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. [KAFKA, Franz.]

    Almanach des Schocken Verlags auf das Jahr 5695.

    Berlin, Schocken Verlag, 1934/35.

    Pp. 96-103 contain Kafka’s Aufzeichnungen über eine jüdische Wandertruppe, the description of his meeting with a troupe of Yiddish actors in the Café Savoy in Prague in 1911. This encounter was to have a profound effect on his writing. The passage was later published in an extended version in the...

    £180

  2. 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

  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. 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

  5. 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

  6. GRASS, Günter.

    Ausgefragt.

    Neuwied & Berlin, Luchterhand, 1967.

    First edition.

    £75

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. [VOLTAIRE.]

    Das Mädchen von Orleans. Ein komisches Heldengedicht in zwölf Gesängen nach Voltaire frei bearbeitet.

    Neustadt, ‘im Verlags-Comptoir’, n. d. [mid nineteenth century].

    A good copy of this very rare German rendition of Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orleans. Fromm gives the date as around 1865 (and the place of publication as Hamburg), the online Staatsbibliothek catalogue (the only copy listed by KVK) as c.1830. The translator remains anonymous.

    £100

  11. GRASS, Günter.

    Das Treffen in Telgte. Eine Erzählung.

    Darmstadt & Neuwied, Luchterhand, 1979.

    First edition.

    £75

  12. 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

  13. GRASS, Günter.

    Der Butt.

    Darmstadt & Neuwied, Luchterhand, 1977

    First edition.

    £75

  14. KAFKA, Franz.

    In der Strafkolonie.

    Leipzig, Kurt Wolff, 1919.

    First edition, one of 1000 copies printed, of Kafka’s story In the Penal Colony.

    £5500

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. RÜCKERT, Friedrich.

    Die Weisheit des Brahmanen, ein Lehrgedicht in Bruchstücken. Erstes [- Sechstes] Bändchen.

    Leipzig, Weidmann’sche Buchhandlung, 1836-39.

    First edition of one of the most important poetical works by Rückert, here in the publisher’s attractive original paper wrappers. Rückert’s large output of poetry inspired many composers, among them Schubert (‘Du bist die Ruh’), Schumann (‘Widmung’), and Mahler (‘Kindertotenlieder’...

    £500

  20. KAFKA, Franz.

    Ein Landarzt and Der Mord [in Die Neue Dichtung. Ein Almanach].

    Leipzig, Kurt Wolff, 1918.

    First edition, containing the first appearance in print of Kafka’s Ein Landarzt and Der Mord (later Ein Brudermord), both of which were published in the collection Ein Landarzt the following year, with significant textual differences. This important expressionist anthology also includes contributions...

    £400