iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Caxton and the Printing Press

Listen now 43 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Caxton and the Printing Press

Duration:
43 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 18 October 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and influence of William Caxton, the merchant who brought the printing press to the British Isles. After spending several years working as a printer in Bruges, Caxton returned to London and in 1476 set up his first printing press in Westminster, and also imported and sold other printed books. Caxton concentrated on producing popular books that he knew would sell, such as Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' and small liturgical 'books of hours'. The standard of Caxton's printing may have lagged behind that on the continent, but he was a skilful businessman and unusually for printers at the time, he managed not to go bankrupt. The advent of print is now seen as one of the great revolutions in intellectual history - although many scholars believe it was a revolution that took many generations to have an effect.

With:

Richard Gameson
Professor of the History of the Book at the University of Durham

Julia Boffey
Professor of Medieval Studies in the English Department at Queen Mary, University of London

David Rundle
Member of the History Faculty at the University of Oxford

Producer: Natalia Fernandez.

  • FURTHER READING

    J. A. W. Bennett (ed.), ‘The Canterbury Tales: A Facsimile Edition of William Caxton’s Second Edition’ (Cambridge: Cornmarket Reprints, 1972)

     

    N. F. Blake, ‘Caxton and his World’ (André Deutsch, 1969)

     

    N. F. Blake, ‘Caxton: England’s First Publisher’ (Osprey, 1975)

     

    N. F. Blake, ‘Caxton’s Own Prose’ (HarperCollins, 1973)

     

    Lotte Hellinga, ‘Caxton in Focus: The Beginning of Printing in England’ (British Library, 1982)

     

    Lotte Hellinga, ‘William Caxton and Early Printing in England’ (British Library, 2010)

     

    L. Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (ed.), ‘The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Vol. III: 1400-1557’ (Cambridge, 1999)

     

    E. Hodnett (ed.), ‘The History and Fables of Aesop translated and printed by William Caxton 1484, reproduced in facsimile’ (Scolar Press, 1976)

     

    D. McKitterick, ‘Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order’ (Cambridge, 2005)

     

    J. C. T. Oates and L. C. Harmer, ‘Vocabulary in French and English: a facsimile of Caxton’s edition of c.1480’ (Cambridge University Press, 1964)

     

    George D. Painter, ‘William Caxton: A Quincentenary Biography of England’s First Printer’ (Chatto & Windus, 1976)

     

    A. Pettegree, ‘The Book in the Renaissance’ (Yale, 2010)

     

     

    SCROLL TO BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR FURTHER RELEVANT LINKS

     

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • Culture archive

    Popular culture, poetry, music and visual arts and the roles they play in our society.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Podcasts

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss