Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 753 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

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Important Acquisitions 316 to 330 of 753:

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AuthorBurns, Robert
TitlePoems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect.
ImprintEdinburgh : Printed for A. Constable & Co.
Date of Publication1807
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis early 19th-century edition of Burns's "Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect" was published in 1807 and was printed by Francis Ray of Dundee. It resembles closely, up to p. 228, the edition printed in the same year by Abernethy & Walker for booksellers in Stirling and Glasgow. However, there is a different type-setting of the words "Scottish dialect" on the title page, and minor changes elsewhere in the use of font, as well as the correct spelling of "idiot" on p. iii. It also includes 'Miscellaneous poems' from pp. 229-251, which are popular poems in Scots not by Burns: Shepherd Lubin, The farmer's ingle, Rab and Ringan, The loss o' the pack, Marg'ret and the minister, The twa cats. The glossary of Scots words follows these miscellaneous words and is not separately paginated, as in the Abernethy & Walker printing. This copy has an interesting provenance. It belonged to the Stark family of Cupar as can be seen by the inscription of James F. Stark, dated 1854, on the front pastedown. There is also a blue library label numbered '32'. James Stark was a writer/solicitor in Cupar who became procurator fiscal in the town. However, the book was clearly in the family from an earlier date. On the rear pastedown there is a crude drawing of houses (in Cupar?) and inscriptions by Jn. Stark (John Stark), and on the endpaper an inscription in Latin: Hic liber pertinet ad me Ioannem [?] Stark ut praemium [?] virtutis Doctore Jacobi Clark (this book belongs to me John Stark as a reward of good behaviour, [given] by Dr James Clark). John Stark would appear to have been a pupil of Dr James Clarke/Clark, the rector of Cupar grammar school from 1802 onwards. Clarke was a friend and correspondent of Robert Burns. He was working at Moffat grammar school when, in 1791, he fell out with the parents of some of the pupils. They, along with the Earl of Hopetoun, the local landowner, tried to get him sacked for cruelty to the children. Burns took on it himself to defend Clarke, writing to his friend Alexander Cunningham in June 1791 asking him to join the cause, which would also be joined by Robert Riddell of Glenriddell and Alexander Fergusson of Craigdarroch. Burns refers to Clarke as a "man of genius and sensibility" who was being persecuted for alleged "harshness to some perverse dunces". Burns's help extended to drafting a letter for Clarke to send to Sir James Stirling, one of the school's trustees, protesting his innocence, and another letter later that year which was sent to Alexander Williamson, the Earl of Hopetoun's factor. Two letters also survive from Burns to Clarke in early 1792, asking him to hold his nerve and assuring him of his unwavering support. Clarke travelled to Edinburgh in February 1792 to clear his name. Burns had drafted a letter for him to send to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, one of the patrons of the school, requesting a fair hearing of his case. Clarke was successful in defending himself and remained at Moffat until 1794, when he moved to a school in Forfar, before going on to Cupar. Burns also lent money to Clarke during the crisis of 1791/92, even though he had enough financial problems of his own. The schoolmaster was still paying back his debt in instalments at the time of Burns's death in July, 1796. The poet wrote one last plaintive letter to Clarke in June 1796, acknowledging receipt of the latest repayment and asking for another to be sent by return of post. By this stage Burns was aware that he was dying, and noted that his old friend would not recognise the "emaciated figure" writing to him and that it was highly improbable that they would see each other again.
ShelfmarkAB.1.213.202
Reference Sources"The complete letters of Robert Burns" ed. J. Mackay, Alloway, 1987; bookseller's notes
Acquired on13/09/13
AuthorBurns, Robert
TitlePoetical Works
ImprintAlnwick: by W. Davison
Date of Publication[1812]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an attractive set of the works of Burns, published with engravings by Thomas Bewick, and bound in brown gilt crushed morocco by the late 19th-century binder Joseph William Zaehnsdorf. The date 1812 is found on the original boards of our existing copy at shelfmark X.171.h. The two volumes were formerly owned by the noted collector of Scottish books John Gribbel. All this, however, is put into the shade by the fact that the first volume has the title-page inscribed 'Robert Louis Stevenson'. Stevenson is known to have owned various copies of Burns' poems, but this one does not seem to have been previously noted. It has not been traced in the various auctions of Stevenson's books. The signature has his characteristic looped 'L' and the long cross-bar of the 't' in 'Stevenson'. Stevenson and Burns are two of the best known names in Scottish literature, although Stevenson had reservations about Burns. In his essay 'Some aspects of Robert Burns', published in 1879, Stevenson refers to the personal remarks in Burns' poetry as 'his own pitiful apology for such a marred existence and talents so misused and stunted'. There are, nevertheless, many striking parallels in the lives of the two writers, not least their passionate rebellion against orthodox morality and their early deaths. It is enormously plesasing that the National Library of Scotland now has a set of Burns with Stevenson provenance.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2331
Reference SourcesEgerer 130
Acquired on10/06/04
AuthorBurns, Robert [et al.] + Armstrong, John.
