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Literary criticism & biography

Rare first editions, signed and inscribed copies, deluxe and collectible editions of books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to critical writings about literature, including biographies and autobiographies of literary figures and printed collections of their correspondence.

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  1. 117042

    A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors,

    Living and Deceased, From the Earliest Accounts to the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century. Containing over Forty-Six Thousand Articles (Authors), with Forty Indexes of Subjects. [together with;] A Supplement to Allibone's Critical Dictionary of English Literature …
    Well bound set of Allibone's literary dictionary, first published in 1859, here offered with the first edition of Kirk's two-volume supplements. Learn More
    £250

    Date of Publication: 1885-91

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 117042

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  2. 117013

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

    Corrected impression of the first edition published in 1925. A scholarly edition of the Middle English alliterative romance, the text being reproduced from the original 14th-century manuscript (now held as part of the Cotton Library at the British Library) with copious notes, details and glossaries by Tolkien and Gordon. A second, fully revised, edition was published in 1967. Learn More
    £200

    Date of Publication: 1930

    Published: Oxford

    Stock Code: 117013

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  3. 116951
    £125

    Date of Publication: 1903

    Published: Edinburgh

    Stock Code: 116951

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  4. 116950

    The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson.

    To his family and friends. Selected and edited with notes and introductions by Sidney Colvin.
    First edition in a fine Zaehnsdorf binding. Each volume with the spine panel of the original cloth bound in at rear. Learn More
    £125

    Date of Publication: 1901

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116950

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  5. 116641

    A Documentary Life.

    First edition, first impression. The known information about Shakespeare's life and the documents associated with it are the focus of this profusely illustrated book. Where possible, the facsimiles included are reproduced full size. Learn More
    £225

    Date of Publication: 1975

    Published: New York

    Stock Code: 116641

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  6. 116636

    The Legend of Sir Perceval.

    Studies upon its Origin Development, and Position in the Arthurian Cycle. Vol. I, Chrétien de Troyes and Wauchier de Denain. Vol. II, The Prose Perceval according to the Modena MS.
    First editions, first impressions. Numbers 17 & 19 in The Grimm Library, a collection of books published by David Nutt on the topic of folk literature. Nutt was a scholar and founding member of the Folk-Lore Society in 1878. He later became the publisher of the society's journal in 1890, in which Weston regularly featured. Jessie L. Weston was an established translator and interpreter of medieval texts and was recognised as the leading English Arthurian scholar of her time. Learn More
    £200

    Date of Publication: 1906 & 1909

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116636

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  7. 116566

    The Humour and Pathos of Charles Dickens.

    With Illustrations of his Mastery of the Terrible and the Picturesque.
    First edition. A collection of extracts from the works of Charles Dickens chosen by his friend and collaborator, who was the recipient of the last letter that Dickens ever wrote, produced an hour before Dickens's death in June 1870 (ODNB). Learn More
    £150

    Date of Publication: 1884

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116566

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  8. 116552comp
    signed

    A Bibliography of the Writings of D. H. Lawrence.

    With a Foreword by D. H. Lawrence.
    First edition, first printing, signed limited issue, one of 100 large-paper copies signed by Lawrence and the bibliographer on the limitation page; there were 500 regular copies printed at the same time. Lawrence's foreword, "The Bad Side of Books" ("What do I care for first or last editions?... To me, no book has a date, no book has a binding"), was reprinted in Phoenix: Posthumous Papers (1936). Learn More
    £475

    Date of Publication: 1925

    Published: Philadelphia

    Stock Code: 116552

    Signed: Yes

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  9. 116538comp
    signed

    Vulgarity in Literature.

    Digressions From A Theme.
    First edition, signed limited issue. Number 211 of 260 copies, signed by the author, of which 250 were for sale. Learn More
    £175

    Date of Publication: 1930

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116538

    Signed: Yes

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  10. 116527comp
    signed

    Passenger To Teheran.

    First edition, first impression, in the rare dust jacket, and inscribed by the author to her lover Hilda "Stoker" Matheson (1888-1940). The inscription, to the front free endpaper, reads "From V. Dec 1928". This book was one of several inscribed by Vita and given to her then-lover Hilda Matheson (1888-1940), whom she nicknamed "Stoker", in December 1928. Learn More
    £2,500

    Date of Publication: 1926

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116527

    Signed: Yes

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  11. 116523comp
    signed

    Twelve Days.

