VisitEngland has declared 2017 the 'Year of Literary Heroes'. See below for the titles and authors charting some of the year's most significant literary moments. All books featured are one-off editions available to purchase through Shapero Rare Books.

Jane Austen

The Works of Jane Austen

Boston, 1906


Jane Austen
The Works

'They were now advancing so deep in physics that Charlotte viewed the entrance of the servant with the tea things as a very fortunate interruption.'

In 2017 the literary world commemorates the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen (1775-1817) in a year packed with exhibitions, talks and a film version of Austen's last, uncompleted novel. The ailing author started writing Sanditon in January 1817 which is a satire on the growth of seaside resorts and the health tourism industry. Charlotte Rampling is due to play the nouveau-riche Lady Denham in the feature which charts the story of Charlotte Heywood who accepts an invitation to visit the newly fashionable resort of Sanditon.

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

London, 1998


J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter

'Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.'

June 2017 will mark 20 years since the release of JK Rowling’s first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, inspiring a global phenomenon. Later in the year, a new exhibition at the British Library, dedicated to the magic of Harry Potter (20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018) will include previously unseen materials from author JK Rowling as well as magical treasures from the British Library’s own collection of wizarding books.

J.M. Barrie, F.D. Bedford (illustrator)

 Peter and Wendy

London, 1911


J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan

'To die will be an awfully big adventure.'

On 19 June it is the 80th death anniversary of JM Barrie (1860-1937) author of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up. Barrie never recovered from the shock he received at six from a brother’s accidental death and its grievous effect on his mother, who was said to find comfort in the fact that he would remain a boy forever. It was here that Barrie's lifelong obsession with the preservation of childhood innocence became anchored in his psyche and writing.

We have a stunning this first edition of 'Peter and Wendy', Barrie's best-loved work, and the fullest version of the Peter Pan story, it expands upon Barrie's play 'Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up', first performed in 1904 but not published until 1928. The character of Peter Pan made his first appearance in 'The Little White Bird' in 1902.

Alfred Tennyson
The Idylls of the King and other works

'A doubtful throne is ice on summer seas. . . .'

6 October will mark the 125th death anniversary of Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892).  Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign, The Idylls of the King was dedicated to the late Prince Albert. This copy was published in 1913.

Tennyson had a life-long interest in the legend of King Arthur and after the huge success of his poem 'Morte d'Arthur' built on the theme with a series of twelve poems, written in two periods of intense creativity over nearly twenty years.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

'I have taken to living by my wits.'

It is the 125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes publication this October. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930), was published in 1892; the book was the first collection of Holmes stories, which Conan Doyle had been publishing in magazines since 1887.  Above is the first edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes [With] The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. 1892-94.

A.A. MILNE; E.H. SHEPARD (illustrator)

The House At Pooh Corner

London, 1928


A. A. Milne

'How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.'

Like 'Finding Neverland' before it, the creation of 'Winnie the Pooh' is getting the big screen treatment with an upcoming A.A. Milne biopic. The untitled drama will also focus on the coming-of-age of Milne’s son, Christopher Robbin. Fox Searchlight has announced production is officially underway and the release date is sometime in 2017. The much-loved children's classic tells the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh, 'a Bear of Very Little Brain' and his friends Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Owl and Christopher Robin, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard.

Find Out More

Explore more items in our Literature department. We are continually updating our stock with first edition classic works and children’s titles. For further information contact Angus Robb.