TitlePoems chiefly by Robert Burns, and Peter Pindar, &c. &c. To which is added the Life of Robert Burns. + The Oeconomy of love [by John Armstrong]
ImprintLondon: Printed for the booksellers,
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis small volume contains two unrecorded editions bound together; the first is an anthology which contains nine of Robert Burns's most famous poems, as well as works from other poets including John Wolcot 'Peter Pindar'; the second is an Oxford printing of Scottish poet John Armstrong's erotic poem "The oeconomy of love", a bestseller in the 18th century. The Burns edition is probably a piracy, appearing under the convenient, catch-all imprint "Printed for the booksellers". The composition of the book suggests that it was hastily put together. The contents page lists a 'Life of Robert Burns' on pp. 3-4 but in fact on pp. [v]-xx there is an unacknowledged reprint of Robert Heron's "A memoir of the life of the late Robert Burns" which had first appeared the previous year, 1797, the earliest printed biography of the poet. In addition to the Burns poems there are the following: four poems by 'Peter Pindar'; an unacknowledged printing of Matthew Lewis's "Alonzo the brave"; Thomas Holcroft's satirical song "Gaffer Gray" which first appeared in print in 1794; two Border ballads "Lord Gregory/The lass of Loch Royan" (which both Burns and Wolcot produced versions of) and "The battle of Otterburn"; four anonymous poems "Saint Genevieve of the Woods" (which was first printed in Warrington, c. 1780, under the title "The saint of the woods, or the loves of Siffred, and the maid of Brabant"), "The contented cottager", "Poem translated from the Persian" and "The blind boy".
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.02(1-2)
Acquired on05/08/11
AuthorBurrard, S.G., Heron, A.M.
TitleSketch of the geography and geology of the Himalaya Mountains and Tibet.
ImprintDelhi : Manager of Publications
Date of Publication1933
NotesRevised and updated edition of the 1907 work by Burrard and Hayden which had been produced to mark the centenary of geographical and geological exploring expeditions of the Himalaya Mountains. This had become an invaluable reference work for surveyors and explorers. The present work, which revises and updates it, is equipped with a large number of plates, maps and illustrations.
ShelfmarkGB/B.1491
Reference SourcesYakushi : Catalogue of the Himalayan literature
Acquired on29/10/02
AuthorByron, George Gordon
TitleCorrespondance de Lord Byron avec un ami.
ImprintParis: A. et W. Galignani
Date of Publication1825
LanguageFrench
NotesAs the publishers of this work say, 'Everything concerning this great poet & cannot fail to excite the most lively interest'. R.C. Dallas' 'The Correspondence of Lord Byron' has a curious history. An author himself, Robert Dallas (1754-1824) was connected to Byron by marriage (his sister married Byron's uncle). The two corresponded in the early years of Byron's career, and Dallas had an editorial role in Byron's early poetry. In return Byron gave him the copyright to the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and The Corsair, although later he seems to have dropped the personal and literary friendship. In possession of Byron's letters to his mother during his eastern travels, as well as of their own correspondence, Dallas prepared an edition of all these letters which he planned to publish after Byron's death in 1824. However Hobhouse and Hanson, Byron's executors and self-appointed keepers of his memory, took legal action to prevent its publication. Dallas died soon after, and his son published 'The Correspondence' in Paris in 1825: as the French publishers point out, the attempt to suppress the book only served to whet the public's appetite for it. While the English edition of this book is well known, copies of this French translation are scarce (none are recorded in COPAC). The publishers state that they had originally obtained the French rights to the book and had intended to publish it at the same time as the English edition; their translation was delayed by the legal action, and now they are publishing the two at the same time. These two volumes therefore provide eloquent testimony both to Byron's continental popularity, and to the controversy he was still capable of arousing after his death.
ShelfmarkAB.2.206.002
Reference SourcesDNB.
Acquired on17/06/05
AuthorByron, George Gordon
TitleBruden Fran Abdyos. En Osterlandsk Berattelse i Tvanne Sanger, af Lord Byron
ImprintStockholm: Zacharias Haeggstrom
Date of Publication1830
LanguageSwedish
NotesThis is the first Swedish edition of Byron's dramatic poem The Bride of Abydos, one of his Turkish Tales. The poem first appeared in 1813, a tragic love-story which perhaps is founded on Byron's own love for his half-sister Augusta: in this tale, the lovers Zuleika and Selim are cousins, but were half-brother and sister in the original draft. This Swedish edition testifies to the popularity of even Byron's lesser-known poetry across continental Europe, and unusually survives in its original paper wrappers, complete with details of the price. No copy is recorded in COPAC.
