Caxton, William


Caxton, William

biographical name

(born c. 1422, Kent, Eng.—died 1491, London) First British printer. He was a prosperous mercer when he began to translate French literature and learn printing. He set up a press in Belgium and published his translation The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1475), the first book printed in English. Returning to England, he set up another press and produced the first dated book printed in English, Dictes and Sayenges of the Phylosophers (1477). His varied output—about 100 items, including books on chivalric romance, morality, and history and an encyclopaedia that was the first illustrated English book (1481)—shows that he catered to a general public as well as to wealthy patrons.

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