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Literary criticism & biography

Rare books and first editions, including copies in fine bindings, across both literary criticism and biography, including letters and personal correspondence. Browse this category below, or select a different category (left) to modify your search.
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Displaying 48 out of 544

1 2 3 12
  1. Enemies of Promise.
    New Arrival

    Enemies of Promise. 1938

    £500

    First edition, first impression, uncommon in the dust jacket. “Connolly made a surer reputation [than with his debut novel The Rock Pool (1936)] with Enemies of Promise (1938). This work is part literary criticism, part general observations on the life of the writer, part childhood …Read more

  2. Passenger To Teheran.
    New Arrival

    Passenger To Teheran. 1926

    £2,500

    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 …Read more

  3. William Rothenstein, An Address.
    New Arrival

    William Rothenstein, An Address. 1945

    £650

    First edition, first impression, one of 100 copies privately printed. Max Beerbohm and William Rothenstein were first introduced in 1896 when the publisher John Lane commissioned Rothenstein’s volume of lithographic portraits of Oxford personalities, Oxford Characters, to coincide with Max Beerbohm’s Caricatures of Twenty-Five Gentlemen. …Read more

  4. The Humour and Pathos of Charles Dickens.
    New Arrival

    The Humour and Pathos of Charles Dickens. 1884

    £150

    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). Read more

  5. A Bibliography of the Writings of D. H. Lawrence.
    New Arrival

    A Bibliography of the Writings of D. H. Lawrence. 1925

    £475

    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 …Read more

  6. Characters of Shakespear’s Plays.
    New Arrival

    Characters of Shakespear’s Plays. 1817

    £500

    First edition, Chandos Leigh’s copy, of “the first ever economically priced critical survey of all Shakespeare’s works” (ODNB), and “the first of Hazlitt’s books to achieve immediate success” (Keynes). With Leigh’s armorial bookplate to the front pastedown. Poet and literary patron Chandos Leigh (1791-1850) built …Read more

  7. Twelve Days.
    New Arrival

    Twelve Days. 1928

    £1,500

    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 …Read more

  8. The Life of Benvenuto Cellini:
    New Arrival

    The Life of Benvenuto Cellini: 1771

    £500

    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. Read more

  9. Good-Bye To All That
    New Arrival

    Good-Bye To All That 1929

    £325

    First edition, first impression, second issue, with the infamous Sassoon poem excised and replaced with cancels and asterisks. The story of the suppression of this issue is well recorded. The book printed a poem Sassoon had written to Graves as a letter. Sassoon was horrified …Read more

  10. Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe.

    Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe. 1830

    £375

    First edition. A handsome set. Read more

  11. The Trembling of the Veil.
    New Arrival

    The Trembling of the Veil. 1922

    £2,250

    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 …Read more

  12. The Arte of English Poesie.
    New Arrival

    The Arte of English Poesie. 1589

    £45,000

    First and only contemporary edition; “an ambitious work of literary history and criticism as well as a rhetorical handbook for the practising poet” (ODNB). Puttenham’s examples are drawn mostly from early to mid-16th-century writers, poetry such as Richard Tottel’s Songs and Sonnets or the works …Read more

  13. A series of letters to art historian and biographer Auguste Bréal.

    A series of letters to art historian and biographer Auguste Bréal. 1919–40

    £5,000

    Dorothy Bussy (née Strachey) had translated Bréal’s book on Velazquez back in 1905 and the present letters have an easy intimacy throughout. In the first she introduces J. M. Keynes “(pronounced Canes) … He is something of a swell … an intimate friend of …Read more

  14. Long Walk to Freedom.

    Long Walk to Freedom. 1994

    £3,000

    First UK edition, signed limited issue. Number 305 of 1,000 copies signed by Nelson Mandela. It was first published earlier the same year in South Africa. Read more

  15. Autobiography.

    Autobiography. 1873

    £150

    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. Read more

  16. Lord Randolph Churchill.

    Lord Randolph Churchill. 1906

    £650

    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: …Read more

  17. De Profundis: A Facsimile.

    De Profundis: A Facsimile. 2000

    £375

    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. Read more

  18. Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters.

    Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters. 1927

    £450

    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 …Read more

  19. Almost Forgotten Germany.

    Almost Forgotten Germany. 1936

    £750

    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 …Read more

  20. Laocoon. A Last Testament.

    Laocoon. A Last Testament. 1976

    £875

    First edition, number 11 of 380 copies thus, this copy inscribed on the limitation leaf by the publisher Arnold Fawcus, “For Raymond: Geoffrey’s most recent and exciting contribution to Blake scholarship, warmest regards, Arnold”, from a total edition of 438 copies. This Trianon production constitutes …Read more

  21. A Study of The Illuminated Books of William Blake.

    A Study of The Illuminated Books of William Blake. 1964

    £325

    First edition, limited to 525 numbered copies signed and numbered by the author on the limitation leaf, this copy out of series. Keynes (1887–1982) was an academic, biographer, and the younger brother of John Maynard Keynes. He was a world authority on Blake, and was …Read more

  22. The Complete Portraiture.

    The Complete Portraiture. 1977

    £325

    First edition, copy number 1 of 500 numbered copies thus bound, from a total edition of 562. Read more

  23. They Also Serve.

    They Also Serve. Friday February 1956

    £225

    Single sheet folded once (250 x 180 mm), text printed in black. Three horizontal creases where once folded, extremities a little worn and a few minor marks. In very good condition. Read more

  24. Wall and Roof Climbing.

    Wall and Roof Climbing. 1905

    £975

    First edition, first impression, very scarce presentation copy inscribed “‘from the Culprit’ 1906”, of this notable satirical anthology of buildering lore through the ages by Geoffrey Winthrop Young (1876-1958), author of The Roof-Climber’s Guide to Trinity (1899), this his second book, and an early title …Read more

  25. To the Memory of Edward Thomas.

    To the Memory of Edward Thomas. 1937

    £2,000

    First edition, sole impression, number 9 of 250 copies, this copy signed by James Guthrie and also the pressman John Freeman, in the very scarce dust jacket. This beautiful limited edition Pear Tree Press book produced by James Guthrie in memory of his friend the …Read more

  26. Charles Dickens.

    Charles Dickens. [1870]

    £325

    First edition of this essay on “the genius and character of Charles Dickens” (Preface) by one of the author’s most illustrious and troublesome protégés, the text greatly expanded from a notice originally published in the Daily Telegraph the day after Dickens’s death in 1870. Scala …Read more

  27. Memoirs of Lady Hamilton.

    Memoirs of Lady Hamilton. 1815

    £575

    First edition of this “scurrilous” (ODNB) anonymous biography of Lady Emma Hamilton, who is best remembered as the mistress of Lord Nelson (publisher’s note mentions the incorporation of corrections into later printings). Published the year of her death and many times reprinted and, the Memoirs …Read more

  28. Essays in Criticism.

    Essays in Criticism. 1865

    £425

    First edition, first issue, presentation copy inscribed “From the Author” in the hand of the publisher on the half-title. This is the first of Arnold’s two influential Essays in Criticism, published by Arnold as Oxford Professor of Poetry. The second was published in 1888. The …Read more

  29. The Books in My Life.

    The Books in My Life. [1952]

    £475

    First edition, first printing, presentation copy to one of Miller’s book-contributors, inscribed on the front free endpaper, “For Bob Carlock with all the best from henry, 9/17/52”. Robert H. Carlock is mentioned in Appendix III of this book as one of the friends who supplied …Read more

  30. A River Runs Through It

    A River Runs Through It 1976

    £1,250

    First edition, first printing of Maclean’s (1902–90) autobiographical collection of short stories, including “A River Runs Through It”, “Logging and Pimping and ‘Your pal, Jim'”, and “USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky”. From the library of Dr Philip Murray, …Read more