ShelfmarkAPS.1.206.002
Reference SourcesCOPAC; Oxford Companion to English Literature
Acquired on17/06/05
AuthorByron, George Gordon
TitleLord Byron's saemmtliche lyrische Gedichte. Uebersetzt von Ernst Ortlepp.
ImprintStuttgart: Hoffman'sche Verlags-Buchhandlung.
Date of Publication1839
LanguageGerman
NotesThis edition of the German poet Ernst Ortlepp's translations of Byron's lyric poems seems to be unrecorded in Byron bibliographies. Ortlepp produced the first complete translation of Byron's works into German, also published by Hoffman in 1839-40; this volume may have been incorporated into that edition. The copy is still in its original paper wrapper.
ShelfmarkAB.1.206.02
Acquired on17/06/05
AuthorByron, George Gordon Byron
TitleImpromptu Chanson
ImprintSantpoort [Netherlands]: Mercator
Date of Publication1985
LanguageDutch and English
NotesThe Chanson was originally written by Lord Byron (1788-1824) in Venice and sent to Thomas Moore in a letter dated 24 December 1816. It was first published posthumously in 1830. The present edition was produced on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Netherlands Byron Genootschap. The poem is accompanied by a Dutch translation by Joop van Helmond and was hand-set in Garamond and printed on Zerkall-Bütten in October 1985. This is number 79 of a limited edition of 100 copies.
ShelfmarkPB6.208.559/2
Acquired on12/07/05
AuthorByron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824.
TitleLord Byron's Poesien.
ImprintZwickau: Gebrueder Schumann
Date of Publication1821-1828
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the rare first collected German edition of Byron's complete works and is a welcome addition to the Library's extensive holdings of early translations of the poet's work. The edition was translated by a team of writers, among them August Schumann and Elise von Hohenhausen, and began to appear in print when the author was still alive. The firm Brothers Schumann had been founded by Alexander Schumann (1773-1826), the father of the romantic composers Clara and Robert Schumann, and began publishing a huge series of translations of foreign literature. Byron's works are part of their Pocket Library of Foreign Classics in New German Translations (Taschenbibliothek der auslaendischen Klassiker, in neuen Verdeutschungen) which apeared between 1819 and 1831. There are in total 31 volumes/parts to this edition, which in this set have been bound into seven volumes.
ShelfmarkAB.1.211.023-029
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on20/05/11
AuthorByron, George Gordon Byron, Baron.
TitleMorgante maggiore.
ImprintParis: Galignani
Date of Publication1825
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first separate edition of Byron's translation of the first canto of the "Morgante", a poem by Italian Renaissance poet Luigi Pulci (1432-1484). Pulci's epic tale concerns the unlikely friendship between the heroic Orlando and the pagan giant, Morgante, who converts to Christianity and becomes his loyal follower. The two have many adventures before both meeting untimely ends. Byron wrote his translation when staying in Ravenna in Italy in late 1819/early 1820. Byron had moved there from Venice as a result of his affair with Countess Teresa Guiccioli, renting the upper floor of Palazzo Guiccioli with the assent of Teresa's husband. During his time in Ravenna he worked at a remarkable rate, producing this work as well as two new cantos of "Don Juan" and completing "The Prophecy of Dante". "Morgante Maggiore" was first published in the fourth number of the short-lived literary periodical "The Liberal", edited by Byron and Leigh Hunt. This edition bears the imprint of A. and W. Galignani of Paris who specialised in publishing English-language books for the Continent. It includes 12 pages of advertisements for new publications "at one-third of the London prices".
ShelfmarkAP.1.212.14
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on29/07/11
AuthorByron, George Gordon, Baron.
TitleRitter Harold's Pilgerfahrt.
ImprintStuttgart
Date of Publication1836
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first edition of what is probably the first German translation of Childe Harold, the work which made Byron famous. He composed this work between 1812 and 1818, though nearly two decades were to elapse before it was fully translated. The translator, Joseph Christian, Freiherr von Zedlitz, (1790-1862) was one of the leading poets in Austria. The work contains a preface and copious scholarly notes by the translator and retains its original wrappers. Zedlitz composed patriotic and romantic verse and his Totenkränze (1828), a cycle of 134 poems, was in imitation of Byron's style. Another translation of Childe Harolde was apparently made by Karl Baldamus (1784-1852) in 1835, but no copy is extant. Though controversial in his own country, Byron was revered on the continent and particularly in Germany, where Heine, Goethe and their contemporaries fell under his spell.
ShelfmarkABS.3.201.018
Acquired on16/11/00
AuthorByron, George Gordon, Lord
TitleWaltz: an apostrophic hymn. By Horace Hornem, Esq. (The author of Don Juan.)
