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. AKHMATOVA, Anna Andreevna, translator.

    Golosa poetov. Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov v perevode Anny Akhmatovoi [Poets’...

    Moscow, “Progress”, 1965.

    First edition: translations by Akhmatova of a selection of pieces by Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian, Norwegian, and Indian poets.


  2. ASCHEHOUG, Torkel Halvorsen.

    Social-økonomik: en videnskabelig fremstilling af det menneskelige samfunds økonomiske virksomhed.

    Christiania, H. Aschehoug, 1903–1908.

    First edition of a systematic handbook on economics written by the Norwegian lawyer, political scientist, politician, historian, and economist Torkel Halvorsen Aschehoug (1822–1909).


  3. AVGERINOS, Hypatios.

    Πονηµατα δραµατικα.

    [Ponemata dramatika.] Trieste, Austrian Lloyd, 1849.

    Very rare first edition of Avgerinos’ dramas of Greek Romanticism, three pieces uniting sentiments of nationalism, liberty, and philhellenism with aesthetic and literary reflections on the style and scope of dramatic poetry.


  4. BIEBL, Konstantin.

    Zloděj z Bagdadu [The thief of Baghdad].

    Prague, Hyperion, 1925.

    First edition, a collection of fourteen poems.


  5. [BLIXEN, Karen.] DINESEN, Isak, pseud.

    Babettes Gaestebud [Babette’s Feast].

    Copenhagen, Forlaget Fremad, [1952].

    First edition in book form of Babette’s Feast by Danish author Karen Blixen (1885–1962), author of Out of Africa.


  6. HERBERT, Zbigniew.

    Struna Światła [String of light].

    [Warsaw], Czytelnik, [1956].

    Rare first edition of the influential Polish poet, playwright and essayist’s first book, a collection of forty poems printed in an edition of 1205 copies under the title String of light.


  7. KOLLÁR, Jan. 

    Díla básnická … we dwau djljch [‘A Collection of Poems … in two parts’]. 

    Buda, no publisher, but ‘with the types Gyuriána a Bagó’, 1845. 

    First collected edition of Jan Kollár’s works, inscribed to fellow poet and ‘brother Slav’ Ognjeslav Utješenowić-Ostrožinski, with an additional autograph sonnet written in his honour. 


  8. KUNDERA, Milan.

    Smĕšné lásky. Tři melancholické anekdoty.

    Prague, Československý spisovatel, 1963.

    First edition of all three volumes of the trilogy which makes up Kundera’s early collection of short stories, Laughable Loves. ‘My writing took flight with the first story for Laughable Loves. This was my Opus 1. Everything I'd written prior to it can be considered prehistory’...


  9. KUNDERA, Milan.

    Žert [The Joke].

    Prague, Československý spisovatel, 1967.

    First edition of Kundera’s first novel, The Joke, which gives a satirical account of the political atmosphere in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s.


  10. LAGERLÖF, Selma.

    Bannlyst. En berättelse.

    Stockholm, Albert Bonniers Förlag, [1918].

    First edition: Lagerlöf’s pacifist novel, The Outcast, published towards the end of 1918, in which she argues for a re-examination of the state of modern Western society.


  11. NEZVAL, Vítězslav.

    Veliký Orloj [The Great Clock].

    Prague, Fr. Borový, 1949.

    First edition, a lengthy collection of poems inscribed by Nezval to his sisters and dated 11/4/1949.


  12. PITTER, Přemysl.

    Domovu i exilu [Home and Exile].

    London, Čechoslovák-FCI, [1956].

    First editions, association copies, of a series of radio transcripts by the humanitarian Protestant lay preacher and educator Přemysl Pitter (1895–1976), often described as the ‘forgotten Czech Schindler’, owned by the Czech-Jewish poet, novelist, and Holocaust survivor H.G. Adler.


  13. PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich.

    Můj rodokmen [My genealogy].

    [Prague, Průmyslová tiskárna, 1937.]

    First edition, privately printed, of this Czech translation of Pushkin’s Moia rodoslovnaia (‘My genealogy’, 1830), the great Russian poet’s defence of his ancestry against some recent racial slurs. The fine illustrations are by Karel Svolinský (1896–1986), who is best known...


  14. [PUSHKIN, Alexander.]

    LÉNSTRÖM, Carl Julius. Alexander Puschkin. Rysslands Byron. Ett Skaldeporträtt … första [-sednare]...

    Uppsala, Leffler och Sebell; 1841.

    First edition, very rare, of a study of Pushkin by the Swedish literary historian C. J. Lénström delivered at the Gustavian Auditorium on 8 December 1841.


  15. RADIUS, J.

    S. C. de. Characteristic Features of Russian and Slavic Poetry, with Specimens, translated by English Authors …

    London, printed by Seyfang & Co. [for the author], 1854.

    First and only edition. This little book contains what must be some of the earliest translations of Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Slovak, and Sorb verse into English. It certainly offers an early example of comparative Slavonic studies. Most of the specimens, however, are Russian, among...


  16. SHAKESPEARE, William; Mihály VÖRÖSMARTY, translator.

    Lear Király …

    Pest, Landerer & Heckenastn, 1856.

    First edition of the first translation of King Lear into Hungarian.


  17. STRINDBERG, August.

    Tschandala. Berättelse fran 1600–talet.

    Stockholm, C. & E. Gernandts Förlags, 1897.

    First Swedish edition: a Gothic tale, set in Skane thirty years after the Swedes took the province from the Danes in 1658.


  18. STRINDBERG, Johan August.


    Stockholm, Albert Bonniers Förlag, [1909].

    First separate edition of a collection of poems which was first published in the collection Fagervik och Skamsund in 1902.