Foreign Literature

Contact Donovan Rees or Joanna Skeels

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. 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.


  2. 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...


  3. 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.


  4. 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,...


  5. 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).


  6. 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.


  7. GUMILEV, Nikolai Stepanovich.

    Shater. Stikhi [The tent. Verses].

    Revel [i.e. Tallinn], “Bibliofil”, [1921].

    First illustrated edition. ‘The publishing house claims that this edition was made from the manuscript handed over by Gumilev in June 1921, the year he was arrested and executed. It contains more material than the [first edition published the same year]’ (Kilgour 427, note).


  8. GUMILEV, Nikolai Stepanovich, translator. GAUTIER, Théophile.

    Emali i kamei [Émaux et camées].

    [St Petersburg, M. V. Popov, 1914.]

    First edition, very rare: Gumilev’s first published volume of translation, and Gautier’s first appearance in Russian. This is the only contemporary edition; it first received a reprint (in a bilingual edition) some 75 years later.


  9. HEMINGWAY, Ernest.

    Imet’ i ne imet’ [To have and have not].

    Moscow, Goslitizdat, 1938.

    First edition in Russian of To have and have not (1937), with an introduction by the Soviet critic Ivan Anisimov. Hemingway’s first appearance in Russian was Death in the Afternoon in 1934, when he was praised in the Soviet Union as an active anti-Fascist, and he soon became a favourite foreign author...



    INTITIAL from a manuscript Gradual or Antiphonal; initial 'U' painted in rose red with elaborate white tracery, the...

    The stylized decoration and use of bright colours, including the deep blue grape motif, recalls the art of Ferrara at the end of the third quarter of the 15th century. Compare, for example, an initial in a Bible painted for the Este family by Taddeo Crivelli (active from 1451, died 1479) which is now...


  11. IVANOV, Georgii Vladimirovich.


    Petrograd, [“Mysl’”], 1922.

    First edition: Ivanov’s last collection of poems before his emigration. ‘Never regularly employed and having made many illwishers through his penchant pour épatage, Ivanov led the last years of his life in semi-starvation, … and died in misery and desperation. Only recently has he begun to be...


  12. IVANOV, Viacheslav Ivanovich.

    Mladenchestvo [Infancy].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1918.

    First edition. The poet, translator, critic and scholar Vyacheslav Ivanov (1866–1949) was one of the leaders of the Symbolist movement and its principal theorist. This, his contribution to the new Symbolist genre of autobiographical ‘long poem’ (poema in Russian, a form made popular by Pushkin...


  13. IVANOV, Viacheslav Ivanovich.

    Prometei. Tragediia [Prometheus. A tragedy].

    St Petersburg, “Alkonost”, 1919.

    First edition of Ivanov’s dramatic poem Prometheus, which follows the form of Greek tragedy. The plot is a restatement of classical myth in terms of Ivanov’s Neoplatonic philosophy.


  14. IVANOV, Vsevolod Viacheslavovich, and Viktor Borisovich SHKLOVSKII.

    Iprit. Roman. Vypusk I [– IX] [Mustard Gas. A novel. Parts...

    Moscow, Gosizdat, [1925].

    First edition, a complete set of a rare satirical science fiction novel, issued serially. Ivanov (1895–1963) and Shklovsky (1893–1984) both had connections to the literary group the Serapion Brothers, who upheld the creed that art must be independent of political ideology. Iprit is a parody of Soviet...


  15. KAFKA, Franz.

    Frants Kafka: roman, novelly, pritchi [Franz Kafka: a novel [The Trial], novellas, parables].

    Moscow, “Progress”, 1965.

    First edition in Russian of Der Prozess, part of the ‘recent unprecendented publication’ (Struc) of Kafka in Russian. Also published here are a number of short stories, some of which had previously appeared in Ukrainian and Russian in Soviet periodicals. The translators include R. Rait-Kovaleva,...


  16. KAMENSKII, Vasilii Vasilievich.

    Emel’ian Pugachev, poema. Graviury na dereve N. P. Dmitrevskogo [Emelyan Pugachev, a poem. Wood...

    [Leningrad], “Molodaia Gvardiia”, 1931.

    First edition of Kamensky’s long narrative poem, preceded by a play on the same subject in 1925. The Don Cossack Emelyan Pugachev claimed to be Catherine the Great’s husband, Peter III, assassinated in 1762, and led a peasant revolt in 1773-4. Pugachev was a favourite Bolshevik theme, and the present...


  17. KAPITSA, Olga and Yuri VASNETSOV.

    Зайка [Little Hare] .

    Leningrad, Detizdat Ts K VLKSM, 1936.

    First edition of this collection of eleven traditional folk tales and songs about the hare and his encounters with huntsmen, foxes and other animals, charmingly written by Olga Kapitsa and illustrated by Yuri Vasnetsov, one of Russia’s leading artists of children’s books.
    Worldcat finds two...


  18. KARAMZIN, Nikolai Mikhailovich.

    Verhalen… Uit het Hoogduitsch vertaald.

    Leyden, P. H. Trap, 1808.

    First edition in Dutch of four of Karamzin’s most important short prose narratives: Natal’ya, boyarskaya doch’ (Natalya, the Boyar’s daughter, 1792), Evgenii i Yuliya (Evgeniy and Julia, 1789), Bednaya Liza (Poor Lisa, 1792), and Frol Silin: blagodetel'nyi chelovek (Frol Silin, a Virtuous Man,...


  19. 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...


  20. KHARMS, Daniil Ivanovich, translator. BUSCH, Wilhelm.

    Plikh i Pliukh [Plisch und Plum].

    Moscow, Detizdat, 1937.

    First edition in book form, very rare, of Daniil Kharms’s Russian free verse translation of the children’s story by Wilhelm Busch about two mischievous dogs, second only in fame to his Max und Moritz. The translation had been first published in the children’s magazine Chizh in 1936 (nos. 8-12),...