CAXTON AND THE TRANSITION
WILLIAM CAXTON deserves some mention in any history of Arthurian Romance, because, according to the colophon of the Morte Darthur, it was by him that this most important of English romances was "deuyded in to XXI bookes chapytred and enprynted and fynysshed in thabbey westmestre the last day of Iuyl the yere of our lord MCCCCLXXXV." This Caxton, born in Kent about 1422, after being apprenticed to a London mercer, removed to Bruges, then a great mercantile centre of western Europe, where he became so prominent among the many Englishmen settled in the Netherlands that he was chosen the Governor of the English Merchants in Flanders and Brabant.
Caxton had considerable interest in literature, which presumably his mercantile life did not give him time to gratify to the full. At length, in 1468, he got more time for literary interests. In that year Charles the Bold of Burgundy married Princess Margaret of York, sister to Edward IV of England. On her arrival in the Netherlands, Caxton became a favorite with her, and soon gave up his business to accept a position in her household. Just at that time Bruges was feeling the Renaissance. Books were numerous there; and Caxton got hold of a French story of the Siege of