Books and Their Makers during the Middle Ages: A Study of the Conditions of the Production and Distribution of Literature from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Close of the Seventeenth Century - Vol. 2

By George Haven Putnam | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
WILLIAM CAXTON, AND THE INTRODUCTION OF PRINTING INTO ENGLAND, 1412-1492.

A SKETCH of the early printer-publishers of Europe would of course be incomplete without some reference to the career of the man whose work will always be associated with the history of printing in England. The publishing undertakings of Caxton were, however, of much less considerable importance than those of his continental contemporaries to whom chapters have been devoted, while it is also the case that the events of his life have been so fully set forth in various English histories that they are already familiar to readers interested in the record of printing and publishing. It would, therefore, be superfluous for me to attempt to present, in a general sketch like the present, any extended or detailed information concerning Caxton's career. For my present purpose, it will be sufficient to indicate briefly the influences from which Caxton derived his interest in literary undertakings, and the sources from which he secured his training as a printer, with some reference to the character of his publishing undertakings as compared with those of the printers whose work had already been begun in Germany, France, and Italy.

Caxton was born in the Weald of Kent, about 1422, and died in London in 1492. His life covered, therefore, the period during which Gutenberg was perfecting his printing-press, and included also the years in which Ko-

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