William Caxton and Early Printing in England

Lotte Hellinga

Lotte Hellinga

Distributed for British Library

212 pages | 20 color plates, 80 halftones | 6 7/10 x 9 6/10 | © 2010
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780712350884 Published December 2010 For sale in North and South America only

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.

Times Literary Supplement
“The great success of William Caxton and Early Printing in England is that its concessions to the general reader extend an invitation into an exciting world of research in progress, where much still remains to be discovered. . . . There is much here for anyone interested in the literature and culture of the years between the medieval and early modern periods, fittingly enhanced by striking illustrations which suggest something of the variousness of early printed books, and the energy with which their readers were ready to annotate, enhance and deface them.”
Contents
Foreword
Introduction

1 Before Caxton
2 Caxton in Bruges: merchant and diplomat
3 Caxton and Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy: his first translation
4 Caxton in Cologne (1471–2)
5 Caxton's plans for a printing house
6 The first books printed in English: a tale of the known and the unknown
7 Caxton and his patrons in Westminster
8 Books multiplied: Caxton's publications until 1486
9 Printing in Oxford (1478–83)
10 The first printers in London (1480–c.1486)
11 The Press at St Albans (1479–81, 1486)
12 Caxton's final years (1487–92)
13 'Standing abasshed': between patrons and readers
14 Richard Pynson: the canny entrepreneur (1491–1529)
15 Wynkyn de Worde: taking over Caxton's firm (1492–6)
16 Wynkyn de Worde's career as independent publisher (1497–1535)
17 Printing devotional texts in English
18 Contemporaries outside the mainstream

Further reading
List of illustrations
General Index
Index of authors and texts
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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