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  • [Sujets tirés des tragédies de Sophocle. by GIACOMELLI, Sophia. GIACOMELLI, Sophia. ~ [Sujets tirés des tragédies de Sophocle. Paris, 1814].
    First edition of this very scarce collection of plates by a remarkable female engraver. Issued separately in 1814 and later as a suite to an… (more)

    First edition of this very scarce collection of plates by a remarkable female engraver. Issued separately in 1814 and later as a suite to an 1827 edition of the illustrations of Flaxman. The 1814 issue was accompanied by a title page, but this set from the library of an early admirer of her work, Prosper de Barante, has been bound without a title.

    Very little is known of this remarkable female engraver working in the austere neo-classical style of Flaxman, very much in tune with the aesthetics of the the Empire style in France. Giacomelli was also an accomplished singer. According to Fonds Français après 1800 (IX, p. 74) Giacomelli ‘a gravé au trait sous l’influence de David et avec l’amitié de Denon’. A lithograph portrait of her by Denon survives. The Journal des arts, des sciences, et de littérature reviewed her collection of plates for Milton’s Paradise Lost in 1813:

    ‘...les amateurs conviendront sans peine que la collection des douze figures de Mme Giacomelli est une des productions les plus agréables que la gravure nous ait offertes depuis long-temps. Nous vivons dans un siècle où les femmes ont conquis, dans la littérature, le rang le plus distingué: il suffit de jeter les yeux sur cet ouvrage, pour s’apercevoir que le domaine des arts ne leur est pas non plus étranger. Déjà le dessin et la gravure ont mérité à Mme Giacomelli d’honorable suffrages; son talent comme cantatrice avait avantageusement brillé dans plusieurs concerts...’ (vol. 15, p. 62).

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  • Messes noires. Lord Lyllian. by FERSEN, Jacques d’Adelswärd, baron. FERSEN, Jacques d’Adelswärd, baron. ~ Messes noires. Lord Lyllian. Paris: [Bussière, Saint-Amande, for] Librairie Léon Vanier, A. Messein, successeur, 1905.
    First edition (despite the mention fictive ‘deuxième édition’ on the title-page). A pioneering gay narrative and one of the first novels written about Oscar Wilde… (more)

    First edition (despite the mention fictive ‘deuxième édition’ on the title-page). A pioneering gay narrative and one of the first novels written about Oscar Wilde after his conviction. Messes noires is the story of Lord Lyllian, a tragic character born in Scotland with a striking overt resemblance to Wilde, addicted to adolescent boys and to opium. It was written on the Island of Capri where Fersen had fled following his arrest in France (for indecent assault and exciting minors to debauchery in the course of a series of soirées dubbed Messes noires). Fersen had formerly associated with a coterie of Paris decadents including Jean Lorrain, Robert de Montesquiou and Karl-Joris Huysmans, but his 1903 arrest caused a scandal in the press, who were quick to dub him ‘un nouvel Oscar Wilde’, and he was ostracised by almost all his former literary friends. The cover and title-page of the novel bear the Wildean epigram ‘L’amour a pour moi deux ennemis: / les préjugés et ma concierge’.

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  • Jack Sheppard. A Romance... A new Edition. by AINSWORTH, W. Harrison. AINSWORTH, W. Harrison. ~ Jack Sheppard. A Romance... A new Edition. London: [T. Brettell for] Richard Bentley, 1840.
    Second edition (The first edition had appeared the previous year, with the same plates, as three consecutive volumes in Bentley’s Miscellany). ‘Praised for its vivid… (more)

    Second edition (The first edition had appeared the previous year, with the same plates, as three consecutive volumes in Bentley’s Miscellany). ‘Praised for its vivid writing, especially its depiction of a storm on the Thames and its account of Jack Sheppard's escape from Newgate prison, the novel became so popular that by the end of 1839 nine different theatrical versions of it had appeared on the London stage. One of these versions introduced the hit song of the season (’Nix my Dolly, Pals’), based on a ‘flash song’ of criminal slang that Ainsworth had written for Rookwood. But Jack Sheppard also provoked criticism. John Forster attacked it in The Examiner for glorifying criminals, William Makepeace Thackeray did the same in his novel Catherine, and there were even suggestions that the notorious murder committed by Courvoisier in 1840 had been inspired by a reading of Ainsworth's novel’ (ODNB).

