Foreign Literature

Contact Donovan Rees

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. KRASNOV, Petr Nikolaevich.

    “Largo”. Roman

    [‘Largo’. A Novel.]. [with:]

    First edition, a trilogy of novels set among the Russian émigré community in Paris. ‘Largo’ was the most successful, translated into English (in 1932), German, Italian and Czech.


  2. KRASNOV, Petr Nikolaevich.

    Nenavist’. Roman [Hatred. A Novel].

    Paris, E. Siial’skaia, [1934].

    First edition, one of 1000 copies on normal paper from an edition of 1007. It was also translated into German and Italian.


  3. KRASNOV, Petr Nikolaevich.

    Domoi! (na l’gote). Roman [Homewards! (On leave). A novel].

    Paris, V. Siial’skii, [1936].

    First edition, one of a 1000 copies on normal paper from an edition of 1002; a novel of soldiers on leave.


  4. KRUCHENYKH, Aleksei Eliseevich.

    Zaumnyi iazyk u: Seifullinoi, Vs. Ivanova, Leonova, Babelia, I. Sel’vinskogo, A. Veselogo, i...

    Moscow, Publishing house of the All-Russian Union of Poets, 1925.

    First edition, a critical study of six poets by ‘the most effective theoretician of cubo-futurism and its most loyal and consistent advocate of transrational language … or the destruction of meaning in poetry … For Kruchonykh, transrational language also reflected the confusion and chaos of modern...


  5. KUSIKOV, Aleksandr Borisovich, pseud. [i.e. Boris Kusikian].

    Koevangelieran [Ko-gospel-ran].

    Moscow, “Imazhinisty”, 1920.

    First edition. It is difficult to piece together a cohesive picture of Aleksandr Kusikov. His romanticized self-image was one of a wild mountain-dweller, and the Circassian trappings with which he surrounded himself (he was born in 1896 in Armavir to a large Armenian family called Kusikian) were clearly...


  6. KUSIKOV, Aleksandr Borisovich, pseud. [i.e. Boris Kusikian].

    Al’-barrak. Poemy.

    Berlin, “Skify”, 1922.

    First edition, containing five poems on Islamic themes: ‘Al-Barrak’, ‘Al-Kadr’, ‘Julfikar’, ‘Iskandar Namah’ (1921), and ‘Ko-gospel-ran’.


  7. KUZMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich.

    Komedii [Comedies].

    St Petersburg, “Ory”, 1908.

    First edition of one of Kuzmin’s earliest publications, a collection of three comedies on historical, pseudo-religious themes: ‘O Evdokii iz Geliopolia’ (On Eudoxia of Heliopolis), ‘O Aleksee cheloveke Bozh’em’ (On Alexis the man of God), and ‘O Martiniane’ (On Martinian).


  8. KUZMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich, translator. BOCCACCIO.

    Bokkachch’o. Fiametta. Per. M. Kuzmina [Boccaccio. Fiammetta. Translated...

    St Petersburg, M. G. Kornfel’d, 1913.

    Extremely rare first edition of Kuzmin’s translation of Boccaccio’s Fiammetta. ‘The Fiammetta is the first prose romance in which the heroine is made the narrator, and in which the vicissitudes of sentiment are the matter of the story... Boccaccio is the inventor of one of the principal types of...


  9. KUZMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich.

    Aleksandriiskiia pesni [Alexandrian songs].

    St Petersburg, “Prometei”, [1921].

    First separate edition of Kuzmin’s Alexandrian Songs, originally published as part of his first collection, Nets, in 1908. ‘Kuzmin’s fame as a poet rests largely with his cycle “Alexandrian Songs” (1905–1908). These are love poems with different personas, male and female, mostly homoerotic,...


  10. KUZMIN, Mikhail Alekseevich.

    Lesok. Liricheskaia poema dlia muzyki s ob”iasnitel’noi prozoi v trekh chastiakh [The Grove. A...

