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. GART DER GESUNDHEIT.

    Mainz, Peter Schoeffer, 28 March 1485.

    First edition. The Mainz Gart der Gesundheit marks the beginning of scientific naturalism in botanical book illustration, representing a conspicuous departure from the iconographic conventions of earlier incunable herbals. It is the first book published by Schoeffer in a vernacular language, and for...

    £750

  2. [SOUZA, Adélaïde de].

    Charles et Marie. Par l’auteur d’Adèle de Senange.

    Paris, Maradan, 1802.

    First edition of this novel describing British society at the beginning of the 19th century, written in the form of an aristocratic young Englishman’s diary.

    £400

  3. OZEROV, Vladislav Aleksandrovich.

    Sochineniia … Chast’ pervaia [–vtoraia] [Works … Part one [–two]].

    St Petersburg, Imperial Theatre, 1817 [-1816].

    One of two rival collected editions published after Ozerov’s death in 1816, rare, including the first appearance of the author’s poetry and his last tragedy Poliksena; this is the grander and fuller edition, with a more generous format and more illustrations, and includes his four major tragedies,...

    £1800

  4. 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...

    £750

  5. [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

  6. DVIGUBSKII, Ivan Alekseevich.

    Opyt estestvennoi istorii vsekh zhivotnykh Rossiiskoi Imperii … S izobrazheniiami zhivotnykh. [Fly-title:]...

    Moscow, University Press, 1831

    First edition, rare, one of a series of six works on the flora and fauna of the Russian Empire, published 1829-1833 under the same general title. The present volume covers molluscs, including cephalopods and gastropods.

    £2000

  7. MESHCHERSKII, Elim Petrovich.

    Les roses noires par le prince Élim Mestscherskï.

    Paris, Amyot, 1845.

    First edition of this posthumous collection, which includes a short dramatisation of Pushkin’s The Gypsies, ‘un charmant poëme d’Alexandre Pouschkinn, le grand écrivain que pleure la Russie’.

    £600

  8. PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich. DUPONT, H. (translator).

    Oeuvres choisies... traduites pour la première fois en français... Tome...

    St Petersburg, chez Fd. Bellizard et Cie; Paris, Au comptoir des Imprimeurs-unis, 1847.

    First collected edition of Pushkin in French, preceded in French translation only by some individual poems and stories, and a translation of The Queen of Spades in 1843. This is one of the earliest major collections of Pushkin to appear outside Russia.

    £2500

  9. 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...

    £6500

  10. GOGOL’, Nikolai Vasil’evich.

    Tarass Boulba… traduit du russe par Louis Viardot.

    Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1853.

    First separate appearance of Gogol’s story in the French translation by Louis Viardot, published in the series ‘Bibliothèque des chemins de fer’. The translation had previously appeared in 1845 in the collection ‘Nouvelles russes’, where Turgenev is named as co-translator.

    £250

  11. PISEMSKII, Aleksei Feofilaktovich.

    Povesti i razskazy … v trekh chastiakh [Stories and tales … in three parts] …

    Moscow, Stepanova, 1853.

    Very rare first collected edition of the works of Pisemsky, including the first appearance in book form of many of his acclaimed early stories (Tiufiak (The Muff, translated into English as The Simpleton), Pitershchik (The Petersburger), Mr Batmanov, Brak po strasti (Marriage by Passion), and Komik (The...

    £4800

  12. 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.

    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 them Delvig’s...

    £325

  13. PISEMSKII, Aleksei Feofilaktovich.

    Ocherki iz krest’ianskago byta [Sketches from Peasant Life].

    St Petersburg, [A. Dmitriev,] 1856.

    First edition: ‘one of Pisemsky’s most universally acclaimed books’ (Moser, p. 54) and the one which cemented his reputation as ‘a chronicler of the life of the common people’ (Terras).

    £3000

  14. GRIGOROVICH, Dmitrii Vasil’evich.

    Povesti i razskazy … Chast’ pervaia [– shestaia] [Stories and tales. Part I [– VI]].

    Moscow, E. Barfknekht, 1858, & V. Grachev, 1859.

    First collected edition of Grigorovich’s fiction, including the important stories Derevnia (The Village, 1846), Anton Goremyka (1847), Rybaki (The Fishermen, 1853) and Shkola gostepriimstva (The School of Hospitality, 1855).

    £2000

  15. ROZENGEIM, Mikhail Pavlovich.

    Stikhotvoreniia [Poems] …

    St Petersburg, Artillery Department Press, 1858.

    First edition of Rozengeim’s first book, very rare, a collection of 76 poems of patriotic martial mood. Rozengeim (1820-1887) had published his first poems in 1837 in Syn Otechestva while at Cadet School (in the footsteps of Lermontov, six years his senior), but modesty and a long military career had...

    £2000

  16. PUSHKIN, Aleksandr Sergeevich.

    Sochineniia A. S. Pushkina. Tom pervyi [- shestoi + Prilozheniia]… Izdanie Ia. A. Isakova [The...

    St Petersburg, Eduard Prats, 1859-60.

    Third collected edition of the works of Pushkin, complete with the supplement volume compiled by Grigorii Gennadi; this is the first edition to be edited by Isakov. Very rare.

    £8000

  17. MUSSET, Alfred de.

    Rolla, poema … perevod N. P. Grekova [Rolla, a poem … translated by N. P. Grekov].

    Moscow, F. B. Miller, 1864.

    First edition in Russian of Musset’s Rolla (1833), a poetic reinterpretation of the Don Juan myth, translated by the poet Nikolai Porfir’evich Grekov (1810-1866). A bankrupt playboy decides to commit suicide, but first returns to a young prostitute to reflect on his wasted life. It is only as he...

    £1750

  18. TOLSTOY, Count Aleksei Konstantinovich.

    Smert’ Ioanna Groznago, tragediia v piati deistviiakh [The Death of Ivan the Terrible,...

    St Petersburg, Naval Ministry Press, 1866.

    First edition: the first in the great trilogy of plays by the foremost Russian historical dramatist. It was translated into English verse, ‘with the author’s permission’, in 1869.

    £2000

  19. LESKOV, Nikolai Semenovich.

    Soboriane. Stargorodskaia khronika [Cathedral Folk. Chronicle of Stargorod].

    Moscow, University Press, March - July 1872.

    The first appearance in print of all five parts of Leskov’s best known novel (or ‘chronicle’ as he preferred to call it), Cathedral Folk, published in instalments, between March and July 1872, in Russkii Vestnik. It first appeared in book form later the same year. In 1867 Leskov had begun publishing...

    £2500

  20. TURGENEV, Ivan Sergeevich.

    Sochineniia… (1844-1874.) Izdanie brat’ev Salaevykh. Chast’ pervaia [-vos’maia] [Works… (1844-1874)....

    Moscow, Grachev, 1874

    A handsome set of this rare lifetime edition of Turgenev’s works, the fourth to be published by the Moscow booksellers Ivan and Fyodor Salaev. This edition includes for the first time two of Turgenev’s later prose works, Spring Torrents (1873) and the autobiographical story Punin and Baburin (1874).

    £2750