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  • When we were very young. by MILNE, A. A. MILNE, A. A. ~ When we were very young. London: [Jarrold for] Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1927.
    Sixteenth edition (the first was November 1924). Avery presentable copy. (more)

    Sixteenth edition (the first was November 1924). Avery presentable copy.

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  • Essais politiques et militaires. Enrichis de diverses maximes & remarques tirées des anciens auteurs. Par le sieur De Mouchembert. by (DALLINGTON, Robert). MOUCHEMBERG, A.-M. de. (DALLINGTON, Robert). MOUCHEMBERG, A.-M. de. ~ Essais politiques et militaires. Enrichis de diverses maximes & remarques tirées des anciens auteurs. Par le sieur De Mouchembert. Paris: Nicolas Buon, 1627.
    First edition in French of Aphorismes Civill and Militarie (London, 1613) comprising 246 political and military aphorisms selected from the Italian historian Guicciardini, designed to… (more)

    First edition in French of Aphorismes Civill and Militarie (London, 1613) comprising 246 political and military aphorisms selected from the Italian historian Guicciardini, designed to teach the lessons of history in a pithy and pragmatic form, in the spirit of Montaigne. The original had been dedicated by the English courtier Robert Dallington to Henry, Prince of Wales and later also to Prince Charles. Mouchemberg’s free translation, retaining the structure of the original, with glosses and apparatus, was dedicated to Antoine Coiffier-Ruzé, Marquis d’Effiat, who had negotiated the marriage of the Prince of Wales (later Charles I) with Louis XIII’s sister, Henrietta Maria of France in 1625. Mouchemberg later published a continuation of another British work — Argenis by John Barclay.

    Dallington (1561-1636) is an interesting figure in European literary culture. Initially educated at Cambridge (Corpus Christi College) but without taking a degree, he published translations from the Hypnerotomachia as The Strife of Love in 1592, dedicated to the memory of Sir Philip Sidney and to the Earl of Essex (into whose circle he was drawn). He made at least two grand tours, one in a party with Inigo Jones. His View of France was first published in 1604 and his Survey of … Tuscany in 1605, both written for private circulation. Rare: Worldcat lists the British Library as the only location outside continental Europe, with no North American copies.

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  • [Works]. Opera. With Introduction and English Notes by A. Sidgwick, M.A. by VIRGIL. (SIDGWICK, Arthur, editor). VIRGIL. (SIDGWICK, Arthur, editor). ~ [Works]. Opera. With Introduction and English Notes by A. Sidgwick, M.A. Cambridge: [Pitt Press Series. C. J. Clay for] University Press, 1890.
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  • Rhétorique françoise, a l’usage des jeunes demoiselles. Avec des exemples tirés, pour la plupart, de nos meilleurs orateurs & poëtes modernes. Quatrième edition corrigée & augmentée. by [GAILLARD, Gabriel-Henri]. [GAILLARD, Gabriel-Henri]. ~ Rhétorique françoise, a l’usage des jeunes demoiselles. Avec des exemples tirés, pour la plupart, de nos meilleurs orateurs & poëtes modernes. Quatrième edition corrigée & augmentée. Avignon: Louis Chambeau, 1773.
    First published in 1745, Gaillard’s was a popular guide to rhetoric for the use of young women. This copy has an early female gift/ownership inscription.… (more)

    First published in 1745, Gaillard’s was a popular guide to rhetoric for the use of young women. This copy has an early female gift/ownership inscription. Though many of the examples in the guide are traditional examples of rhetorical excellence, the introduction provides and interesting discourse on celebrated female rhetorician, mentioning Elizabeth I of England as a supposed translator of Sophocles and Marie Stuart’s Latin oration at the French royal court.

