Ramblings & ephemera

The first printed English books

From “William Caxton“, at The Science Show:

In 1474, his History of Troy, his own book, became the first book to be printed in English and two years later he brought his press to England setting up shop near the Chapter House in the precinct of Westminster Abbey, where parliament met. Caxton had an eye for a good location. Along the route between the palace of Westminster and the Chapter House shuffled lawyers, churchmen, courtiers, MPs – the book buying elite of England. The former cloth trader also had an eye for a best seller. The second book he printed was about chess, the game and play of the chess. Then came in fairly quick succession, a French-English dictionary, a translation of Aesop’s fables, several popular romances, Mallory’s tale of Camelot in Le Mort d’Arthur, some school text books, a history of England, an encyclopaedia entitled The Mirror of the World and Chaucer’s bawdy evergreen collection, The Canterbury Tales.

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