William Caxton

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     The printing press was invented by Johann Gutenberg around 1450. William Caxton (1422?-1491) was the first English printer. Caxton began his business life as a merchant in Bruges, where he traded in textiles. In 1474 he set up a printing press and published his translation of the French romance The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye by Raoul le Févre. This was the first printed book in English. In 1474 he also published The Game and Play of Chess Moralised, a translation of the first major European work on chess. It was the first printed book in English to make extensive use of woodcuts.

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     He returned to England in 1476 and set up a printing press at Westminster. There he published the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1476, and the Tretyse of Love based on a French adaptation of Ancrene Riwle (Rule for Anchoresses) in about 1494.

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