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  • [An Album; or Selections from many Authors; interspersed with Drawings and Poetry]. by JORDAN, Ann. JORDAN, Ann. ~ [An Album; or Selections from many Authors; interspersed with Drawings and Poetry]. [British Isles, 1828 and later, to c. 1885].
    A good and typical illustrated commonplace album with transcribed verses, drawings and watercolours. The selections are very much representative of the contemporary fashion among women… (more)

    A good and typical illustrated commonplace album with transcribed verses, drawings and watercolours. The selections are very much representative of the contemporary fashion among women for such manuscript collections, with poems by Byron, Goldsmith and others, verses of friendship, loss and leave-taking, nature poems, riddles and aphorisms. A nicely self-aware inclusion here is Benjamin Franklin’s humorous ‘Paper a Poem’ relating paper types (gilt paper, copy paper, brown paper, foolscap, touch paper, waste paper and so on) to human analogues. The relatively few poems by women include Ann Radcliffe’s ‘To the Nightingale’ and ‘To Anne’ (unattributed here but by Mary Anne Browne, 1812-1845, entitled by her ‘Written in an Album’). Most of the contents have been entered within a few years of 1828 followed by a scatter of much later entries of the 1870s and 80s towards the end.

    The best account of the album genre in the history of reading and writing we have come across is by the late William St Clair in The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (2004, pp. 224-9) in a passage which could aptly serve as a description of Ann Jordan’s album.

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  • Conseils à ma fille... troisième édition. by BOUILLY, [Jean Nicolas]. BOUILLY, [Jean Nicolas]. ~ Conseils à ma fille... troisième édition. Paris: [J.-L. Chanson for] Rosa, 1813.
    A lovely copy with contemporary ownership inscriptions: ‘Mlle. Justine Debonnaire’. Bouilly’s popular conduct book in the form collection of short stories ran to at least… (more)

    A lovely copy with contemporary ownership inscriptions: ‘Mlle. Justine Debonnaire’. Bouilly’s popular conduct book in the form collection of short stories ran to at least three French editions within a year, and another was published in London in 1813. The 19 stories (completed with a conclusion) include ‘Les Oiseaux de madame Helvétieus’; ‘La Robe feuille-morte de madame Cottin’, ‘Les Tablettes de Florian’, ‘Les Manie des Romans’ (especially interesting and amusing, with a tilt at Ann Radcliffe and the gothic vogue), ‘Jenny la Bouquetière’ and ‘Les Dangers d’un Bon Mot’.

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  • After Reading [After Berneval]. Letters to Robert Ross. by WILDE, Oscar. WILDE, Oscar. ~ After Reading [After Berneval]. Letters to Robert Ross. [London:] Beaumont Press, 1921-2.
    First editions, limited issues, numbers 127 and 231 of 200 and 400 copies respectively (a further 75 copies of each edition were issued on Japanese… (more)

    First editions, limited issues, numbers 127 and 231 of 200 and 400 copies respectively (a further 75 copies of each edition were issued on Japanese vellum and signed by publisher and artists). Separately issued companion volumes, collecting Wilde’s letters to Ross, his sometime-lover, constant companion and literary executor, written from France in the aftermath of his release from Reading Gaol. Ross faithfully guarded Wilde’s personal and literary legacy after his death, pursuing pirated editions and preserving his literary rights for Wilde’s sons. It was he who commissioned Epstein’s sculpture for the tomb at Père Lachaise and his will stipulated that his own ashes should be placed there with Oscar’s.

    Ross had prepared a volume of Wilde’s post-prison letters to him before the first war and had drafted an introduction shortly before his own sudden death in 1918. These two small volumes are selections, but represent the earliest attempt at a collection of Wilde letters. They are expurgated by removing the names of Lord Alfred Douglas, Constance Wilde and a few others, but the meanings are always obvious.

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  • [Embroidered sampler]. by PREEST, Emma. PREEST, Emma. ~ [Embroidered sampler]. [Gloucestershire, July 20 1847.
    ‘Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit / Death how certain Death how sur[e] / Sin the wound. And Christ the cure’. ‘Emma. Preest. Her… (more)

    ‘Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit / Death how certain Death how sur[e] / Sin the wound. And Christ the cure’. ‘Emma. Preest. Her work / Tuts Hill House / July. 20. 1847 Aged /12. Years. Old’.

