- died 1491, LondonFirst 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 outputabout 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.
* * *born c. 1422, Kent, Englanddied 1491, Londonthe first English printer (printing), who, as a translator and publisher, exerted an important influence on English literature.In 1438 he was apprenticed to Robert Large, a rich mercer, who in the following year became lord mayor of London. Large died in 1441, and Caxton moved to Brugge, the centre of the European wool trade; during the next 30 years he became an increasingly prosperous and influential member of the English trading community in Flanders and Holland. In 1463 he took up duties as “Governor of the English Nation of Merchant Adventurers” in the Low Countries—a post of real authority over his fellow merchants. Sometime in 1470 he ceased to be governor and entered the service of Margaret, duchess of Burgundy, possibly as her financial adviser.In that period Caxton's interests were turning to literature. In March 1469 he had begun to translate Raoul Le Fèvre's Recueil des histoires de Troye, which he laid aside and did not finish until September 19, 1471. In Cologne, where he lived from 1470 to the end of 1472, he learned printing. In the epilogue of Book III of the completed translation, entitled The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, he tells how his “pen became worn, his hand weary, his eye dimmed” with copying the book; so he “practised and learnt” at great personal cost how to print it. He set up a press in Brugge about 1474, and the Recuyell, the first book printed in English, was published there in 1475. Caxton's translation from the French of The Game and Playe of the Chesse (in which chess is treated as an allegory of life) was published in 1476. Caxton printed two or three other works in Brugge in French, but toward the end of 1476 he returned to England and established his press at Westminster. From then on he devoted himself to writing and printing. The first dated book printed in English, Dictes and Sayenges of the Phylosophers, appeared on November 18, 1477.Although a pioneer of printing in England, Caxton showed no great typographical originality and produced no books of remarkable beauty. Kings, nobles, and rich merchants were Caxton's patrons and sometimes commissioned special books. His varied output—including books of chivalric romance, conduct, morality, history, and philosophy and an encyclopaedia, The Myrrour of the Worlde (1481), the first illustrated English book—shows that he catered also to a general public. The large number of service books and devotional works published by Caxton were the staple reading of most literate persons. He also printed nearly all the English literature available to him in his time: Canterbury Tales (1478? and 1484?) and other poems by Chaucer, John Gower's Confessio amantis (1483), Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur (1485), and much of John Lydgate. Caxton translated 24 books, some of them immensely long. By the time of his death, he had published about 100 items of various kinds.Additional ReadingN.F. Blake, William Caxton: A Bibliographical Guide (1985).
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Caxton, William — • Born in the Weald of Kent, c. 1422; died at Westminster, 1491; the first English printer and the introducer of the art of printing into England Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 … Catholic encyclopedia
Caxton, William — (ca. 1421–1491) Businessman, critic, writer, translator, and printer, William Caxton is most celebrated for establishing the first printing press in England. Caxton was born in Kent sometime between 1415 and 1422, most likely in 1422. Besides… … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
Caxton, William — (c. 1421–1491) Commencing operations after EDWARD IV had seemingly ended the WARS OF THE ROSES, cloth merchant William Caxton introduced printing to England in 1477. With the patronage of courtiers and members of the royal houses of YORK and… … Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses
Caxton, William — SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing [br] b. c.1422 Kent, England d. 1491 Westminster, England [br] English printer who produced the first book to be printed in English. [br] According to his own account, Caxton was born in Kent and received a… … Biographical history of technology
Caxton, William — (ca. 1422 1491) The first Englishman to practice the new art of printing. A native of Kent and a member of the Mercers Company of London, he spent many years living abroad, chiefly at Bruges in the Netherlands. In 1470 he moved to Cologne and… … Historical Dictionary of Renaissance
Caxton,William — Cax·ton (kăkʹstən), William. 1422? 1491. English printer who published the first book in English, Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (c. 1475). * * * … Universalium
Caxton, William — ( 1422, Kent, Inglaterra–1491, Londres). Primer impresor británico. Era un próspero comerciante en telas y artículos de mercería cuando comenzó a traducir literatura francesa y a aprender el arte de la impresión. Instaló una imprenta en Bélgica,… … Enciclopedia Universal
CAXTON, WILLIAM — the first English printer, born in Kent, bred a mercer, settled for a time in Bruges, learned the art of printing there, where he printed a translation of the Recuyell of the Historyes of Troyes, and The Game and Playe of Chesse ; returning to … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Caxton, William — (1422 1491) Printer and translator, b. in the Weald of Kent, was apprenticed to a London mercer. On his master s death in 1441 he went to Bruges, and lived there and in various other places in the Low Countries for over 30 years, engaged… … Short biographical dictionary of English literature
Caxton — William Caxton (* um 1422 in der Grafschaft Kent; † 1491 in Westminster) war der erste englische Buchdrucker und gleichzeitig auch als Verleger und Übersetzer tätig. Er gilt als bedeutender Bildner und Reformator der englischen Sprache, da er in… … Deutsch Wikipedia