  31. Time and Western Man.

    Time and Western Man. 1927

    £1,250

    First edition, first impression, presentation copy, of Lewis’s fullest exposition of his philosophical credo. This copy is inscribed on the front free endpaper, “To H. E. Dannce, from Wyndham Lewis, october 1927”. Read more

  32. Oscar Wilde and Myself.

    Oscar Wilde and Myself. 1914

    £450

    First edition, first impression, with a superb example of the very scarce dust jacket. Read more

  33. Walt Whitman.

    Walt Whitman. 1883

    £350

    First edition, first printing, of this biography of Whitman by his devotee, physician Dr. Richard Bucke. “An unconventional book, as much anthology of documents about the poet as a biography. It was also a collaboration; Whitman advised throughout, revised Bucke’s text, and wrote significant portions …Read more

  34. Memoires.

    Memoires. 1730

    £475

    Very scarce early edition, Ada Lovelace’s copy, of the memoirs of the Duchess of Montpensier (1627–1693), the greatest heiress in 17th century France, who received the suit numerous European Kings but eventually fell in love with a (comparatively) lowly courtier and soldier. The memoirs were …Read more

  35. Finden’s Illustrations of the Life and Works of Lord Byron.

    Finden’s Illustrations of the Life and Works of Lord Byron. 1833

    £600

    First book edition, attractively bound. “It was William and Edward Finden’s illustrations to Byron that substantially enhanced the status of their work. Following his death in Greece in 1824, their engravings sensitively conveyed to a wide contemporary audience images of Byron’s life and work. Initially …Read more

  36. Blasting and Bombarding.

    Blasting and Bombarding. 1937

    £575

    First edition, first impression, first issue (in stiff boards), a fine copy. Blasting and Bombarding was the first of two autobiographical books written by Lewis (followed by Rude Assignment, 1950), and covers the period from 1914 to 1926, tracking Lewis’s progress through the First …Read more

  37. Life of Lord Byron,

    Life of Lord Byron, 1851

    £300

    A very attractive copy of one of the great literary biographies of the 19th century and which “remains indispensable for students of Byron” (ODNB); it was first published in 1830 but the frontispiece and atmospheric title vignette – showing Newstead Abbey by moonlight – were …Read more

  38. Illustrated autograph letter signed to Gilbert Seldes.

    Illustrated autograph letter signed to Gilbert Seldes. 1921

    £4,500

    In this illustrated letter written six weeks before his death, John Butler Yeats (1839–1922), father of the poet W. B. Yeats, writes to Dial editor Gilbert Seldes: “… That hour glass is a great comfort to Father Time & to others. Art with representation, that …Read more

  39. Thoughts and Adventures.

    Thoughts and Adventures. 1932

    £4,500

    First edition, first impression. This is the second volume of Churchill’s autobiographical writings, covering his early political career, the battle of Sidney Street, a near silence on Gallipoli, service on the Western Front, the negotiation of the Irish settlement, thoughts on the “Mass effects of …Read more

  40. My Life.

    My Life. 2004

    £500

    First edition, first printing. Signed by the author on the title-page. Read more

  41. The Idler, by the author of “The Rambler.”

    The Idler, by the author of “The Rambler.” 1816

    £1,250

    An attractive copy, handsomely bound, with double fore-edge paintings showing Temple fountain in London about 1760 and Lichfield, birthplace of Dr Johnson. The Idler is a series of 103 essays, all but 12 of them by Samuel Johnson, published in the Universal Chronicle between 1758 …Read more

  42. Sir Philip Sidney.

    Sir Philip Sidney. 1886

    £225

    First edition of Symonds’ appreciation of Elizabethan poet and courtier Sir Philip Sidney, attractively bound by Zaehnsdorf with the original cloth bound in . From the English Men of Letters series, edited by John Morley. Read more

  43. Ben Jonson.

    Ben Jonson. 1888

    £200

    Symonds’s appreciation of the playwright Ben Jonson, an early edition handsomely bound by Zaehnsdorf with the original cloth preserved at the rear. Read more