    Emma Preest is possibly the Emma born on the 8th June 1835 at Bream Eaves, Gloucestershire and baptised in the Wesleyan chapel at Monmouth — certainly that would accord with her given age (12) in 1847 when she made this sampler. The identity of Tuts Hill house is not straightforward, there having been two houses so named in the vicinity of Tidenham, Chepstow. We can find no pictorial evidence of either of them as a three-storey, four bay house as in Emma’s depiction, and no Preest family associated with either. But if one accepts the likelihood of Emma being Gloucestershire born, both houses would have been some ten miles from her birthplace, suggesting the possibility she entered service at one of them at the age of 12 (quite possible) and that this may have been an ‘apprentice’ piece. Young girls were taught this kind of sewing not so much as a primer in reading (still less writing) as in household needleork and linen labelling.

    The verse is a variation of a popular gravestone epitaph: ‘Life is uncertain, death is sure, Sin the wound, and Christ the cure. If we have correctly identified Emma Preest, she married in 1854, had several children and emigrated with her family after 1870 and died in 1915 at Shawnee, Perry County, Ohio, USA, aged 80.

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  • Monsieur Bille dans le tourmente. by VILLETARD, Pierre. Pierre Falké, illustrator. VILLETARD, Pierre. Pierre Falké, illustrator. ~ Monsieur Bille dans le tourmente. Paris: Fayard, Le Livre de Demain, [ 1925].
    Number 2 of 15 copies. (more)

    Number 2 of 15 copies.

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  • Une Honnête Femme. by BOURDEAUX, Henry. Paul BAUDIER, illustrator. BOURDEAUX, Henry. Paul BAUDIER, illustrator. ~ Une Honnête Femme. Paris: Fayard, Le Livre de Demain, [ 1925].
    Number 2 of 15 copies with the additional suite on chine. (more)

    Number 2 of 15 copies with the additional suite on chine.

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  • L’Inconstante. by HOUVILLE, Gérard d’. Gérard COCHET, illustrator. HOUVILLE, Gérard d’. Gérard COCHET, illustrator. ~ L’Inconstante. Paris: Fayard, Le Livre de Demain, [ 1925].
    Number 2 of 11 copies. (more)

    Number 2 of 11 copies.

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  • [Embroidered sampler. by FULTON, Anna. FULTON, Anna. ~ [Embroidered sampler. British Isles. [ 1827].
    Alphabet (upper and lower case), several decorative lines and two verses: ‘Is there ambition in my heart / search gracious God and see...’ [Isaac Watts]… (more)

    Alphabet (upper and lower case), several decorative lines and two verses: ‘Is there ambition in my heart / search gracious God and see...’ [Isaac Watts] and ‘Teach me to live / that I may dread/ the grave as little / as my bed // Teach me to die ‘ that so I may / with joy behold /the judgement day’ [Thomas Ken, and later sued by Thomas Hardy in Jude the Obscure]. Needlework samplers remain one of the most widespread manifestations of the teaching and learning of basic literacy among girls and young women and, as here, reflect a strongly moralistic background.

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  • The Story of Little Red Riding Hood’s Christmas]. by [GREENAWAY, Kate [GREENAWAY, Kate ~ The Story of Little Red Riding Hood’s Christmas]. [London:] Marcus Ward & Co, [before 1868].
    One of two versions of this early set, this one apparently issued as Christmas cards. Schuster & Engen, Kate Greenaway, 291. (more)

    One of two versions of this early set, this one apparently issued as Christmas cards. Schuster & Engen, Kate Greenaway, 291.