ImprintLondon: Benbow
Date of Publication1821
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis rare pirate edition contains not only Byron's poem 'Waltz', first printed in 1813, but also five more of his poems, including 'To Jessy' ('addressed by Lord Byron to his Lady, a few months before their separation'), 'Adieu to Malta', and 'On the Star of the Legion of Honour'. The poems 'Lines to Tom Moore' and 'Lines to Hobhouse', both occasional verse, were first published in this edition or in the other pirate edition of 'Waltz' produced in the same year by T. Clark (NLS shelfmark AB.3.86.15) - it is unknown which was first printed. Unlike the Clark edition, this Benbow edition is not included in the standard Byron bibliography by T.J. Wise. This copy is in the original paper covers, with an inscription dated London, April 1822 on the title page. There were many pirate editions of Byron's poems in the early nineteenth century. William Benbow, who also printed other poems by Byron and Shelley, was a radical bookseller who 'seized on pirating as a form of proto-class warfare' (Neil Fraistat, 'Illegitimate Shelley: Radical Piracy and the Textual Condition as Cultural Performance, PMLA 109(3), 409-423). Presumably he approved of the satirical 'Waltz', written in the persona of a smug 'country gentleman' but full of Byron's political wit.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2679
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on23/08/07
AuthorByron, George Gordon, Lord
TitlePiec Poematów Lorda Birona przelozyl Franciszek Dzierzyrkraj Morawski [Five poems of Lord Byron translated by Morawski].
ImprintNakladem autora [Printed for the author]. Leszno. Drukiem Ernesta Günthera.
Date of Publication1853
LanguagePolish
NotesThese are translations of Byron's poems by the soldier and poet Franciszek Morawski (1783-1861), with the translator's notes. Translated here are Byron's Manfred, Mazeppa, The Siege of Corinth, Parisina, and The Prisoner of Chilon. Morawski was a patriot and was Minister for War during the 1830-1 uprising against Russian rule; when the revolt failed, he went into semi-retirement and composed verses and translations of Byron and Racine. There are other early Polish translations, such as those by Adam Mickiewicz and Anton i Odyniec, but this is the first edition of this particular translation. This is a good copy in a contemporary Polish binding. The Library's interest in developing its Byron collections was given new impetus by the arrival of the John Murray Archive in 2006, with its unrivalled Byron correspondence. Our collections of books in Polish have also taken on new prominence recently, with the arrival of many Polish people to work in Scotland. This is, apparently, the only example of a Polish translation of the works of Byron in our collections. Hopefully we will be able to acquire more.
ShelfmarkAB.2.207.07
Acquired on26/03/07
AuthorByron, George Gordon, Lord.
TitleOeuvres de Lord Byron [10 vols]
ImprintParis: Chez Ladvocat
Date of Publication1819-1821
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is the first and very rare edition (no copies in the UK) of the first complete translation of Byron. It has been described by Richard Cardwell as 'the prime source for Byron's reception in Europe' and it served as the basis for later editions in other languages. The translation was carried out by Amedée Pichot, editor the 'Revue britannique' and Eusèbe de Salle.The translation took its source text the Galignani editions of Byron published in Paris from 1818. Though lacking any evidence of provenance, according to the bookseller the set formed part of the Fürstenberg Library at Donaueschingen.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2720
Reference SourcesCardwell, Richard (ed.) The reception of Byron in Europe. (London, 2004)
Acquired on25/08/08
AuthorCameron, William
TitlePoems on various subjects
ImprintEdinburgh: Gordon and Murray
Date of Publication1780
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Library bid successfully for this lot at the auction of part of the library of the late Lord Perth. The lot comprised two books: a fine copy of William Cameron's Poems bound by James Scott of Edinburgh, and a fine copy of the Foulis Press Terence printed in 1742 in a 'Chippendale' binding. William Cameron of Kirknewton (now in West Lothian) is the anonymous writer of these poems. The Library has another copy also bound by Scott showing the same gilt twist-roll border and ornamented spine, but that copy is very worn. Our new copy is crisp and attractive, with Scott's label affixed to the title-page. It is the same copy that was photographed for J. H. Loudon's book on James and William Scott, which helped to bring their innovative bindings to widespread attention. The second item is Terence, Comoediae, Glasgow, printed by Robert Urie for Robert Foulis, 1742. This is a most attractive red morocco binding with a gilt-tooled design in the 'Chippendale' style, with flowers and birds around the scrolls of foliage. The textblock, printed by the important Foulis Press, is not on large paper but is uncut. Both books are important additions to our collection of Scottish bindings, and their provenance makes them particularly pleasing; Lord Perth was a good friend of the Library and a remarkable Scottish collector.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.895
Reference SourcesLoudon, p.190-1 Gaskell 13
Acquired on28/11/03
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