William Caxton

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Self-will so ardent and active that it will break a world to pieces to make a stool to sit on.
Richard Cecil
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William Caxton (c. 14201492) was the first English printer and publisher. He was also a prolific translator of French romances, and an author in his own right.


  • And thus love is founded otherwhile upon good prouffitable and this love endureth as longe as he seeth his prouffit. And herof men saye a comyn proverbe in England that love lasteth as longe as the money endureth and whan the money faylleth than there is no love.
    • The Game and Playe of the Chesse, Bk. III (1474) [1]
  • The worshipful fader and first foundeur and enbelissher of ornate eloquence in our Englissh. I mene Maister Geffrey Chaucer.
    • Epilogue to Boethius De Consolacione Philosophie (1478); cited from Daniel Wakelin Humanism, Reading, and English Literature, 1430-1530 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) p. 15
  • He that wil wynne he muste laboure and aventure.
    • The History of Reynard the Foxe (1481); cited from Edward Arber An Introductory Sketch to the Martin Marprelate Controversy, 1588-1590 (New York: AMS Press, 1967) p. 27.
  • Al these thynges consydered, there can no man resonably gaynsaye but there was a kyng of thys lande named Arthur. For in al places, Crysten and hethen, he is reputed and taken for one of the nine worthy, and the fyrst of the thre Crysten men.
    • Preface to Sir Thomas Malory Le Morte Darthur (1485); cited from Sir Thomas Malory (ed. Eugène Vinaver) Works (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978) p. xiv.

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