Portrait of George Borrow

Works of George Borrow

George Borrow (1803–1881) wrote a number of books, all of which are freely available via Project Gutenberg, and most of which can be easily obtained via the second-hand book trade.  At the time of writing, only Wild Wales was currently in print, although special editions of Borrow’s works are published from time to time.

Major Works

Although these were published separately as Borrow wrote them, John Murray, Borrow’s publisher, combined them into the “Definitive Edition” in 1901, as a five volume set.

The Zincali

The Bible in Spain


The Romany Rye

Wild Wales

Romano Lavo-Lil


Celebrated Trials

In 1825 George Borrow, working for Sir Richard Phillips, completed the six volumes of Celebrated Trials and Remarkable Cases of Criminal Jurisprudence from the Earliest Records to the year 1825.   This was the work George Borrow that appears in Lavengro as Newgate Lives and Trials.

The Welsh and their Literature

John Murray printed part of an old essay by George Borrow in his 1860 Quarterly Review, as The Welsh and their Literature.  Borrow used the opportunity to “review” his just published book Wild Wales, favourably of course!

Celtic Bards, Chiefs and Kings

This book, reconstructed by Prof. Herbert Wright and published in 1928, contains the bulk of George Borrow’s essay The Welsh and Their Literature, followed by an unpublished portion that was found in manuscript after Borrow’s death.  We have a brief page giving more information.  Note that due to copyright this book won’t be available on the Internet for some time.


The main collection of George Borrow’s letters is The Letters of George Borrow to the British and Foreign Bible Society published in 1911 by T. H. Darlow.  Extracts from many letters were also published by William Knapp’s Life, Writings and Correspondence of George Borrow.  A few letters were also published in Thomas J. Wise’s series of pamphlets, Clement Shorter’s George Borrow and his circle etc.


Although translating from other languages was somewhat of an obsession with Borrow, during his life he only managed to get a small number of his translations published.  These were:

Faustus, 1825.

Romantic Ballads, 1826

Targum, 1835

The Talisman, 1835

Embéo e Majaró Lucas (The Gypsy Luke), 1837 [1838]

The Sleeping Bard, 1860

After Borrow’s death, two further substantial transactions were published:

The Turkish Jester, 1884

The Death of Balder, 1889 [1892]

A collection of 42 short pamphlets containing George Borrow’s translations was published by Thomas J. Wise in 1913–14.  Few of these are critically edited and although they make some unpublished translations of George Borrow available, they were mainly published in limited numbers to create “First Editions”, Thomas J. Wise being a book collector.

In 1923–24 Clement Shorter issued many of the remaining unpublished translations in the Norwich Edition of the works of George Borrow, which runs to 16 volumes but the edition was limited to 750 copies.

In 1967 AMS reprinted the Norwich edition in facsimilie, with the page size photographically reduced.  Copies of the AMS can be more easily obtained than the original Norwich Edition, the contents being identical.