The Anglo-German collection consists of over 100 works of literature, literary criticism and essays by 16th, 17th and 18th century German, Swiss, English, Scottish and Irish poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists and philosophers and translated mainly into German or English. The earliest publication date is 1719 and the latest 1863, but most of the works were published in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Poems originally written in English and translated into German include Alexander Pope’s ‘Essay on man’, John Milton’s ‘Paradise lost’, James Thomson’s ‘Seasons’ and James Macpherson’s ‘Poems of Ossian’. Novels translated into German include Johnathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s travels’ and Samuel Richardson’s epistolary novel ‘History of Sir Charles Grandison’. Plays include William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The merchant of Venice’ .
Works originally written in German and translated into English include Friedrich Schiller’s plays ‘Die Räuber’, ‘Die Braut von Messina’ and ‘Die Jungfrau von Orleans ’, as well as his unfinished novel ‘Der Geisterseher’; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ‘Torquato Tasso’ and Johann Georg Zimmermann’s essays ‘Über die Einsamkeit’ and ‘Von dem Nationalstolze’.
In addition there are a few descriptions of the social life and customs of France and Germany, works on German history and descriptions of travels through England and Italy.
The collection includes first editions of first English versions, as well as first English translations of works.
Almost half of the titles in the collection were donated to the library by John Alexander Wilks (1889-1968) who was UCL Librarian from 1926 to 1954. Wilks’ first appointment as a Junior Library Assistant was on 17 October 1910 and from then until the War he studied in his spare time to achieve a BA with first class honours. On his return from the Western Front he was promoted to Assistant Librarian and commenced research for a Master’s degree, for which he gained a Mark of Distinction, as he had won the Fielden Scholarship for German Research. He was appointed Librarian in October 1926 (Obituaries by J. W. Scott and Dr. J. H. P. Pafford in vol. 70 November 1968 issue of ‘Library Association Record’). Most of the works donated by John Wilks were war damage replacement copies.
Last modified 2 June 2010