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. ALIGHIERI, Dante.

    Boska komedja … tłómaczenie Juliana Korsaka.

    Warsaw, S. Orgelbranda, 1860.

    Rare. First edition of the first complete verse translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy into Polish, in adjacent and alternating rhymes, complete with all sixteen engravings.

    £2700

  2. CHIESA, Sebastiano.

    Capitolo fratesco.

    [Italy, probably Emilia, seventeenth century.]

    Unpublished seventeenth-century Italian poem in sixteen cantos in ottava rima. Sebastiano Chiesa’s Capitolo fratesco, or dei frati according to other sources, was apparently entrusted by the dying author to a friend, and enjoyed wide circulation and acclaim in manuscript...

    £1750

  3. [FRANCE and ITALY.]

    A collection of manuscript and printed material pertaining to French territorial ambitions in Italy.

    [1537 – c. 1630].

    A collection of memoranda concerning French ambitions in the Italian peninsula during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

    £750

  4. ALBERTI, Leon Battista.

    El Momo. La moral e muy graciosa historia del Momo; compuesta en Latin por el docto varon Leon Bapista...

    Alcalá de Henares, Joan Mey Flandro, 1553.

    First edition in Spanish of Alberti’s Momus [or De principe], translated by Augustín de Almaçan and with an introductory 8-page Exposición by the Toledo ascetic writer and scholar Alejo Venegas (1495?–1554?).

    £3800

  5. GUERINI, Professor Giovanni.

    Fireside Entertainments; or, A Series of Interesting Tales ...

    London: Chapman and Hall ... 1874.

    First edition in English of Guerini’s Trenta Novelle (1873), a collection of short stories with contemporary or historical Italian settings by Bulwer-Lytton’s Italian translator. In the original language these stories--’Rubens’ Studio’, ‘The Uncle from America’, ‘Shut up in Church’,...

    £150

  6. [TRENTO, Giulio].

    Gli spiriti. Paragoni poetici. Dialogo d’un giovine, ed un cinico dell’andare alla Guerra. Diario mensuale...

    Treviso, G. Trento, [1788].

    Only edition, mentioned only in one or two pieces of local antiquarian history but not recorded in any of the usual library catalogues. An ephemeral publication containing a short story, a literary divertissement linking passages from Parini’s Mattino with an unidentified poem on gambling and an ode...

    £300

  7. MIRANDA, Giovanni.

    Historia del valoroso cavallier Polisman, nella quale, oltre alla sua origine, vita, & imprese, si contengono...

    Venice, Lucio Spineda, 1612.

    Second edition (in fact a reissue of the first edition published in 1573) of a rare pseudo-Hispanic Italian chivalric romance, with a curious printing history.

    £1750

  8. GONZAGA, Curzio.

    Il Fido amante, poema eroico.

    Mantua, [(colophon:) Giacomo Ruffinello, 1582].

    First edition of an Italian Renaissance heroic poem in thirty-six cantos, much appreciated by Tasso and published the year after the first authorized edition of the Gerusalemme liberata.

    £600

  9. TASSO, Torquato.

    Il Goffredo overo Gierusalemme liberata del sig. Torquato Tasso. Con le figure intagliate in rame dal Tempesta.

    Rome, Filippo de Rossi, 1657.

    Attractive copy of the 1657 illustrated pocket Gerusalemme Liberata, reprinting the successful Rome edition of 1607. It includes Tasso’s Allegoria del poema, printed as introduction to the poem, and is enlivened throughout by one of the famous cycles of engravings produced by Tempesta.

    £400

  10. PAGLIARANI, Elio.

    Inventario privato. Prefazione di Giacomo Zanga. Disegni di Alberto Casarotti.

    [Milan], Veronelli, [1959].

    First edition of the second published collection of poems by Elio Pagliarani (b. 1927), a member of the neo-avant-garde Gruppo 63. Pagliarani was the first of five poets to be anthologised by Alfredo Giuliani two years later in his important anthology I novissimi (1961), which in many ways can be seen...

    £350

  11. MARINO, Giambattista.

    La Murtoleide fischiate del cavalier Marino con la Marineide risate del Murtola.

    ‘Norinbergh’ [i.e. Venice], Ioseph Stamphier, 1619.

    Rare first edition of the manifesto of Italian Baroque poetry, appearing in the bitterly satirical ‘literary feud’ between the leading Italian baroque poet Giambattista Marino and his adversary, Gasparo Murtola. Marino, who thrived in his notoriously misbehaving public persona, had been banned...

    £900

  12. [MALAPARTE, Curzio, pseud.] SUCHERT, Kurt Erich.

    Le nozze degli eunuchi.

    Rome, Casa Editrice Rassegna Internazionale, [1921].

    Very rare first edition of this early collection of essays by the Tuscan political activist, journalist and essayist Curzio Malaparte (1898-1957), ‘one of Italy’s most charming and contradictory figures. Malaparte espoused various radical (and diametrically opposed) philosophical and political doctrines...

    £450

  13. STRAPAROLA, Giovanfrancesco.

    Le piacevoli notti di messer Giovanfrancesco Straparola da Caravaggio.

    Venice, Domenico Giglio, 1558.

    An early edition of both volumes of Straparola’s Facetious nights, first published in 1550–53.

    £2750

  14. [PIRANDELLO, Luigi.]

    LO VECCHIO MUSTI, Manlio. Bibliografia di Pirandello.

    Verona, Mondadori, 1937.

    First edition of this authoritative bibliography of Pirandello, published just a year after his death. It includes a long introductory essay by Massimo Bontempelli.

    £100

  15. BARTOLI, Adolfo.

    Scenari inediti della Commedia dell’arte. Contributo alla storia del teatro popolare italiano.

    Florence, Sansoni, 1880.

    Rare first edition, one of only 350 copies, of a foundational source for the study of Commedia dell’Arte. The exceptionally well-loved and widely-performed form of drama is the subject of the author’s pioneering study: he examines tropes, characters, plots, structures and lines of ‘scenarios’...

    £500