The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye

First book printed in English

Knightly Tales Herald Dawn of English Printing

Long before books filled shelves everywhere, publishing resembled wizardry requiring secret ciphers. For ordinary English readers, stories lived through village gossip and campfire lore alone. Until one book changed everything over 500 years ago by unlocking literature from mystery…

The first book printed entirely in English was “The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye” by William Caxton. This book was a translation of a French romance story.

A Gift Like No Other

Imagine receiving a magical artifact allowing you to conjure tales on demand about gallant warriors battling for glory. That’s just what the 1474 Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye represented for its recipient – a wedding gift for a princess containing chivalrous Greek myths tailored to courtly tastes at the time.

But beyond romanticizing legends, this luxurious present held significance for birthing English language printing itself thanks to translator William Caxton. His technical feat introducing a radically foreign technology proved mightier than any mythical sword or sorcery.

Dawn of Public Story Sharing

While Latin persisted for scholarly works, Recuyell’s English translation from French represented a seismic shift – unlocking stories for ordinary people to enjoy privately at scale for the first time versus relying on community hearths.

Centuries later as books reached ubiquity, it’s hard to fathom the revolution sparked by Caxton’s elaborate tome. Yet this enduring relic of English printing carries resonance today for book lovers and historians alike as a symbol of stories’ emancipation from exclusive oral circles to mass paperback flights of imagination.

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