William Caxton and Early Printing in England
Distributed for British Library
William Caxton (1415~22–92) laid the foundations of publishing in England—he not only introduced the printing press to England, but was also the first English book retailer. In 1473 he printed Britain’s first book—Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye—and thus established the printing and book industry in the country. His best known publications are Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Golden Legend, and Malory’s Morte D’Arthur. He also translated historical works and romances and wrote prefaces to his books. As publisher of more than one hundred publications, Caxton established a new readership for major works in English.
William Caxton and Early Printing in England takes a fresh approach to the first sixty years of printing in England by placing Caxton, his contemporaries, and other early publishers in the broad context of the history of book production between the middle of the fifteenth century and the Reformation. Although many of the early printers in England, Caxton included, had experience of the nascent printing industry in Europe—notably the French, German, and Dutch printers—printing and publishing in England quickly developed a unique character of its own.
This readable and highly illustrated account is a fascinating history of the birth and growth of an industry with a very significant place in British history.