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. BLOK, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich.

    Vozmezdie [Retribution].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1922.

    First edition of Blok’s verse epic, on which he worked from 1910 until his death in 1921. Fragments were published during his lifetime, but the poem did not appear in its entirety until this posthumous edition.


  2. [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.


  3. 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.


  4. BRIUSOV, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Kratkii kurs nauki o stikhe ... Chast’ pervaia. Chastnaia metrika i ritmika russkago iazyka [A...

    Moscow, “Al’tsiona”, 1919.

    Very rare first edition, the only chapter to be published of Briusov’s ‘short course in the study of poetry’.


  5. BRIUSOV, Valerii Iakovlevich.

    Mig. Stikhi 1920–1921 g. [The Instant. Verses of 1920–1921].

    Berlin and St Petersburg, Z.I. Grzhebin, 1922.

    First edition. The post-Revolutionary period, spanning the years shortly before his death in 1924, was one of intense poetic activity for Bryusov. Of the work from this period, ‘several poems are devoted to recent history and current events – to the Revolution, the famine years, the death...


  6. BRODSKII, Iosif Aleksandrovich.

    Novye stansy k Avguste. Stikhi k M.B., 1962-1982 [New stanzas to Augusta. Poems to M.B., 1962-1982]....

    [Soviet Union, c. 1983].

    A rare samizdat of Joseph Brodsky’s poems, prepared in typescript for clandestine circulation in the Soviet Union at a time when his works could not be published or circulated there.


  7. BULGAKOV, Mikhail Afanas’evich.

    Dni Turbinykh. Posledenie dni (A.S. Pushkin) [The Days of the Turbins. The Last Days (A.S....

    Moscow, “Iskusstvo”, 1955.

    First complete edition. The Days of the Turbins was Bulgakov’s most important play, and the one on which his lasting reputation as a dramatist depends.


  8. BULGAKOV, Mikhail Afanasievich.

    Sbornik rasskazov [Collection of Stories.]

    New York, Chekhov Publishing House, 1952.

    First edition in book form of a collection of four short stories: Rokovye iaitsa (‘The fatal eggs’), D’iavoliada (‘Diaboliad’), Dom no. 13 (‘House No. 13’), and Pokhozhdeniia Chichikova (‘The Adventures of Chichikov’).


  9. BULYGIN, Pavel Petrovich.

    Iantari. Stikhotvoreniia [Ambers. Poems.]

    Riga, M. Didkovska, [1937].

    First and only edition of a posthumous collection by the émigré poet Pavel Petrovich Bulygin (1896-1936).


  10. BUTURLIN, Petr Dmitrievich, Count.

    Sonety. Posmertnoe izdanie [Sonnets. Posthumous edition].

    [Kiev, Frontskevich,] 1895.

    First edition: fifty-seven sonnets by the diplomat and poet Count Pyotr Buturlin (1859-1895).


  11. 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.



    Chtets-deklamator. Khudozhestvennyi sbornik stikhotvorenii razskazov i monologov dlia chteniia v divertismentakh,...

    [Kiev, I.I. Samonenko, 1906.]

    Ivan and Fyodor Samonenko’s hugely popular series . There were at least 12 editions before the Revolution, highlighting Russia’s passion for performance at the time. The first volume, containing lyric poetry and humorous verse, had appeared in 1902. A second volume, in 1905, of which this...


  13. [DANIEL, Iulii Markovich] Nikolai ARZHAK, pseud.

    Govorit Moskva. Povest’ [This is Moscow Speaking. A Story].

    Washington, Filipoff, 1962.

    First edition, printed in Germany, of one of the books which led directly to Daniel’s arrest and trial in 1966.


  14. 'DON-AMINADO', pseud. [Aminad Petrovich SHPOLIANSKII].

    Neskuchnyi sad [Bare garden].

    Paris, [Imprimerie E.I.R.P.,] 1935.

    First edition, no. 38 of 150 copies, a poetical collection by the émigré poet, satirist and feuilletonist Aminad Shpolyansky.


  15. 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.



    Krai ottsov [Land of the fathers].

    Berlin, Parabola, [1934?].

    First edition: a collection of poems.


  17. EHRENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    Ogon’ [Fire].

    [Gomel], “Veka i Dni”, 1919.

    First edition. Although primarily known in the West as a prose writer and journalist (his novel Ottepel’ (The Thaw, 1954) coined the term for the era in the post-Stalin period), Ehrenburg (1891–1967) in fact wrote poetry all his life. The title for this collection, published...


  18. EHRENBURG, Ilya Grigorievich.

    Огонь [‘Ogon’; ‘Fire’].

    [Gomel,] “Veka i Dni”, 1919.

    First edition of this collection of poems, with a long signed presentation inscription in Russian on title-page to the actress Varvara Alekseeva-Meskhieva in pencil, covering the title-page: ‘To dear Varvara Vladimirovna Alekseeva-Meskhieva, from the heart, Ehrenburg. On the eve of departure...


  19. [EL CID.] CHUDINOV, Aleksandr, translator.

    Poema i izbrannye romansy o Side v perevodakh russkikh pisatelei. Ispanskii narodnyi...

    St Petersburg, Glazunov, 1897.

    First edition of a prose translation into Russian of Cantar de mio Cid, preceded only by a ‘short retelling’ of 1864 by Fyodor Buslaev.


  20. FEDIN, Konstantin Aleksandrovich.

    Sad [The Orchard].

    Petrograd, 1922.

    Rare first edition of Konstantin Fedin’s first book, a short story which was awarded first prize by the House of Writers.