    [Petrograd, “Neopalimaia kupina”, 1922].

    First edition: copy no. 1 of a numbered edition of 500 copies. ‘The three ‘Groves’ presented here offer a trio of musical pieces of the chamber style, united by poetic content. All the sections written in the form of poetry are intended for singing; the prose sections which provide a kind of framework...


  11. LEBEDEV, V. P.

    175 godovshchina Pervago Kadetskago korpusa. 17 fevralia 1907 g. [175th Anniversary of the First Corps of Cadets,...

    [St Petersburg,] Press of the First Corps of Cadets, 1906.

    Only edition of this collection of poems commemorating the 175th anniversary of the First Corps of Cadets, set up under Anna Ivanovna. Each of the ten ‘scenes in verse’ is narrated by a cadet, once for each Tsar under which the Corps has served.


  12. LEONOV, Leonid Maksimovich.

    Begstvo Mistera Mak-Kinli. Kinopovest’ [Mr MacKinley’s Flight. A Screen-play].

    Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1963.

    First edition: Leonov’s screen-play satirising Western capitalist society, used by Mikhail Shveister in 1975 for his film of the same name.


  13. LEONOV, Leonid Maksimovich.

    Petushikhinskii prolom [The Break-up of Petushikha].

    Moscow, M. & S. Shabashnikov, 1923.

    First edition of an early short story about the impact of the Revolution on the clergy and the peasantry.


  14. LEONOV, Leonid Maksimovich.


    Moscow, M. & S. Sabashnikov, 1924.

    First edition: one of Leonov’s early stories, the tragic, sometimes savage tale of a Tartar khan who shares in the victory over the Russians at Kalka (1224, the first invasion of Russia by the Mongol hordes), only to lose his beloved Ytmar, the doomed warrior daughter of Genghiz Khan. The narrative...


  15. 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...


  16. [LIDIN, Vladimir Germanovich, editor.]

    LITERATURNAIA ROSSIIA. Sbornik sovremennoi russkoi prozy pod redaktsiei Vl. Lidina [Literary...

    Moscow, “Novye vekhi”, 1924.

    First edition of an avant-garde collection of short stories and excerpts from novels, with autobiographical sketches and bibliographies by each of the 28 contributors, all written especially for this collection.


  17. LIVSHITS, Benedikt Konstantinovich.

    Krotonskii polden’ [High Noon at Kroton].

    Moscow, “Uzel”, 1928.

    First collected edition. Livshits’ fifth and final book of verse, after which he turned increasingly to translation work. It contains all his earlier collections: Fleita Marsiia (The Flute of Marsias, 1911), Volch’e solntse (Wolves’ Sun, 1914), and Patmos (1926), together with Bolotnaia Meduza...


  18. LUNACHARKSII, Anatolii Vaslievich.

    Piat’ farsov dlia liubitelei [Five farces for amateurs].

    St Petersburg, “Shipovnik”, 1907.

    Very rare first edition of five early plays, written for amateur performance, but rarely staged: ‘Sverkhchelovek’ (Superman), ‘Esche skvernyi anekdot’ (Another nasty anecdote), ‘Beglyi politik’ (The fugitive politician), ‘Bomba’ (Bomb), and ‘Obshchestvo maloi skorosti’ (Low-speed...


  19. [LUNACHARSKII, Anatolii Vasilievich, and Sergei Mitrofanovich GORODETSKII, editors.]

    Styk. Pervyi sbornik stikhov Moskovskogo Tsekha...

    Moscow, Moscow Guild of Poets, 1925.

    First edition of an anthology edited by Lunacharsky and Gorodetsky, including poems by Pavel Antokolsky, Bryusov, Bely, Pasternak, Aleksandr Shiryaevet, Mikhail Zenkevich, and others. Pasternak’s contribution, ‘Spektorskii’, was first published complete in book form in 1931.