Caxton Prints his version of Aesops Fables
William Caxton , a prominent English merchant in Bruges, who also did business with the Hanseatic League and as far as Burgundy, probably learned the techniques and technology of printing in Cologne. He soon set up a press in Bruges, and then seeing a great opportunity established Britain's first printing press in Westminster (in what is now Tothill Street) in 1476.
Where so many books in England had previously been in Latin, Caxton concentrated on English, and he saw a market for the pleasure of reading, producing editions of Canterbury Tales, Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, and in 1484 Aesop’s’ Fables. This has been in print continuously since then; though to modern readers it seems strange that Caxton’s version was not intended to instruct children, but to amuse adults. Thus it was adults laughing at the fox saying ‘these raysyns ben sowre and yf I had some I wold not ete them,’ (these grapes are sour, and if I had some I would not eat them).
It was partly through works like Aesop’s Fables that Caxton, albeit not having set out with this purpose, began the work soon taken on by others of standardising written English.
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