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. 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

  4. DÖBLIN, Alfred.

    Berlin Alexanderplatz. Traduit de l’Allemand par Zoya Motchane. Préface de Pierre Mac Orlan.

    [Paris], Librairie Gallimard, [1933].

    With a punning signed presentation inscription to front endleaf, perhaps addressed to a female fellow-drinker in Paris: ‘Hommage respectueux à Mlle Bouvoirde! Alfred Döblin, Paris, 23.XII.36’. If this is a word-play on ‘bavarde’ (she who talks too much) and ‘buveuse’ (she who drinks too...

    £750

  5. [GOETHE.] ECKERMANN, Johann Peter.

    Razgovory Gete sobrannye Ekkermannom. Perevod s nemetskago D[mitriia] V[asil’evicha] Averkieva....

    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

  6. GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von.

    Faustus: from the German of Goethe.

    London: Boosey and Sons ... and Rodwell & Martin ... 1821.

    First edition of this expanded translation of Faust (Part I), long mistakenly attributed to George Soane, but now authoritatively credited to Coleridge; issued here with the Retzsch plates which had appeared separately in 1820. ‘The most striking passages and scenes ... have been translated...

    £2250

  7. [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 39 appear here for the first time.

    £6500

  8. GRASS, Günter.

    Gleisdreieck.

    Darmstadt, Luchterhand, 1960.

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

    £100

  9. GRASS, Günter.

    Katz und Maus. Eine Novelle.

    Neuwied & Berlin, Luchterhand, 1961.

    First edition of the novella Katz und Maus, which was later sub-titled Danizger Trilogie 2 to indicate its relationship to Die Blechtrommel and Hundejahre.

    £150

  10. GRASS, Günter.

    Die Plebejer proben den Aufstand. Ein deutsches Trauerspiel.

    Neuwied & Berlin, Luchterhand, 1966.

    First edition of a play, ‘The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising’, in which Bertolt Brecht appears as the Boss, who declines to leave his theatrical preoccupation to support the East Berlin workers' reformist uprising.

    £100

  11. GRASS, Günter.

    Ausgefragt.

    Neuwied & Berlin, Luchterhand, 1967.

    First edition.

    £75

  12. GRASS, Günter.

    Über meinen Lehrer Döblin und andere Vorträge.

    Berlin, Literarisches Colloquium, 1968.

    First edition, signed by Grass on fly-leaf.

    £50

  13. GRASS, Günter.

    Gesammelte Gedichte. Mit einem Vowort von Heinrich Vormweg.

    Neuwied & Berlin, Luchterhand, 1971.

    First edition.

    £50

  14. GRASS, Günter.

    Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke.

    Neuwied & Darmstadt, Luchterhand, 1972.

    First edition: an account of Grass’s travels as a campaigner for the Social Democrats and Willy Brandt in the 1969 election, interwoven with a story about Hermann Ott, a collector of snails, who takes refuge from the Nazis with a Kashubian who wants to become a German.

    £75

  15. GRASS, Günter.

    Der Butt.

    Darmstadt & Neuwied, Luchterhand, 1977

    First edition: a review copy, with the words ‘Unkorrigiertes, unverkäufliches Lese-Exemplar’ printed on front cover.

    £100

  16. GRASS, Günter.

    Der Butt.

    Darmstadt & Neuwied, Luchterhand, 1977

    First edition.

    £75

  17. GRASS, Günter.

    Das Treffen in Telgte. Eine Erzählung.

    Darmstadt & Neuwied, Luchterhand, 1979.

    First edition.

    £75

  18. GRASS, Günter.

    Kopfgeburten, oder Die Deutschen sterben aus.

    Darmstadt & Neuwied, Luchterhand, 1980.

    First edition.

    £40

  19. GRASS, Günter.

    Die Rättin.

    Darmstadt & Neuwied, Luchterhand, 1986.

    First edition. The narrator receives as a present a female rat, who demonstrates in several stories that the rats will inherit the earth.

    £50