux, Graf von.

    Anregungen für philosophisch-wissenschaftliche Forschung...

    Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1825.

    First edition, rare, of a comprehensive discussion by the author of his personal philosophy, with c. 50 pages of his poetry thrown in at the end for good measure. Samuel Hahnemann refers to the work in Die chronischen Krankheiten (1828–30), calling Buquoy a ‘deep-thinking, many-sided scholar and...

    £950

  4. CELAN, Paul.

    Von Schwelle zu Schwelle. Gedichte.

    Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, [1955].

    First edition of Celan’s second collection of poems. Dedicated to his wife Gisèle, it is Celan’s first book to arise wholly from Paris.

    £400

  5. [GOETHE.] 

    REICHARDT, Johann Friedrich.  Goethe’s Lieder, Oden, Balladen und Romanzen mit Musik von J.F. Reichardt.  Erste...

    Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, [1809–11]. 

    Very rare first complete edition of Reichardt’s musical settings of Goethe’s poetry, comprising 128 settings of which thirty-nine appear here for the first time. 

    £6500

  6. [GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von.] ECKERMANN, Johann Peter, and Dmitry Vasilievich AVERKIEV (translator).

    Razgovory Gete...

    St Petersburg, A.S. Suvorin, 1891.

    Rare first edition in Russian of Eckermann’s famous Gespräche mit Goethe (1836/48); a second edition followed in 1905.

    £1500

  7. GOETHE, Johan Wolfgang von; Boris Leonidovich PASTERNAK, translator

    Тайны [Tainy; ‘Die Geheimnisse’ or ‘The...

    Moscow, Izdatel’stvo Sovremennik, 1922. 

    First and only edition, very rare, of Pasternak’s early translation of Goethe’s epic fragment Die Geheimnisse (The Mysteries); with a long introductory note by Professor Grigorii Rachinskii.

    £1200

  8. GRASS, Günter.

    Gleisdreieck.

    Darmstadt, Luchterhand, 1960.

    Rare first edition of this volume of poems with Grass’s own drawings.

    £100

  9. GRASS, Günter.

    The Danzig Trilogy [The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse and Dog Years].

    New York, Pantheon & Harcourt Brace & World, 1962-65.

    First US editions, all translated by Ralph Manheim, and first published in the original German in 1959, 1961 and 1963.

    £500

  10. GRASS, Günter.

    Selected Poems … With translations from the German by Michael Hamburger and Christopher Middleton.

    New York, Harcourt Brace & World Inc., 1966.

    First US edition, with the original German on facing pages, of poems originally appearing in Die Vorzüge der Windhühner (1956) and Gleisdreieck (1960).

    £50

  11. HARINGER, Jakob.

    Die Einsiedelei. Ein Stundenblatt. Nr. VIII-XV [Poems].

    Amsterdam, Christof Brundel Verlag, [1930].

    First edition, rare, of a collection of several short pieces by the Expressionist poet Jakob Haringer. It includes: ‘Chinesische Strofen’, ‘Unbekannter Dichter/ Werke für einen Freund’, ‘Werke aus dem ägyptischen’, ‘Lieder von den Salomo-Inseln’, ‘Werke nach Ronsard’ and ‘Werke...

    £250

  12. HEINE, Heinrich.

    Zur Geschichte der neueren schönen Literatur in Deutschland.

    Paris & Leipzig, Heideloff und Campe, 1833.

    First edition of a work on contemporary German literature, intended as a sort of continuation of Madame de Staël’s De L’Allemagne. It first appeared as a series of articles in the Paris journal L’Europe littéraire. This first edition was banned on publication, and is very rare. A second, expanded...

    £1250

  13. HEINE, Heinrich.

    Französische Zustände.

    Hamburg, Hoffmann und Campe, 1833.

    First edition in book form of a series of newspaper articles, first published in the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung, discussing cultural and political developments in France. It was Heine’s first work of political journalism.

    £550

  14. 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.

    £750

  15. 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...

    £100

  16. HESSE, Hermann.

    Siddhartha. Eine indische Dichtung.

    Berlin, S. Fischer Verlag, 1922.

    First edition of Hesse’s most celebrated work, the beautiful story of a young Brahmin’s search for the meaning of life on earth at the time of the Gautama Buddha. It is considered by many to be Hesse’s masterpiece, and its English translation in the 1950s became a spiritual guide to the generation...

    £1200

  17. HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN, August Heinrich.

    Unpolitische Lieder.

    Hamburg, Hoffmann and Campe, 1840–1. [bound with:]

    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...

    £100

  18. 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...

    £750

  19. [KAFKA, Franz, et al.]

    Das Jüdische Prag. Eine Sammelschrift.

    Prague, Verlag der “Selbstwehr”, 1917 [i.e. 1916].

    First edition, rare: an anthology produced by the Prague German-language Zionist weekly newspaper Der Selbstwehr, including the first authorised appearance in print of Kafka’s Ein Traum, one of only two excerpts from Der Prozess (The Trial) which were published during...

    £1000