The Canterbury Tales.
[Westminster: William Caxton, 1476-1477]. Single leaf (235 x 188 mm), printed on both sides, with a single rubricated initial. Trimmed close to the text as usual. In a red cloth folder lettered in gilt. From the collection of Norman Strouse, purchased from John Howell-Books in the 1960s for $500 and sold to Bernard M. Rosenthal in 1979. This leaf is from The Clerks Tale, the last 22 lines of part 1 and the opening 34 lines of part 2. In very good condition. Of utmost importance in the history of printing in England, this single leaf is from the first substantial book printed in England and exists in a handful of more or less complete copies; most of the holdings in the USA are single leaves. The ISTC record ic00431000 notes all extant copies, including this one.Caxton was both the first to print a book in English, and the first English printer. He realised the commercial potential of the new technology while working as a merchant in the Low Countries and Germany, birthplace of printing in Europe. Around 1475, Caxton set up his own printing press in London. Among his earliest books are two magnificent editions of the 14th-century classic, Chaucers Canterbury Tales: the first published in 1476 and the second, illustrated with woodblock prints, in 1483. British Library).
(Item Id: 106554)