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. LEBEDEV, V.P.

    175 godovshchina Pervago Kadetskago korpusa. 17 fevralia 1907 g. [175th Anniversary of the First Corps of Cadets,...

    [St Petersburg,] Press of the First Corps of Cadets, 1906.

    Only edition of this collection of poems commemorating the 175th anniversary of the First Corps of Cadets, set up under Anna Ivanovna. Each of the ten ‘scenes in verse’ is narrated by a cadet, once for each Tsar under which the Corps has served.


  2. [PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich (contributor).]

    Сѣверные цвѣты на 1825 годъ [Severnye tsvety na 1825...

    St Petersburg, Department of Public Education, 1825 [Moscow, Universitetskaia tip., 1881].

    Rare nineteenth-century Moscow reprint of the exceptionally rare first issue of Northern flowers, one of the most celebrated Russian literary anthologies, edited by Pushkin’s great friend Delvig. The 1825 issue included the first appearance of four passages from part ii of Eugene...


  3. KARAMZIN, Nikolai Mikhailovich.

    Aglaja. Romantische und historische Erzählungen. Nach dem Russischen des Karamzin herausgegeben...

    Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1819.

    First appearance of a collection of eight prose pieces by Karamzin (1766–1826) in German translation. Although the work takes the title of the first Russian literary almanac, Aglaia, published by Karamzin in two volumes, 1794–5, it is actually a selection of pieces by Karamzin taken both from Aglaia...


  4. KUSIKOV, Aleksandr Borisovich, pseud. [Boris KUSIKIAN].

    Al’-barrak. Poemy.

    Berlin, “Skify”, 1922.

    First edition, containing five poems on Islamic themes: ‘Al-Barrak’, ‘Al-Kadr’, ‘Julfikar’, ‘Iskandar Namah’ (1921), and ‘Ko-gospel-ran’.


  5. [PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich.]

    Al’bom Pushkinskoi Iubileinoi Vystavki v Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk v S. Peterburg, Mai 1899...

    Moscow, K.A. Fisher, 1899.

    The catalogue of an exhibition to celebrate the centenary of Pushkin’s birth, held at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg.


  6. [BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.] ASHUKIN, Nikolai Sergeevich.

    Aleksandr Blok. Sinkhronisticheskie tablitsy zhizni i tvorchestva...

    Moscow, “Novaia Moskva”, 1923.

    First edition: a chronology of Blok’s life and a bibliography of his works, together with a list of secondary literature.


  7. KUZMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich.

    Aleksandriiskiia pesni [Alexandrian songs].

    St Petersburg, “Prometei”, [1921].

    First separate edition of Kuzmin’s Alexandrian Songs, originally published as part of his first collection, Nets, in 1908.


  8. [ALMANACK.]

    Al’manakh dlia vsekh. Kniga vtoraia [Almanack for all. Second book].

    St Petersburg, “Novyi zhurnal dlia vsekh”, 1911.

    First edition, rare, the second of two annual literary almanacks with this title, with poems by Blok, Gorodetsky and Kuzmin, and short fiction by Chulkov, Gusev, Count Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoy and Ivan Poroshin.


  9. SOLZHENITSYN, Aleksandr Isaevich.

    Amerikanskiie rechi [American speeches].

    Paris, YMCA, 1975.

    First edition, comprising three speeches delivered by Solzhenitsyn to the American people in 1975.


  10. BELISHEVA, S. P., translator.

    ‘An die Fantasie, aus dem russischen.’ Manuscript on paper of an apparently unrecorded poem in...

    Germany, c. 1830

    A contemporary manuscript of an early 19th century Russian poem, translated into German, and signed by the, possibly pseudonymous, translator ‘Fräulein S. P. Belischef’. We have been unable to identify the original poem, in praise of poetic imagination and the heights it can attain, from which the...


  11. RAFALOVICH, Sergei L’vovich.

    Avgust. Stikhotvoreniia [August. Poems].

    Berlin, L.D. Frenkel, 1924.

    First edition: a rare collection from the prolific if little-known poet and theatre critic, including a piece on the death of Blok.


  12. [GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [Aleksei Maksimovich PESHKOV], and Nikolai Stepanovich GUMILEV.]

    Ballady o Robin Gude...

    St Petersburg, “Vsemirnaia Literatura”, 1919.

    First edition, very rare, of a collection of translations of twelve popular songs featuring Robin Hood, published in the early Soviet series Vsemirnaia Literaura (‘Worldwide Literature’), edited by Gumilev and with a ten-page introduction by Gorky.


  13. OSTROVSKII, Aleksandr Nikolaevich.

    Bednaia Nevesta, komediia v piati deistviiakh [The poor bride, a comedy in five acts].

    Moscow, Stepanova, 1852

    First edition. A rare early play by one of the leading Russian playwrights of the 19th century. Ostrovsky’s second play, The Poor Bride, was first published in the literary magazine The Muscovite (edited by Mikhail Pogodin) earlier in 1852. Initially banned from production by the censor, it was one...


  14. LEONOV, Leonid Maksimovich.

    Begstvo Mistera Mak-Kinli. Kinopovest’ [Mr MacKinley’s Flight. A Screen-play].

    Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1963.

    First edition of Leonov’s screenplay satirising Western capitalist society, used by Mikhail Shveister in 1975 for his film of the same name, with a presentation inscription from the author on the front endleaf, signed and dated 1964.


  15. SALTYKOV-SHCHEDRIN, Mikhail Yevgrafovich.

    Blagonamerennyia rechi. Tom I [– II] [Well-meaning speeches. Volume I [–II]].

    St Petersburg, A.A. Kraevsky, 1876.

    First edition of these social and political satires by the greatest satirist of nineteenth-century Russia. The title is ambiguous – the word ‘well-meaning’ was widely used by the administration to mean ‘loyal’, i.e. ‘politically reliable’.


  16. BOCCACCIO, Giovanni, and Mikhail Alekseevich KUZMIN (translator).

    Bokkachch’o. Fiametta. Per. M. Kuzmina [Boccaccio....

    St Petersburg, M.G. Kornfel’d, 1913.

    Extremely rare first edition of Kuzmin’s translation of Boccaccio’s Fiammetta.


  17. MARKISH, Peretz Davidovich.

    Brat’ia [Brothers].

    Moscow, Goslitizdat, 1935.

    First edition in Russian of Markish’s epic poem Brider (Brothers, Kiev, 1929), an optimistic work glorifying the Communist regime.


  18. PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich.

    Bumagi … Vypusk pervyi [all published] [Papers … First Part].

    Moscow, University Press (M. Katkov), 1881.

    First edition of Pushkin’s collected papers, edited by P.I. Bartenev, the first (and at that time only) person allowed access to them.


  19. SHERSHENEVICH, Vadim Gabrielevich.

    Bystr’. Monologicheskaia drama [Rapids. A monological drama].

    Moscow, “Pleiady”, 1916.

    First edition, one of 500 numbered copies, of this verse drama from the radical young writer Shershenevich (1893–1942).


  20. CHACHIKOV, Aleksandr Mikhailovich.


    Moscow, Moscow Guild of Poets, 1927.

    First edition of a collection which highlights the poet’s interest in the Caucasus and other (non-Russian) parts of the Soviet Union, often employing foreign words in the poems.