Caxton, Mirrour of Fifteenth-Century Letters: A Study of the Literature of the First English Press

Caxton, Mirrour of Fifteenth-Century Letters: A Study of the Literature of the First English Press

Caxton, Mirrour of Fifteenth-Century Letters: A Study of the Literature of the First English Press

Caxton, Mirrour of Fifteenth-Century Letters: A Study of the Literature of the First English Press

Excerpt

WHY, it may well be asked, another book on Caxton after the great work by William Blades? Is it needed for corrections and the addition of new material? Has not this purpose been accomplished in the volume by E. Gordon Duff, published by the Caxton Club of Chicago in 1905.

In reply let me hasten to state that the present undertaking is no attempt to supersede the work of these men, "whose penner and ynke horne"--to borrow a phrase from Caxton--"I am not worthy to here" in the field of early printing and bibliography. To be sure a few gleanings have been included which they passed by, and which, I believe, should not be regarded entirely as unconsidered trifles. There is, too, the important discovery of Lieutenant-Colonel Birch in 1923 which, fitted into its proper place, gives satisfactory solution to the vexed question of where Caxton learned the art of printing.

But the object of this study is primarily different from previous ones, which have been concerned mainly with Caxton's work as a printer, bibliographical descriptions of his books, or studies of his language. It is an attempt to study him as author and editor; to examine the works he selected to print, and through them to gain more knowledge of one of the least understood periods of English literature.

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