Reference > Cambridge History > The End of the Middle Ages > The Introduction of Printing into England and the Early Work of the Press > Berners’s Froissart
  Richard Pynson Wynkyn de Worde  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume II. The End of the Middle Ages.

XIII. The Introduction of Printing into England and the Early Work of the Press.

§ 14. Berners’s Froissart.


Soon after this date, Pynson, as king’s printer, found much of his time occupied in printing more or less official works and books relating to political affairs; and English books of this period are few. Between 1523 and 1525, he completed the printing of the most important of his publications, the translation of the Chronicle of Froissart by John Bourchier, Lord Berners—a work of great bibliographical interest on account of the several variations in the first edition. Its publication introduced a new style of historical writing; but it seems to have met with little success and was but once reprinted before the nineteenth century. Berners’s love of romance led him to translate three books from French and Spanish, Huon of Bordeaux, The Castle of Love and The History of Arthur of Little Britian, to which reference is made elsewhere. 2  ynson’s later work was mainly confined to books in Latin and treatises on law; English books printed by him are rare and, usually, mere reprints. In fact, during his whole career, he did not issue one English book for ten issued by de Worde. His taste was for serious literature, and he was the favourite publisher for such learned writers of England as chose to have their books printed in this country. He was heavily handicapped by want of type. He had a fair Latin fount, but hardly any Greek; so that scholars preferred to send their work to foreign printers such as Froschover or Froben, who had not only adequate type and good correctors, but were well situated for publishing the books at the various local fairs, the then recognised centres for circulating books. If success in business may be taken as a sign of popular approval, Pynson, with his learned books and the official income derived from his work as king’s printer, stood no chance against Wynkyn de Worde, with his romances and poetical tracts; for, as we know from the subsidy rolls, de Worde was by far the richer man.   40

Note 2. See Chapter XIV, p. 384. [ back ]

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  Richard Pynson Wynkyn de Worde  
 
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