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  • Our Mutual Friend... with Illustrations by Marcus Stone. by DICKENS, Charles. DICKENS, Charles. ~ Our Mutual Friend... with Illustrations by Marcus Stone. London: [William Clowes and Sons for] Chapman and Hall, 1865.
    First edition, bound from the original parts. Our Mutual Friend originally appeared in twenty numbers, bound in nineteen monthly parts, the last part forming a… (more)

    First edition, bound from the original parts. Our Mutual Friend originally appeared in twenty numbers, bound in nineteen monthly parts, the last part forming a double number, from May 1864 - November 1865. The first volume was published in book form on January 20, 1865; the second on October 21, 1865. This copy contains all the original wrappers and adverts (some on different coloured papers). Hatton and Cleaver p.345-370; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I. 15.

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  • Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation. by DICKENS, Charles. DICKENS, Charles. ~ Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.
    First edition, bound from the parts, which had appeared from October 1846 to April 1848. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 227-250; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I,… (more)

    First edition, bound from the parts, which had appeared from October 1846 to April 1848. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 227-250; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I, 8.

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  • Bleak House... with illustrations by H.K. Browne. by DICKENS, Charles. DICKENS, Charles. ~ Bleak House... with illustrations by H.K. Browne. London: Bradbury and Evans, [ 1852-] 1853.
    First edition, bound from the original parts, the plates by Hablot Knight Browne including the ten ‘dark’ plates, merging meticulous engraved lines made by an… (more)

    First edition, bound from the original parts, the plates by Hablot Knight Browne including the ten ‘dark’ plates, merging meticulous engraved lines made by an engraving- or ruling-machine with the hand drawn lines of the etching needle to create an atmospheric mezzotint-like effect.

    Bleak House was Dickens’ ninth novel, published in monthly parts from March 1852 to September 1853. Hatton & Cleaver, pp. 275-304; cf. Smith, Charles Dickens, I, 10.

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  • Voyage autour de sa chambre... Illustrations de Henri Caruchet, gravées à l’eau-forte par Frédéric Massé... by UZANNE, Octave. Henri, CARUCHET, illustrator. UZANNE, Octave. Henri, CARUCHET, illustrator. ~ Voyage autour de sa chambre... Illustrations de Henri Caruchet, gravées à l’eau-forte par Frédéric Massé... Paris: H. Floury, pour les Bibliophiles indépéndants, ‘1896’ [but wrapper dated 1897 as called for].
    First edition thus, subscriber’s copy, number 77 of 210 copies, complete with a suite of cancelled plates in monochrome. With its title a nod to… (more)

    First edition thus, subscriber’s copy, number 77 of 210 copies, complete with a suite of cancelled plates in monochrome. With its title a nod to Le Maistre’s famous confinement narrative, Voyage autour de ma chambre (1794) Uzanne’s Voyage autour de sa chambre is ‘Une ancienne chanson d’amour voltige dans la solitude; dans ce nid charmant où l’on était si bien à deux, il ne reste que des rêves de volupté indécise et la sarabande enlaçante, mystérieuse et sinistre des souvenirs, ces revenants de l’âme qu'on évoque, qu’on chasse et qu’on appelle encore’.

    A delicious bibliophilic production and one of Octave Uzanne’s rarest books: the limitation noting: ‘Après tirage les cuivres ont été lacérés.’ The additional suite consists of the cancelled plates, in which central portions left blank for the overprinting of the text from other plates have been filled in with etched croquis, often humorous, of: fashionable women, a devil, a bat, a rat and so on. The two sets of original wrappers are preserved, one with the design by Henry Thiriet. Uzanne’s productions are the zenith of a certain strand of 1890s Parisian bibliophilia: with precision and exactitude of the latest printing techniques harnessed to produce a series of works of rare beauty. Caruchet’s illuminated borders are perfect examples of art nouveau’s decadent themes, though lightened throughout with delicate and elegant botanical forms.

    Uzannes’s text had first appeared in his Calendrier de Vénus (1880, page 127 à 150). Not in Carteret. Outside continental Europe, OCLC lists copies at the British Library (with one additional suite, as here) and Texas (with two additional suites). Uzanne is extensively discussed in Silverman’s excellent The New Bibliopolis: French Book Collectors and the Culture of Print, 1880-1914 (Studies in Book and Print Culture, 2013).

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