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. PASTERNAK, Boris Leonidovich, translator.

    GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von. Tainy [Die Geheimnisse or The Mysteries].

    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.

    £2000

  2. RILKE, Rainer Maria.

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

    Paris, Officina Sanctandreana, 1927.

    First edition, one 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) met Rilke in 1919, and became...

    £1200

  3. 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

  4. SCHUBERT, Franz, composer.

    A fine contemporary volume of ten works containing 18 Lieder including his most famous early songs ‘Erlkönig’...

    Vienna, 1821-1833

    A rare collection of Schubert Lieder in a contemporary binding, apparently as retailed by the Czech music publisher Berra, including three first editions.

    £7500

  5. SHAGINIAN, Marietta Sergeevna.

    Gëte [Goethe].

    Moscow and Leningrad, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1950.

    First edition. Goethe was Shaginian’s idol, as attested by Puteshestvie v Veimar (Journey to Weimar). Here she presents a scholarly work on the great German writer, which particularly examines Russian (and Soviet) appreciations.

    £350

  6. [ST PETERSBURG SUBSCRIPTION LIBRARY.] HOLTEI, Karl Eduard von.

    Lenore. Vaterländisches Schauspiel mit Gesang in drei Abtheilungen.

    Berlin, Duncker and Humblot, 1829.

    First edition of one of Holtei’s best-known plays, inspired by a ballad by Gottfried Bürger.

    £280

  7. [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