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. 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. ‘ALEICHEM, Sholem’, pseud. [Solomon Naumovich RABINOVICH].

    Sholom Aleikhem. Perevod s evreiskago S. Orlonskoi. Za sovetom....

    St Petersburg, M.G. Kornfel’d, 1911.

    Very rare first edition in Russian of three humorous stories by the ‘Jewish Mark Twain’, the Ukrainian-born author and playwright Sholem Aleichem, now probably best remembered through the musical based on his stories, Fiddler on the Roof.


  3. ALEKSANDROVA, Zinaida and Dmitry GORLOV.

    Мишкины соседи [Little Bear’s neighbours].

    Moscow, VLKSM Izdatelstvo Detskoi Literaturi, 1936.

    First edition. A very nice copy of this collection of verses for young children, composed by one of the most prolific Soviet children’s poets, and illustrated by one of the most prolific of Soviet children’s artists. The tales tell of the lives of a selection of farm and wild animals, including...


  4. [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.


  5. ANDREEV, Leonid Nikolaevich.

    Tsar Golod. Predstavlenie v piati kartinakh s prologom [King Hunger. A play in five scenes with...

    [St Petersburg,] ‘Shipovnik’, 1908.

    First edition of this play by one of the most popular writers in Russia during the first decade of the twentieth century: Andreev’s fame ‘was almost on a par with that of Chekhov and Gorky. The fact remains that his talent and topical themes, his literary techniques combining tradition and...


  6. APUKHTIN, Aleksei Nikolaevich.

    Stikhotvoreniia [Poems].

    St Petersburg, F.S. Sushchinsky, 1886.

    First edition of Apukhtin’s first collection of poems, including works set to music by, among others, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.


  7. BABEL’, Isaak Emmanuilovich.

    Stat’i i materialy [Articles and materials].

    Leningrad, “Academia”, 1928.

    First edition, from the ‘Academia’ series ‘Masters of Contemporary Literature’, including an autobiographical sketch by Babel, and three biographical or critical essays by Nikolai Stepanov, P.I. Novitsky and G.A. Gukovsky, plus a list of Babel’s works. Other writers in the series included Zoshchenko,...


  8. BAL’MONT, Konstantin Dmitrievich, translator. CALDERÓN, Pedro.

    [Half-title:] Sochineniia Kal’derona perevod s ispanskago [The...

    [Moscow, M. and S. Sabashnikov, 1900-1902-1912].

    First edition of all three volumes of Balmont’s translations from Calderon, comprising: El purgatorio de San Patricia (volume I); La vida es sueño, La devoción de la cruz, El príncipe constante and Amar despues de la muerte (volume II); and El médico de su...


  9. BAL’MONT, Konstantin Dmitrievich.

    Iz Mirovoi Poezii [From the world’s poetry].

    [Berlin], “Slovo”, 1921.

    First edition: Bal’mont’s translations into Russian of a selection of poems by Rustaveli, Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Poe, Rossetti, Whitman, Tennyson, Goethe, Heine, Leopardi, Baudelaire, and others.


  10. BALZAC, Honoré de, and Fedor Kuz’mich SOLOGBUB, pseud. [Fedor TETERNIKOV], translator.

    Ozornye skazki [Contes...

    Petersburg, “Poliarnaia Zvezda”, 1922.

    First edition, very rare, of Sologub’s translation of two of Balzac’s satirical Contes drolatiques, ‘The fair Imperia’ and ‘The fair Imperia married’.


  11. 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...


  12. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [Boris Nikolaevich BUGAEV].

    Korolevna i rytsari. Skazki [The king’s daughter and the knights....

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1919.

    First edition. The majority of this collection of poems was written between 1909 and 1915, and can be seen, according to Bely, as ‘a transition from the gloomy despair of The Urn [1909] to the consciousness of The Star [not published until 1922]; awakening from the unconsciousness of...


  13. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [Boris Nikolaevich BUGAEV].

    Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

    Berlin, “Epokha”, 1922.

    First edition of these poems by Bely, written between 1904 and 1918.


  14. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [Boris Nikolaevich BUGAEV].

    Posle razluki. Berlinskii pesennik [After the parting. A Berlin book...

    St Petersburg & Berlin, “Epokha”, [1922].

    First edition. Published the same year as Glossalolia, Bely’s ‘theory of the origin of the universe based on sound’, this collection is another illustration of the poet’s continued acoustic interests.


  15. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [Boris Nikolaevich BUGAEV].

    Tragediia tvorchestva. Dostoevskii i Tolstoi [The Tragedy of Creation....

    [Moscow,] “Musaget”, [1911].

    First edition of Bely’s important essay on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.


  16. [BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [Boris Nikolaevich BUGAEV], et al.]

    Kak my pishem [How we write].

    Leningrad, Izdatel’stvo pisatelei, [1930].

    First edition of these sketches on the art of writing, published as an aid to young writers, with contributions from Bely, Gorky, Zamyatin, Zoshchenko, Kaverin, Lavrenev, Libedinsky, Nikitin, Pilnyak, Slonimsky, Tikhonov, Aleksei Tolstoy, Tynyanov, Fedin, Olga Forsh, Chapygin, Shishkov, and Shklovsky.


  17. BELYI, Andrei, pseud. [i.e. Boris Nikolaevich BUGAEV].

    Zapiski chudaka. Tom pervyi [– vtoroi] [Notes of an eccentric....

    Moscow and Berlin, “Helikon”, 1922.

    First edition of Bely’s Notes of an eccentric, a thinly veiled autobiographical memoir or ‘diary in story form’.


  18. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

    [St Petersburg], “Otechestvo”, 1915.

    First edition of a rare volume of poems, collected and published as a separate book by the patriotic journal Otechestvo.


  19. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.


    Berlin, “Skify”, [1920].

    First edition: a comic one-act dialogue variously between a Poet in love, a Fool, and a Courtier, written towards the end of Blok’s life.


  20. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    O sovremennom sostoianii russkogo simvolizma [On the current state of Russian symbolism].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1921.

    First edition, a lecture read by Blok in April 1910 before the Society of Zealots of the Artistic Word, a discussion group formed by Gumilev, Blok and others in 1909.