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. PIUS II (Nicolaus von WYLE, editor). 

    Epistolae familiares. 

    Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 17 July 1486. 

    Second Koberger edition of the Epistolae familiares of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1405–1464), the great Renaissance humanist who became Pope Pius II in 1458, a handsome copy enhanced with manuscript additions comprising epistolary models, a German-Latin wordlist, and medical recipes. 

    £7500

  2. PETRARCH, Francesco. 

    Librorum Francisci Petrarche impressorum annotatio.  De ignorantia suiipsius et multorum liber I.  De...

    Venice, Simone da Luere for Andreas Torresanus de Asula, 27 March 1501. 

    Part one of the second collected edition of Petrarch’s Latin works (first Basel 1496), owned and annotated by the great Italian naturalist and physician Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605). 

    £16000

  3. URCEO, Antonio [or Codro].

    Hoc Codri volumine haec continentur. Orationes, seu sermones ut ipse appellabat. Epistolae. Silvae....

    Bologna, Giovanni Antonio Benedetti, 7 March 1502.

    First edition of a quintessential piece of Italian humanism, annotated by a sixteenth-century reader particularly interested in the philology of the texts.

    £3000

  4. ANSELMI, Giorgio, the younger

    Georgii Anselmi nepotis Epigrammaton libri septem. Sosthyrides. Peplum Palladis. Aeglogae...

    Venice, Maffeo Pasini, September 1528. 

    The definitive edition of the epigrams of Giorgio Anselmi, grandson of the astrologer and music theorist of the same name, with several epigrams on his grandfather’s lost works on magic and the occult. 

    £875

  5. SANNAZARO, Jacopo. 

    Iacobi Sannazarii Opera omnia latine scripta, nuper edita. 

    Venice, heirs of Aldus Manutius and Andreas Asulanus, September 1535. 

    Enlarged posthumous Aldine edition of the collected Latin works of the Neapolitan poet Jacopo Sannazaro. 

    £550

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. VIRGIL Maro, Publius, and Giovanni Andrea dell’ANGUILLARA (trans.). 

    Il primo libro della Eneida di Vergilio,...

    Padua, Gratioso Perchacino, 1564. 

    First edition of the first book of Anguillara’s verse translation of the Aeneid, a copy printed on strong paper and inscribed by the author.  The humanist, poet, and successful translator of Ovid Giovanni Andrea dell’Anguillara (1517–1572) undertook to translate into Italian ottava...

    £2500

  9. 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

  10. FAGNANI, Giovanni Marco. 

    De bello Arriano libri sex. 

    Milan, heirs of Pacifico da Ponte and Giovanni Battista Piccaglia, 1604. 

    First and only edition of the sole published work by the Italian nobleman Giovanni Marco Fagnani (1524–1609), an epic poem recounting Ambrose of Milan’s campaign against local Arians in late fourth-century Lombardy. 

    £900

  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. LOREDAN, Giovanni Francesco. 

    Bizzarrie academiche di Gio. Francesco Loredano Nobile Veneto, con altre composizioni del medesimo … 

    Venice, Taddeo Pavoni, 1642. 

    Expanded fourth edition, very rare, of this series of salacious academic discourses by Venetian senator Giovanni Francesco Loredan (1606/7–1661), founder of the Accademia degli Incogniti and a central figure in seventeenth-century Venetian publishing.

    £500

  13. [WEDDING POETRY.]

    Applausi alli felicissimi sponsali dell’illustrissimo Sig. Cavaliere Deifebo Perini Brancadori, con l’illustrissima...

    Siena, Stamperia del Pubblico, 1699.

    Seemingly unrecorded collection of sonnets written to mark the marriage of two Sienese nobles, Deifebo Perini Brancadori and Ottavia Orlandini. The fourteen sonnets, whose authorship remains unknown, take inspiration from the family name of the groom and aspects of the arms of both families, with...

    £350

  14. GRAY, [Thomas].

    Poems by Mr. Gray.

    Dublin, William Sleater, 1775.

    An attractive Dublin edition of Gray’s poems, joined by two parodies and a ‘burlesque ode’, and parallel translations of his Elegy written in a Country Churchyard into Italian and Latin.

    £125

  15. [POETRY.] 

    ‘Trattato della [poesia Toscana]’. 

    [Asti?, 1780-1782.] 

    A manuscript treatise on the method of composing poetry in Italian, with numerous examples from renowned authors and eight apparently unpublished poems about horse-racing, with references to Arabian, Sardinian, English, and African horses, as well as to a firework display. 

    £750

  16. [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

  17. [NAPOLEONIC ITALY.] 

    Alla società delle gentilissime signore di Moncalieri dilettanti del giuoco del tavolazzo. Sonetto bernesco-morale...

    Turin, Giacomo Fea, 1799.

    An unrecorded sonnet addressed to the Society of the Gentlewomen of Moncalieri, a town just south of Turin whose castle is one of the Savoy Residences, and in particular to the ‘Abbess’ of the society, by the corps of soldiers stationed in the town shortly after the Battle of Marengo.

    £575

  18. [MALTA.] 

    Eruditissima istoria dell’assedio fatto dalli Turchi all città di Malta. 

    Naples, [c. 1800?]. 

    Scarce poem on the 1565 Great Siege of Malta, when around 2400 Knights Hospitallers and Maltese inhabitants repelled an Ottoman invasion lead by Dragut and Mustafa Pasha.  Library catalogues credit the work to Innico Grivaccio. 

    £650

  19. PAZZI, Antonio de, and Torquato TASSO. 

    Stanze inedite di Antonio de Pazzi e di Torquato Tasso in biasimo ed in lode delle...

    Venice, Picotti, 1810.

    Scarce first edition of verses ‘in blame and in praise of women’ by Antonio de Pazzi and Torquato Tasso, edited by the eminent antiquary and librarian Jacopo Morelli (1745–1819) from a previously unpublished manuscript in the Biblioteca Marciana, Venice, and dedicated to Baron Antonio Mulazzani...

    £200

  20. MOLAJONI, Bartolomeo. 

    Alla neogama donzella Marianna Molajoni negli Sforza, Bartolomeo Molajoni germano dirigge il seguente sonetto...

    Viterbo, brothers Poggiarelli, 1811. 

    Seemingly unrecorded sonnet addressed to the newlywed Marianna Molajoni by her brother Bartolomeo and dedicated to the sottoprefetto of Viterbo, Giulio Zelli Pazzaglia. 

    £275