  44. Gaudier-Brzeska.

    Gaudier-Brzeska. 1916

    £1,250

    First edition, first impression, review copy sent by the publisher to art critic C. Lewis Hind, with his ownership inscription to the front free endpaper, “C. Lewis Hind, May 1916”, and the blind stamp to title page, “Review Copy with John Lane’s Compliments”. Hind (1862-1927) …Read more

  45. ABC of Reading.

    ABC of Reading. 1934

    £275

    First edition, first impression, in the uncommon jacket. Pound’s ABC of Reading was intended to accompany and expand on his earlier volume How to Read, and to provide a textbook “that can be read ‘for pleasure as well as profit’ by those no longer in …Read more

  46. My African Journey.

    My African Journey. 1908

    £2,000

    First edition, first impression. Read more

  47. Vers de Collège.

    Vers de Collège. 1932

    £475

    First edition, presentation copy inscribed by the editor to Enid Starkie, one of 100 copies on pur fil lafuma, of Rimbaud’s student poems. The exceptional association inscription, to the half-title, reads: “A Mademoiselle Enid Starkie, ces excercises scolaires d’un grand poète en vive sympathie litteraire, …Read more

  48. The Life of Lord Byron.

    The Life of Lord Byron. 1844

    £225

    Moore’s biography was first published in 1830 as Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, a title “distracting attention from the skill with which Moore constructed his portrait” (ODNB). “Byron had given his manuscript memoirs to Moore in the expectation that his friend might profit from …Read more

  1. New Arrival
    Enemies of Promise.
    More details
     

    CONNOLLY, Cyril. CONNOLLY, Cyril.

    Enemies of Promise.

    £500

  2. New Arrival
    Passenger To Teheran.
    More details
     

    SACKVILLE-WEST, Vita. SACKVILLE-WEST, Vita.

    Passenger To Teheran.

    £2,500

  3. New Arrival
    William Rothenstein, An Address.
    More details
     

    BEERBOHM, Max. BEERBOHM, Max.

    William Rothenstein, An Address.

    £650

  4. New Arrival
    The Humour and Pathos of Charles Dickens.
    More details
     

    (DICKENS, Charles.) KENT, Charles (ed.) (DICKENS, Charles.) KENT,...

    The Humour and Pathos of Charles Dickens.

    £150

  5. New Arrival
    A Bibliography of the Writings of D. H. Lawrence.
    More details
     

    (LAWRENCE, D. H.) MCDONALD, Edward D. (LAWRENCE, D. H.)...

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

    £475

  6. New Arrival
    Characters of Shakespear’s Plays.
    More details
     

    HAZLITT, William. HAZLITT, William.

    Characters of Shakespear’s Plays.

    £500

  7. New Arrival
  8. New Arrival
    The Life of Benvenuto Cellini:
    More details
     

    CELLINI, Benvenuto. CELLINI, Benvenuto.

    The Life of Benvenuto Cellini:

    £500

  9. New Arrival
    Good-Bye To All That
    More details
     

    GRAVES, Robert. GRAVES, Robert.

    Good-Bye To All That

    £325

  10. Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe.
    More details
     

    WILSON, Walter. WILSON, Walter.

    Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe.

    £375

  11. New Arrival
    The Trembling of the Veil.
    More details
     

    YEATS, W. B. YEATS, W. B.

    The Trembling of the Veil.

    £2,250

  12. New Arrival
    The Arte of English Poesie.
    More details
     

    [PUTTENHAM, George.] [PUTTENHAM, George.]

    The Arte of English Poesie.

    £45,000

  13. A series of letters to art historian and biographer Auguste Bréal.
    More details
     

    BUSSY, Dorothy & Simon. BUSSY, Dorothy &...

    A series of letters to art historian and biographer Auguste Bréal.

    £5,000

  14. Long Walk to Freedom.
    More details
     

    MANDELA, Nelson. MANDELA, Nelson.

    Long Walk to Freedom.

    £3,000

  15. Lord Randolph Churchill.
    More details
     

    CHURCHILL, Winston S. CHURCHILL, Winston S.

    Lord Randolph Churchill.

    £650

  16. De Profundis: A Facsimile.
    More details
     

    WILDE, Oscar. WILDE, Oscar.

    De Profundis: A Facsimile.

    £375

  17. Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters.
    More details
     

    (CONRAD.) JEAN-AUBRY, Georges. (CONRAD.) JEAN-AUBRY, Georges.

    Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters.

    £450

  18. Almost Forgotten Germany.
    More details
     

    SCHWARZ, Georg. SCHWARZ, Georg.

    Almost Forgotten Germany.

    £750

  19. A Study of The Illuminated Books of William Blake.
    More details
     

    (BLAKE, William.) KEYNES, Geoffrey. (BLAKE, William.) KEYNES,...

    A Study of The Illuminated Books of William Blake.

    £325

  20. The Complete Portraiture.
    More details
     

    (BLAKE, William & Catherine.) (BLAKE, William &...

    The Complete Portraiture.

    £325

  21. They Also Serve.
    More details
     

    [FRASER, G. S.] [FRASER, G. S.]

    They Also Serve.

    £225

  22. To the Memory of Edward Thomas.
    More details
     

    (THOMAS, Edward.) GUTHRIE, James. (THOMAS, Edward.) GUTHRIE,...

    To the Memory of Edward Thomas.

    £2,000

  23. Memoirs of Lady Hamilton.
    More details
     

    (NELSON.) (NELSON.)

    Memoirs of Lady Hamilton.

    £575

  24. Essays in Criticism.
    More details
     

    ARNOLD, Matthew ARNOLD, Matthew

    Essays in Criticism.

    £425

  25. The Books in My Life.
    More details
     

    MILLER, Henry. MILLER, Henry.

    The Books in My Life.

    £475

  26. A River Runs Through It
    More details
     

    MACLEAN, Norman. MACLEAN, Norman.

    A River Runs Through It

    £1,250

  27. Time and Western Man.
    More details
     

    LEWIS, Wyndham. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    Time and Western Man.

    £1,250

  28. Finden’s Illustrations of the Life and Works of Lord Byron.
    More details
     

    (BYRON, Lord.) BROCKENDON, W. (BYRON, Lord.) BROCKENDON,...

    Finden’s Illustrations of the Life and Works of Lord Byron.

    £600

  29. Blasting and Bombarding.
    More details
     

    LEWIS, Wyndham. LEWIS, Wyndham.

    Blasting and Bombarding.

    £575

  30. Illustrated autograph letter signed to Gilbert Seldes.
    More details
     

    YEATS, John Butler. YEATS, John Butler.

    Illustrated autograph letter signed to Gilbert Seldes.

    £4,500

  31. Thoughts and Adventures.
    More details
     

    CHURCHILL, Winston S. CHURCHILL, Winston S.

    Thoughts and Adventures.

    £4,500

  32. The Idler, by the author of “The Rambler.”
    More details
     

    [JOHNSON, Samuel, & others.] [JOHNSON, Samuel, &...

    The Idler, by the author of “The Rambler.”

    £1,250

  33. Gaudier-Brzeska.
    More details
     

    POUND, Ezra. POUND, Ezra.

    Gaudier-Brzeska.

    £1,250

  34. ABC of Reading.
    More details
     

    POUND, Ezra. POUND, Ezra.

    ABC of Reading.

    £275

  35. My African Journey.
    More details
     

    CHURCHILL, Winston S. CHURCHILL, Winston S.

    My African Journey.

    £2,000

  36. Vers de Collège.
    More details
     

    RIMBAUD, Arthur. RIMBAUD, Arthur.

    Vers de Collège.

    £475

  37. The Life of Lord Byron.
    More details
     

    MOORE, Thomas. MOORE, Thomas.

    The Life of Lord Byron.

    £225

Displaying 48 out of 544

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