Literary holdings are wide-ranging, but especially strong in fiction.  Highlights include:

Early Novel Collection

A collection of 1,000 titles of fiction in English, dating from the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century, with many first editions and in bindings commissioned by early owners.

Children's literature

Around 2,000 titles from the 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, largely, but not exclusively, in English, fiction predominating; including  keepsakes and annuals, and historical, religious and geographical works.

English language and literature

Over 2,500 volumes featuring local authors such as Hannah More and Michael Field, and including grammars and dictionaries collected by Susie I. Tucker of the Department of English and Lemuel Matthews Griffiths, doctor and medical librarian.

Classical language and literature

Around 1,200 volumes of early printed classical scholarship, including two important gifts to the University from Francis Hill Baynes, barrister, and Sir Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse, Liberal politician and University of Bristol Pro-Chancellor. The acquisition of about 100 titles from the library of Chichester Cathedral in 1949 brought a small number of books from the family of Henry King, poet and bishop of Chichester.

Modern foreign languages

Holdings are chiefly in Italian, French and German. The Italian books include some which can be traced to the ownership of the historian of Renaissance Italy, John Addington Symonds. German holdings owe much to Prof. Leonard Forster, including, for instance, early editions of the works of Martin Opitz.

Samuel Johnson reading a book.
Mezzotint of Samuel Johnson by Arthur Sanders. Fry Portrait Collection.
Book open to show title, publication details and symbol of hands holding aloft a cup on one page and an illustration of a view through a window of trees and a mountain on the other page, all printed in black and red ink in an art nouveau style.
Goethe edition designed by Melchior Lechter (1901).

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