    An account of a journey across the Bakhtiari Mountains in South-western Persia.
    First edition, first impression, presentation copy of Sackville-West's Persian travelogue to her then lover Hilda "Stoker" Matheson, in an excellent example of the scarce jacket, inscribed on the front free endpaper, "From V. Dec. 1928". This book was one of several inscribed by Vita and given to her then-lover Hilda Matheson (1888-1940), whom she nicknamed "Stoker", in December 1928. Learn More
    £1,500

    Date of Publication: 1928

    Published: The Hogarth Press

    Stock Code: 116523

    Signed: Yes

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  12. 116521

    The Life of Benvenuto Cellini:

    A Florentine Artist. Containing A Variety of Curious and Interesting Particulars, relative to Painting, Sculpture and Architecture; and The History of his own Time. Written by himself in the Tuscan Language, and translated from the original by Thomas Nugent.
    First English edition of this famous autobiography by Mannerist artist, musician and soldier of the Florentine Renaissance, Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), translated by Thomas Nugent and illustrated with a portrait frontispiece after Giorgio Vasari. Cellini's colourful biography is a key source-book for the Renaissance. Learn More
    £500

    Date of Publication: 1771

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116521

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  13. 116509

    Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe.

    In three volumes.
    First edition. A handsome set. Learn More
    £375

    Date of Publication: 1830

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116509

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  14. 116481comp
    signed

    The Trembling of the Veil.

    First edition, first impression, number 766 of 1,000 subscribers copies on handmade paper signed by the author. This is an exceptional copy in the dust jacket. The Trembling of the Veil was the second of the many original instalments of Yeats's autobiographical works, an honest retrospective from the poet's late middle-age offering an imaginative critique of a changing world. Learn More
    £2,250

    Date of Publication: 1922

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116481

    Signed: Yes

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  15. 116360

    The Diamond Smugglers.

    With an Introduction by John Blaize, formerly of the International Diamond Security Organization.
    First edition, first impression, first state. The introduction is by John Collard a member of the International Diamond Security Organisation under the name “John Blaize”. The Diamond Smugglers is one of two non-fiction works by Fleming, based on two weeks of interviews he undertook with Collard. The IDSO was formed to combat the smuggling of diamonds from South Africa; some £10 million worth of gems were being illegally trafficked out each year. Learn More
    £200

    Date of Publication: 1957

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116360

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  16. Autobiography.

    Autobiography.

    First edition of Mill's pioneering essay in the literary genre of psychological self-analysis, composed mainly during the 1850s, but not published until after his death. Learn More
    £150

    Date of Publication: 1873

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 116055

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  17. Lord Randolph Churchill.

    Lord Randolph Churchill.

    First edition, first impression. Churchill's biography of his father was published on 2 January 1906 to "almost universal acclaim in the Press" (Churchill, Winston S. Churchill II) the Sunday Times remarking on Churchill's "maturity of judgement, levelheadedness and discretion" and the Spectator praising his style: "He has chosen the grand manner... Learn More
    £650

    Date of Publication: 1906

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 115976

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  18. Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters.

    Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters.

    First edition, first printing, of one of the first biographies following Conrad's death in 1924, preserving material "that might otherwise have been lost" (The New Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad, 2015, p. 190). Georges Jean-Aubry was a French music critic who numbered not just Conrad but also Debussy and Ravel among his friends. A superbly bound copy. Learn More
    £450

    Date of Publication: 1927

    Published: New York

    Stock Code: 115931

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  19. De Profundis: A Facsimile.
    signed

    De Profundis: A Facsimile.

    Introduction by Merlin Holland.
    Facsimile edition, number 9 of 95 copies signed by Merlin Holland (Wilde's grandson) and dated 30 November 2000, from a total edition of 590. This facsimile of Wilde's original manuscript was published on the centenary of Wilde's death, on 30 November 1900. Learn More
    £375

    Date of Publication: 2000

    Published: London

    Stock Code: 115839

    Signed: Yes

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  20. Almost Forgotten Germany.

    Almost Forgotten Germany.

    Translate by Laura Riding and Robert Graves.
    First edition, first impression of this memoir by a German art-dealer who fled Nazi Germany and became Graves's neighbour in Majorca, "a charming, individual and informative book which never received its due" (Seymour-Smith, Robert Graves: His Life and Works, p. 245). Graves and Riding actually worked from a literary rendering prepared by Kenneth Gay (born Karl Goldschmidt), Graves's personal secretary, companion and editor on Majorca. Learn More
    £750

    Date of Publication: 1936

    Published: Dey

    Stock Code: 115766

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