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. ERENBURG, 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 in the south-eastern...

    £200

  2. ERENBURG, Il’ia Grigorievich.

    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 (b. 1898) in pencil, covering the title-page: ‘To dear Varvara Vladimirovna Alekseeva-Meskhieva, from the heart, Ehrenburg. On the eve of departure...

    £2000

  3. 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. An old gardener watches sadly as the orchard he cared for and the manor house of the old owners are turned over to a Soviet orphanage and fall into neglect. In the end the gardener...

    £1100

  4. FEDIN, Konstantin Aleksandrovich.

    Goroda i gody. Roman [Cities and years. A novel].

    Leningrad, Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo, 1924.

    First edition of Fedin’s autobiographical first novel, Cities and Years, an intense exploration of war and its aftermath, and the role of the intelligentsia in the inevitable revolution looming over society. The cities of the title are Berlin and Moscow, and the years those of the First World War and...

    £1200

  5. 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

  6. GLOBA, Andrei Pavlovich.

    Korabli izdaleka [Ships from Afar].

    Moscow & Petrograd, 1922.

    First edition, an early collection by Globa (1888–1964), a popular Soviet writer whose poetry became well known as song lyrics.

    £100

  7. [GOETHE.] ECKERMANN, Johann Peter.

    Razgovory Gete sobrannye Ekkermannom. Perevod s nemetskago D[mitriia] V[asil’evicha] Averkieva....

    St Petersburg, A. S. Suvorin, 1891.

    Rare first edition in Russian of Eckermann’s famous Gespräche mit Goethe (1836/48); a second edition followed in 1905.

    £1500

  8. 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

  9. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    [Cover title:] Byvshie liudi [Former people, translated into English...

    St. Petersburg, “Znanie”, 1906.

    First edition in book form, very rare, of a powerful, darkly comic fable. It had first appeared over two issues of Novoe Slovo in October-November 1897; here it is reissued as no. 18 in a series of 32 Gorky stories issued by his publishing concern ‘Znanie’ while he was in exile after the 1905 Revolution.

    £1500

  10. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    Zhaloby [Complaints].

    N.p., Rabochee Knigoizdatel’stvo, 1916.

    An ephemeral publication of a short story by Gorky, first published in 4 parts in Berlin, 1910-1911. OCLC records three copies only: at University of California Riverside, Washington University, and National Library of Australia.

    £200

  11. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    V stepi. – Druzhki [On the Steppes. – The friends].

    Moscow, “Rodnaia rech’”, 1916

    An ephemeral edition of two early short stories. ‘V stepi’ tells the dark story of three vagrants in the Crimea, the narrator, an ex-soldier and an ex-student. Desperate for food they rob and kill a fellow traveller in the night, but the narrator refuses any moral responsibilty for the events: ‘we...

    £200

  12. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    V liudiakh [In the world].

    St Petersburg, “Parus”, 1918.

    First edition printed in Russia of the second volume of Gorky’s memoirs, first published in Berlin in 1916. It was preceded by Childhood (1913) and followed by My university years (1923). ‘Gorky reached the apogee of his creative powers in his autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, In the World and...

    £500

  13. [GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov] and Nikolai Stepanovich GUMILEV.]

    Ballady o Robin Gude [Ballads of...

    St Petersburg, “Vsemirnaia Literatura”, 1919.

    First edition: 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 10 pp. introduction by Gorky. After discussing the paradox of the ‘good’ robber in literature...

    £900

  14. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    Delo Artamonovykh [The Artamonov business].

    Berlin, “Kniga”, 1925.

    First edition. ‘[Gorky’s] best novel, The Artamonov Business (1925), follows the Artamonovs through three generations, from the uneducated grandfather, a strong and enterprising, lusty patriarch who starts a small factory and builds it into a major industrial plant, to a grandson, an intellectual...

    £450

  15. GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    Starik. P’esa. [The old man. A play].

    Berlin, J. Ladyschnikow, n. d. [1921].

    First edition, written 1915, but not premiered until New Year’s Day 1919.

    £250

  16. GOR’KII, Maxim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    Katalog izdatel’stva “Vsemirnaia Literatura” pri narodnom komissariate...

    St Petersburg, “Vsemirnaia Literatura”, 1919.

    A catalogue marking the launch of a series of popular editions of the classics of world literature by the publishing house ‘Vsemirnaia Literatura’ (‘World Literature’), established by Gorky in 1919. Following a preface by Gorky, printed in Russian, French, English, and German, the catalogue lists...

    £650

  17. GORKY, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].

    V Amerike. Ocherki [In America. Sketches].

    Berlin, J. Ladyschnikow Verlag, [1918].

    Second edition (first, 1906): Gorky’s impressions of America after his visit there in 1906 to collect funds for the Party.

    £300

  18. GORODETSKII, Sergei Mitrofanovich.

    Iva. Piataia kniga stikhov [Willow. A fifth book of verse].

    St Petersburg, “Shipovnik”, 1913.

    First edition. Well received by the critics, this, the fifth collection from the co-founder of the Poets’ Guild and Acmeist movement, includes poems about the life of religious wanderers, pilgrims and the world of monasteries, as well as several children’s stories. Of his friend and collaborator,...

    £200

  19. 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

  20. GUMILEV, Nikolai Stepanovich.

    Farforovyi pavil’on. Kitaiskie Stikhi [The Porcelain Pavilion. Chinese poems].

    Petrograd, “Mysl’”, 1922.

    Second edition (first 1918) of Gumilev’s paraphrases of Chinese and Indonesian lyrics, published the year after his death.

    £100