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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN, August Heinrich.

    Unpolitische Lieder.

    Hamburg, Hoffmann and Campe, 1840–1.

    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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. KAFKA, Franz.

    Ein Landarzt. Kleine Erzählungen.

    Munich & Leipzig, Kurt Wolff, 1919.

    First edition of this collection, including not only the title story and Ein Brudermord, but also Auf der Galerie, Vor dem Gesetz, Eine kaiserliche Botschaft, Ein Bericht für eine Akademie and eight other stories.

    £800

  14. [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

  15. KAFKA, Franz.

    Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Posthumous Prose Writings.

    London, Secker and Warburg, 1954.

    First edition in English. Translated by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, with notes by Max Brod. ‘Although Kafka’s almost unceasing guilt and anxieties seem to mark him as a man of pestilential morbidity and gloom, it is not the important effect he has on us. He has a kind of cunning. His plain and...

    £200

  16. KAFKA, Franz.

    Frants Kafka: roman, novelly, pritchi [Franz Kafka: a novel [The Trial], novellas, parables].

    Moscow, “Progress”, 1965.

    First edition in Russian of Der Prozess, part of the ‘recent unprecendented publication’ (Struc) of Kafka in Russian. Also published here are a number of short stories, some of which had previously appeared in Ukrainian and Russian in Soviet periodicals. The translators include R. Rait-Kovaleva,...

    £1350

  17. KHARMS, Daniil Ivanovich, translator. BUSCH, Wilhelm.

    Plikh i Pliukh [Plisch und Plum].

    Moscow, Detizdat, 1937.

    First edition in book form, very rare, of Daniil Kharms’s Russian free verse translation of the children’s story by Wilhelm Busch about two mischievous dogs, second only in fame to his Max und Moritz. The translation had been first published in the children’s magazine Chizh in 1936 (nos. 8-12),...

    £3000

  18. MUSIL, Robert.

    Vinzenz und die Freundin bedeutender Männer. Posse in drei Akten.

    Berlin, Ernst Rowohlt Verlag, 1924.

    Rare first edition of Musil’s early farce.

    £500

  19. NICOLAI, [Christoph] Friedrich.

    The Life and Opinions of Sebaldus Nothanker. Translated from the German … by Thomas Dutton, A. M. …

    London: Printed by C. Lowndes … and sold by H. D. Symonds … 1798.

    First edition in English, very scarce, of Nicolai’s Das Leben und die Meinungen des Herrn Magister Sebaldus Nothanker (1773-6), ‘probably the literary bestseller of the German Enlightenment’ (Selwyn), translated into many languages and much re-printed. It is sometimes considered the...

    £2750